As discussed in Chapter 3, residential consumers in Australia have
experienced increasing prices for electricity. The reasons for these increases
have been explored in earlier chapters as have ways in which demand for
electricity can be reduced through mechanisms such as cost reflective pricing, a
demand response mechanism, information and consumer empowerment and a range of
This chapter examines the impact of these price increases on residential
consumers and discusses protections to prevent consumers from experiencing
adverse impacts associated with mechanisms to reduce demand for electricity.
Impact of increased electricity prices on consumers
The impact of increasing electricity prices on residential consumers
cannot be denied: with limited budgets, many Australian households are finding
it difficult to absorb the additional cost of higher electricity bills and are
being forced to make challenging decisions about the allocation of household
income to essentials such as rent, food and utilities.
Numerous individuals, consumer advocacy groups and unions voiced their
concerns about the affordability of higher electricity bills during the course
of the inquiry.
Ms Carolyn Hodge, Senior Policy Officer, Energy and Water Consumers' Advocacy
Program, of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) stated:
The issue of rising electricity prices should be understood
by the impact on people. In summary, the most recent electricity price rise
sees people in New South Wales facing an increase of between $208 and $427 for
an average annual electricity bill. This comes on top of a recent history in
which double-digit price rises have become the norm.
We see price rises translate into rising disconnection
numbers in New South Wales. According to the most recently available figures,
approximately 18½ thousand people were disconnected for non-payment of bills in
the 2010-11 financial year, and this is up by 15,835 from the previous year.
Within this group, 18½ per cent, or nearly 3½ thousand people, were pension
recipients and almost 1,500 people were disconnected more than once.
We are increasingly aware that people in the workforce are
also struggling to pay their electricity bills. Additionally, PIAC hears from
community organisations who are inundated with requests for assistance to pay
electricity bills, and our own research tells us that people are choosing not
to heat or cool their homes because of concerns about cost, even when they need
that heating or cooling to manage a medical condition.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV) informed the committee
that it had seen an 'increasing number of Victorians contacting EWOV for
assistance with energy and water matters' due to 'customer concerns about
rising energy and water prices and associated affordability issues'.
In the four years since 2007–08, EWOV had seen a 225 per cent increase in
payment difficulty cases because '[e]nergy and water prices are rising and
people tell [EWOV] they are facing other cost of living pressures'.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) observed a similar trend in
EWON stated that '[d]isconnections because of inability to pay are of critical
concern and the NSW electricity and gas disconnections rates remain too high'.
Bringing the very real impact of rising electricity prices on the
day-to-day lives of Australians into sharp focus, Ms Louise Tarrant, National
Secretary of United Voice, shared a poignant personal account of one of the
A lot of our members are struggling with the impacts of
massive increases in utility costs over recent years. They are also facing a
dilemma in how they respond to that challenge.
I want to quote from a member who sent me an email this
morning, because we wanted to make sure our members' voices are very clearly
heard. This is from a woman called Emily. She is one of our senior childcare
representatives. In fact, she was our representative on a government board
looking at training requirements in the childcare sector. She came home from
the meeting to find that her electricity had been cut off, and this is what her
experience was: "When I got home from the meeting, the electricity was
just totally cut off. The company wouldn't turn it back on without me paying,
so I used whatever funds I had left to pay. I used up my holiday fund. Then
they said it'd take five to six hours to reconnect, and then added another $150
as a reconnection fee. I had to pay it all on the spot. I didn't want to be
home in the dark with my four-year-old, so I had to take her to my mum's house
to have a bath. We live in a tiny two-bedroom unit. It's really hot in summer
and really cold in winter. We used to use air conditioning and heaters, but we
don't anymore. We just pile on the blankets. I'm trying to live on low wages,
all these bills going up. In one year it's gone up so much. At what point does
Other submitters similarly raised the impact of increasing electricity
prices on their daily lives, and the steps they have taken to limit their
electricity consumption. Ms Jan Turner explained:
We have all energy efficient light bulbs throughout the house
and only one bulb in each room. We use neither electric heating nor
air-conditioning, cook on an electric stove but seldom use the oven as that is
too expensive using stove top or microwave instead, we both take one minute
showers and I follow my husband into the shower to save waste. Exactly how are
we supposed to cut down any more? Eat our meals raw or eat in the middle of the
night? Give up watching television at night?
