11 April 2020
Labor is calling on the Berejiklian Government to increase and expand energy bill rebates, to support NSW households struggling with additional COVID-19 cost of living pressures.
Labor is calling for:
- An immediate doubling of the Low Income Energy Rebate from $285 to $570 a year
- An immediate doubling of the Family Energy Rebate from $180 to $360 a year
- The extension of those rebates to people who have lost their jobs or pay due to COVID-19
Labor Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle said: “Ms Berejiklian’s business as usual approach to household energy bills isn’t helping anyone in NSW who has lost their job, seen their shifts cut or had to close their small business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Berejiklian Government must double the energy rebates given to families and low-income households, and they must extend that same support to people who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 outbreak” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Energy
“Winter often sees the cost of gas and electricity go up for NSW households. Ms Berejiklian should move quickly to protect struggling households from the Winter energy bill cost crunch.”
Additionally Labor says the Berejiklian Government must work with energy companies to stop predatory behaviour during the COVID-19 outbreak, and:
- Stop disconnections for customers in financial stress
- Stop customer referrals to debt collection agencies, or credit default listings
- Support households and small businesses in financial stress to access payment plans or hardship arrangements
- Waive disconnection, re-connection and contract break fees for small businesses which have gone into hibernation, along with daily supply charges to retailers
“It’s not right that people are being threatened with disconnection during a pandemic, or that their phone is ringing off the hook because of some debt collection agency. It’s the time for a bit of compassion and understanding” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Energy
Mr Searle noted that these weren’t long term solutions, saying: “These are sensible steps for the Berejiklian Government to take while NSW households and small businesses are dealing with the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To be eligible for the $285 a year Low Income Household Energy Rebate, you must:
- Be a NSW resident;
- Be on-supplied customer of an energy retailer; or
- Hold one of the following:
- Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) or Services Australia,
- Health Care Card issued by Services Australia, or
- DVA Gold Card marked with either ‘War Widow’ or ‘War Widower Pension’, or ‘Totally and Permanently Incapacitated’ (TPI) or ‘Disability Pension’ (EDA).
To be eligible for the $180 a year Family Energy, you must:
- Be a NSW resident;
- Be the account holder of an energy retailer;
- Have been the recipient of the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) for the previous financial year and have had your entitlement to the FTB payments finalised by Centrelink.
- Ensure the person in your household who’s registered as the FTB recipient, lodges the application. The recipient is the person who receives correspondence on FTB from the Department of Human Services (DHS).