Mr Mark Hattersley described his efforts to minimise electricity usage:
...I've been paying AGL an average of $150 bill per quarter,
which many would call enviably modest...Few Australians would tolerate the
self-imposed discipline whereby I achieve that figure: no freezer, no TV, no
computer, no washing machine, no lights, no stove / oven, and no hot showers...I
do "economize" drastically, in order to keep my bill to $150: but how
many people are prepared to put up with such humiliating deprivation?
Whilst Australians across socioeconomic groups are facing the financial
challenge of higher electricity prices, the disproportionate impact on low
income and vulnerable consumers was an area of particular focus throughout the
inquiry. In its submission, Jesuit Social Services stated that '[t]he impact of
increasing supply charges is most acutely felt by low income earners'.
Jesuit Social Services continued:
One common group of low income households is pensioners, who
often live as couples or single occupants in small units. Even when concessions
are taken into account, a pensioner earning $347.65 per week who uses 57.5
kilowatt hours could spend around 5.2% ($18.07) of their weekly income on electricity
costs. As figures 3 makes clear, the amount of this that is taken up by supply
charges is the same as households with higher levels of income.
Figure 3 & 4: Impact of electricity prices on
different income groups
The overall impact of rising electricity prices on different
household types is made clear in figures 3 and 4. Households with lower incomes
are spending a greater proportion of their income on meeting the rising costs
of electricity. As these incomes are growing at a lower rate than incomes in the
higher two quintiles, this burden is likely to increase. Figure 4 shows how
young families on low incomes are particularly hard hit by electricity costs.
This group, referred to as the "family formation" group, have young
children, which leads to more power use because:
- More people means more usage of appliances and entertainment
- Kids will be home during "Peak" hours when electricity
is more expensive;
- Young children are already stretching the family income, both due
to increased costs and because of parents working less hours.
These factors combine to mean that a family formation
household on a low income ($709 per week) might pay up to 6.4% of their weekly
income on electricity costs compared to 3% for a high income family (in the 5th
The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW (CPSA)
There are currently over 5 million Australians in receipt of
an income support payment from Centrelink. These people struggle on low fixed
incomes to pay for basic goods and services. In particular, those who rely
solely on either a pension or allowance (the majority) are unable to afford essentials,
According to the Association of Superannuation Funds
Australia (ASFA), a single retiree needs to spend approximately $22,000 per
annum to sustain a modest standard of living. This budget standard allows for
an electricity bill of $35.08 per week or $1824.16 per year. Yet with average
bills now coming in at $2876 per annum it is clear that in particular, pensioners
on lower fixed incomes are simply unable to pay for their electricity usage.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) shared this concern,
while drawing attention to the energy inefficiency of the housing stock in
which many low income and vulnerable consumers live:
People living on low incomes are experiencing significant
pressures as a result of substantial increases in the cost of electricity, without
a concomitant increase in income. Low income people are most likely to live in
poorly-insulated and inefficient rental accommodation, and spend a higher
proportion of their income on energy, water and fuel than others. They are
least able to respond to increases in prices and to invest in more efficient
homes. Given that energy is an essential service, energy price rises leave the
most vulnerable households with little option but to pay the extra.
Rising electricity prices are having a real and undeniable impact on
Australian households: increased numbers of disconnections and greater numbers
of consumers seeking assistance from energy and water ombudsmen are just some
indicators of this. The personal accounts shared with the committee emphasise
the extent of the problem and demonstrate the great lengths to which consumers
are already going in their efforts to reduce their electricity consumption and
minimise their bills. The committee believes these accounts are but a small
sample of experiences shared by many Australians around the nation struggling
with electricity bills. Further, these examples serve to strengthen calls for
action and innovative solutions that enable consumers to reduce their
electricity consumption in ways that do not sacrifice their quality of life.
In this context, the committee wishes to ensure that appropriate
protections accompany the implementation of demand reduction mechanisms (see
Chapter 5). The committee is particularly cognisant of the risk of low income
and vulnerable consumers being negatively affected and believes that special
consumer protections are warranted to ensure that these consumers do not,
perversely, see their electricity bills rising further.
National Electricity Objective
As outlined in Chapter 4, the National Electricity Objective (NEO) is:
To promote efficient investment
in, and efficient operation and use of, electricity services for the long term
interests of consumers of electricity with respect to –
(a) price, quality, safety,
reliability, and security of supply of electricity; and
(b) the reliability, safety and
security of the national electricity system.
Concern was raised that the NEO does not adequately uphold the interests
of consumers and therefore requires amendment.
PIAC highlighted that the electricity system can only be considered to
be working in the long-term interests of consumers with regards to price and
security of supply if issues related to affordability are considered and
addressed as part of policy initiatives.
PIAC submitted that:
...any analysis of electricity prices must include an analysis
of the social safety net that is struggling to keep people connected to this
essential service. Allowing these two issues to continue without any link will
see the divide between electricity costs and assistance grow even greater than
it is today...
PIAC recommended that the NEO should be changed to include
"affordable access" with respect to the supply of electricity.
The Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) Expert Panel Review
of the Limited Merits Review Regime Stage Two Report also argued the NEO
could better state a commitment to the long-term interests of consumers.
The panel noted that assessments of efficiency need to balance cost
considerations with other factors beyond the notion of pure economic efficiency
The panel wrote that:
It is the Panel's view that this is precisely what the
reference to 'for the long-term interests of consumers' in the legislation
provides, and the recommendations therefore serve to reinforce the intended
As a result, the panel recommended that the NEO be changed to read 'in
ways that best serve the long term interests of consumers' rather than 'for the
long term interests of consumers'.
National Energy Consumer Framework
The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) is a national regime for
the sale and supply of electricity and gas by retailers and distributors to
retail consumers. It is a major component of the national energy market reform
program as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) under the Australian
Energy Market Agreement (AEMA).
The legislation and rules that gives effect to the framework was passed
by the South Australian Parliament in March 2011.
NECF commenced in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania on 1 July
2012 (see also Chapter 2). New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia
will commence the NECF as soon as is practicable.
Queensland is yet to consider application of NECF in that state.
NECF contains a range of consumer protections relating to the supply of
energy to retail consumers, retailer authorisations, compliance monitoring and
The framework provides for consistent consumer protections across all participating
jurisdictions. The framework ensures that customers are to get full details of
the terms of their energy contract and have the contract explained in terms
they understand before signing. Minimum terms and conditions must also be contained
in a customer's energy contract.
Policies relating to customer hardship are included in NECF. Retailers
are required to develop consumer hardship policies which include certain
prescribed elements to assist residential consumers experiencing longer-term
Under NECF, consumers must also be protected from poor marketing
practices, unwanted calls and poor customer service. NECF also protects
consumers from disconnection where they are registered as having life support
equipment at their premises.
NECF has also seen the introduction of a price comparator website (www.energymadeeasy.gov.au)
that will assist consumers to compare different prices offered by retailers in
their area. Further, the framework requires retailers to provide customers with
more detailed information on their bills.
For retailers, NECF removes regulatory overlap and unnecessary
divergence between jurisdictions. The introduction of a national retailer
authorisation decreases the current regulatory duplication where a retail
license must be obtained in each separate jurisdiction.
The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET) stated that harmonising
consumer protections across the National Electricity Market (NEM) would result
in benefits that:
...enable industry to pass on the savings they realise from
reduced compliance costs and barriers to market entry to customers through
lower energy prices. Further, customers will be empowered through access to
more information about their consumption and the services available to them.
Support for NECF
Consumer advocacy groups and welfare organisations were supportive of
NECF because it would help protect customers and assist them to better
understand electricity prices.
For example, CHOICE submitted that:
... the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) should be
agreed and adopted by all jurisdictions as soon as possible. In particular we
recommend the fast-tracking of obligations on retailers to supply Energy Price
Fact Sheets and tariff information for the Australian Energy Regulator's price
comparison site, www.energymadeeasy.gov.au, as provided for under the NECF.
Mr Gerard Brody from the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) similarly
The benefits of a nationally consistent framework include
being able to have one clear enforcement agency and having a much more robust
range of enforcement powers to deal with misconduct amongst retail energy
providers. At the moment our state regulators have much more restrained range
of enforcement mechanism, often just taking away their licence or writing them
a letter; there is nothing in between. That sort of framework has real
prospects at a national level, so we would like to see a move to that national
customer framework coming into place while ensuring that it reaches the best
Whilst supportive of NECF, consumer advocacy groups did raise some concerns
that the framework would not provide the same level of consumer protections in
Victoria as the current state framework.
Ms Caitlin Whiteman from the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre (CUAC)
summarised these concerns:
Victorians, with our high rate of churn, our smart meters and
the imminent introduction of flexible pricing, need some protections that are
not included. We do not want to go down a level when we have a market that is
getting more and more intense.
NECF provides energy consumers with valuable protections whilst
simultaneously providing benefits to electricity retailers by removing
duplicative red tape. For these reasons, the committee supports NECF and its
introduction in the NEM.
The committee praises the ACT and Tasmania for their expeditious implementation
of NECF and urges the remaining states in the NEM to implement the framework on
or before 1 July 2012 in order to provide consumers in these states with the
same protections as those in the ACT and Tasmania, and in a way that does not
diminish existing consumer protections (for example, in Victoria).
The committee recommends that NECF is implemented in all states
and territories in the NEM in a way that does not diminish from existing
consumer protections and to take effect on or before 1 July 2013.
National consumer advocacy body
A number of submitters argued for creation of a national consumer
advocacy body to represent the views of consumers.
For example, CHOICE submitted that:
...there is a clear need for greater resources to support
consumer advocacy on behalf of residential energy consumers, including the
establishment of a national energy consumer advocacy body.
Advocates for residential energy consumers often contest
issues alongside well-resourced representatives from the electricity
generation, network and retail sectors, all of which also have national peak
bodies, as do large-scale energy consumers. It is worth noting that advocacy on
behalf of energy sector businesses is effectively funded by consumers, given
all costs for these businesses, including lobbying, end up being paid for through
consumers' energy bills. 
The CUAC likewise argued that:
...stronger and more effective advocacy for energy consumers is
required at a national level. While state based advocacy remains important in
order to reflect the varying needs of consumers across different parts of the
country, the growing role of national institutions in the energy market
requires stronger consumer representative agencies at that national level.
As did ACOSS:
An effective, well-resourced national energy consumer
advocacy body can operate to ensure consumer interests are central to
decision-making by governments, regulators and energy businesses. Working
closely with existing advocacy and community agencies to leverage existing
skills, knowledge and experience, a new body focused on national key priorities
can contribute to more responsible, effective, sustainable and fair energy
PIAC suggested creation of an 'affordability taskforce' convened by the
Commonwealth Minister for Energy and Resources. Ms Carolyn Hodge of PIAC explained:
...electricity drives people's lives, and continued access to
this essential service is vital to protect people's basic dignity and
fundamental rights. As such, PIAC strongly supports a formal process through
which all stakeholders, including federal and state governments, industry,
regulators, ombudsmen and consumer advocates can work together to work develop
an electricity affordability strategy. An affordability task force convened by
the chair of the Standing Council on Energy and Resources, Minister Martin
Ferguson, would be a sizeable win for Australian electricity consumers and a
forum to identify practical and achievable actions to facilitate access to
electricity that is as equitable as it is efficient.
The CALC discussed the expertise required to navigate the complex
electricity market and argued that establishment of a national body could offer
this expert support to consumers. Mr Gerard Brody told the committee:
There is also an opportunity to build expertise. An example
would be in relation to distribution price determinations, which are undertaken
once every five years in each state. When it comes around to each state that
consumer body—say it was our body—has to look back five years ago and remember
what we did then and try to engage with the various distribution businesses. If
there were a national body able to assist that, it would be consistently
participating in those reviews because they are going on around Australia all
the time. We think there would be real benefits from having that repeat player
to build expertise and more effectively participate in those determination
As remarked elsewhere in this report, Australia's electricity market is
technical and complex. This makes it difficult for consumers to both understand
and effectively participate in its regulation.
The committee supports the call from consumer advocacy and social
welfare groups for a national consumer advocacy body. Such a body could have
the dual responsibilities of representing the views and interests of consumers
in NEM regulatory processes as well as providing support and information to
consumers about the electricity market, consumption and pricing.
The committee recommends that SCER consider establishing a
national consumer advocacy body to represent and support consumers in the NEM.
Specific protections for low income and vulnerable consumers
Opt-in cost reflective pricing
As discussed in Chapter 5, cost reflective pricing should be introduced in
the NEM according to the recommendations of the Power of Choice report;
that is, in a three-tiered model where small to medium consumers are deemed to
remain on a flat network tariff unless they choose to shift to cost reflective
pricing and install a smart meter. Transitioning to cost reflective pricing in
this way should help to ensure that low income and vulnerable consumers are not
adversely affected in circumstances where they are unable to shift their
electricity consumption away from peak periods.
A social tariff
In addition to the three-tiered model described above and in Chapter 5, the
Alternative Technology Association (ATA)—whilst supportive of cost reflective
pricing—proposed a 'regulated social tariff whereby vulnerable consumers can be
protected whilst other consumers can voluntarily choose cost reflective pricing
that provides a benefit both to them and to network efficiency'.
The ATA explained:
...we strongly support the introduction of time-of-use pricing.
Our concern though is that if a whole lot of consumers move
to time-of-use pricing because it benefits them, then that will have a flow-on
unintended consequence of potentially driving up the cost of those flat tariffs
that other consumers are seeking refuge in—in other words, because effectively
the peakiness, if you like, of a load profile of customers who are on flat
tariffs will increase as a result of consumers who would benefit from time of
use moving away from there. So we see it as a further step than just having a
voluntary mechanism. We think that there should be a protection in the form of
a flat, simple social tariff for low-income consumers. This is something that
has been discussed and there are varying views on it. Our view is that it would
be effective and possible to implement a social tariff at a network tariff
level, allowing a consistent and marketable and still competitive social tariff
that can be used. This would be possibly seen by the networks and energy
businesses as being awkward, however, we would note that it is not without
precedent. If you look at feed-in tariffs that have been implemented across
states, they have actually been based on network tariffs as well that have been
for specific consumers. In the same way that you could have a network tariff
for a consumer with solar panels, we see no reason that you cannot have a
specific network tariff for a consumer who is vulnerable—one on a low income,
one who holds a healthcare card or whatever the case may be.
Energy efficient appliances and
As discussed in Chapter 5, energy efficiency and energy saving measures were
raised during the course of the inquiry as ways to ease electricity costs for
Australian governments are pursuing a range of energy saving initiatives and
offer various energy efficiency programs and grants to assist consumers to
improve their energy efficiency.
Despite the gains and savings to be made by adopting energy efficiency
strategies, barriers exist to these measures being widely adopted. The Council
of the Ageing (COTA) stated that the elderly and those on low incomes are most
affected by electricity price increases and are also those least likely to be
able to afford to adopt energy efficiency measures.
According to COTA, these consumers are unable to improve their
efficiency because they use old, inefficient appliances and have no access to
funds to replace them, have poor thermal efficiency in their homes, have
medical conditions that require additional heating, cooling and electricity,
and use mobility aids which require recharging.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence recommended that energy saving measures
should be made available to ensure low-income households are able to receive
benefits to assist in implementing energy efficiency measures.
It was also suggested by the CPSA that pensioners and those on low
incomes are under-using electricity, refraining from using heaters and
minimising television use to reduce utilities costs.
ACOSS highlighted the plight of tenants in Australia: approximately one
in four Australian households reside in private rental or public housing and do
not have rights or incentives to make capital improvements. ACOSS explained:
Landlords do not benefit from the bill savings or thermal
comfort improvement energy efficiency improvements, and this split incentive
has resulted in some of the most vulnerable households living in the most
inefficient properties in Australia.
The CALC was also cognisant of the constraints on low income and
vulnerable consumers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and
We would certainly agree that poor quality housing stock and
cheap appliances absolutely correlate with higher energy use, and of course
that sort of housing stock and those sorts of products tend to be purchased by
people who are financially vulnerable. So there is a very, very clear
correlation. Indeed, they have the least capacity to avoid high electricity
bills by making investments in those sorts of appliances. There is some attractiveness
to just not allowing products on the market that create those problems, but I
guess the twin problem that goes with that, as we would know, is that the
five-star energy rated appliances cost a lot more money. If such options were
being considered, there would also need to be responses that enabled those
appliances to be affordable.
PIAC indicated that current low-cost energy efficiency measures have
already been adopted and a more thorough approach is needed:
...there is limited remaining scope to help low-income
consumers through measures such as energy efficiency light bulbs, door snakes
and water-saving showerheads. These products have been aggressively
distributed, including by energy providers, and have therefore achieved
significant market penetration, if not saturation.
PIAC accordingly recommended that 'alternative, more impactful
approaches are now required in order to help low-income consumers share some of
the benefits of reduced energy consumption'.
With regards to the ability of tenants to modify their electricity
consumption by improving their energy efficiency, the committee was pleased to
note during its site visit to the Smart Grid, Smart City Centre, research
currently being conducted by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research
Facility (NCCARF) examining how tenants are adapting to climate change by
making changes to their dwellings and how they live in their homes.
Federal government assistance
As part of the federal government's climate change plan, it introduced
the Clean Energy Household Assistance Program which delivers payments to 9 in
10 households alongside the introduction of the carbon price. The Minister for
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Hon Greg Combet MP explained:
On average, households will see cost increases of $9.90 a
week, while the average assistance will be $10.10 a week.
All the household assistance families and pensioners receive
is no strings attached—so if people can make some small changes, like changing
to energy efficient light bulbs or switching the television off at the power
point, they will keep all of their extra payments and tax cuts.
In addition, the government has introduced the Home Energy Saver Scheme
(HESS) to provide low income earners with direct assistance to improve household
energy efficiency, including a one-on-one home visit service. The scheme was
developed in consultation with non-government and not-for-profit organisations,
industry and unions.
Funding for HESS is $29.9 million over four years (until 2014–15). The scheme
will also provide access to financial management information and education,
advice, advocacy and support. Where appropriate, the scheme also includes referrals
to the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), where appropriate to assist
consumers to access capital to make longer term energy efficiency improvements.
The scheme will be delivered by 19 not-for-profit organisations and 'seeks to
build on and complement other financial management and energy initiatives'.
State government assistance
State and territory governments also offer assistance programs and
packages to assist consumers with their electricity costs. Some of these
assistance measures are summarised below.
New South Wales
The New South Wales (NSW) government offers various assistance measures with
respect to energy bills, for example the:
- Family Energy Rebate of $215 per year to assist concession
cardholders to manage their energy costs;
- Medical Energy Rebate of $215 per year for eligible concession
cardholders with a medically diagnosed inability to self-regulate body
- Life Support Rebate to assist with the cost of electricity
associated with the use of certain life support equipment;
- Home Power Savings Program to assist vulnerable households to
reduce their electricity bills via home power assessments, a "power saving
kit" and power savings action plan;
- Free financial counselling services;
- Save Power website for energy saving tips and information on
rebates to assist households purchase energy savings appliances; and
- Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) vouchers to help
financially disadvantaged consumers to stay connected to essential energy
services during a financial crisis.
The Queensland government offers the following electricity rebates and concessions
such as the:
- Electricity rebate for pensioners and seniors ($230 a year);
- Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Concession Scheme ($230 a
- Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme – assistance for
customers experiencing a crisis or unforeseen emergency (up to $720 a year);
- Electricity Life Support Concession Scheme ($314–$469 per year);
- Consumer Advocacy Program delivered by the Queensland Council of
Social Services (QCOSS)—a $450 000 program designed to advocate the needs of
low-income households and disadvantaged energy customers.
The South Australian government offers a number of measures to assist
with energy bills, such as:
- a concession of up to $165 per year on household energy bills, to
assist with electricity and gas payments, for certain concession cardholders;
- the Medical Heating and Cooling Concession of $165 per year for
low income earners who have a clinically verified medical condition which
requires frequent use of heating or cooling in the home to prevent the severe
exacerbation of their condition;
- a website with advice and information on energy saving measures;
- the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme which provides
incentives for households to achieve greenhouse gas reductions and potentially
lower energy bills through reduced energy consumption, and includes free home
energy audits for low income households.
Assistance provided by the Tasmanian government to help with electricity
- an electricity rebate of up to $450.78 for pensioners and health
care card holders;
- a heating allowance of $56 per year to eligible pensioners to
assist with heating costs; and
- a life support machine rebate which provides an electricity
discount based on a daily rate to people who use an approved life support
system, or live with someone who uses one.
The Victorian government offers a range of energy concessions including
- Annual Electricity Concession which provides concession
cardholders with a discount off household electricity bills year round;
- Service to Property Charge Concession which provides a reduction
on the electricity supply charge for concession households with low electricity
- Medical Cooling Concession which provides a discount of 17.5 per
cent off electricity costs over a six month period from 1 November to 30 April
for concession cardholders with a specified medical condition (for example
multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease);
- Off-peak Concession which provides a 13 per cent discount on the off-peak
tariff on electricity bills for eligible concession cardholders and is not
available for consumers on time variable tariffs;
- Life Support Concession which provides a quarterly discount on
electricity bills where a concession cardholder or their household uses certain
life support machines; and
- Electricity Transfer Fee Waiver which waives in full the fee
normally payable to an electricity retailer when there is a change of occupancy
at a property.
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