8 ways to reduce your energy bill this winter
AS WINTER brings the lowest minimum temperatures for the year, heating becomes an important part of Northern Rivers household spending items.
Here are some rebates and other tools offered by the NSW Government to help bring those costs down that you can use today.
1. Energy Switch: You can compare the plans of all NSW household electricity providers, and switch to a different plan if you want to.
If you receive your bill directly from your electricity provider and you meet the eligibility requirements, use the Energy Switch tool to compare your plan with other available plans. If you decide to switch providers, Service NSW will initiate the switch process for you.
2. Family Energy Rebate:
This rebate helps families with dependent children to pay their energy bills. Applications opening again late July for the 2019/20 rebate.
To be eligible for the NSW Family Energy Rebate in a given financial year, applicant 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, and must ensure that the person in the household who is registered as the FTB recipient lodges the application.
3. Appliance Replacement Offer:
Concession card holders may be able to save on a new fridge or television.
People looking to upgrade their old fridge or television may be able to get a discount through the appliance replacement offer.
Those eligible could save 40 per cent off the cost of a new fridge or 50 per cent off the cost of a new television.
The models on offer have been selected for their energy efficiency, affordability and quality.
4. NSW Gas Rebate:
The NSW Gas Rebate helps NSW households cover the costs of their natural gas.
Concession card or Health Care Card holders (or DVA Gold Card) must contact their gas provider, provide their concession card or Health Care Card details and ask for the NSW Gas Rebate to be applied to their account. They should receive confirmation that the rebate has been applied.
5. Low Income Household Rebate:
The rebate helps low income households to pay their energy bills.
Concession card or Health Care Card holders (or DVA Gold Card) must contact their energy provider, provide their concession card or Health Care Card details and ask for the NSW Low Income Household Rebate to be applied to their account. They should receive confirmation that the rebate has been applied.
6. Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme:
Anyone in NSW having difficulty paying their energy bill could be eligible for help through the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme.
Residents must speak to their electricity or gas supplier to find out what assistance might be available to them.
If they are unable to arrange a payment plan with their supplier, they can then contact an EAPA provider for an assessment.
EAPA providers include St Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army, Anglicare, Lifeline, Mission Australia, Migrant Resource Centres, Independent Community and Neighbourhood Centres and Local Land Councils.
7. Discounted Energy Efficient Lighting:
LED light bulbs last longer than other bulbs, save on energy costs, and have a lower environmental impact.
As part of its energy affordability package, the NSW government offers a LED lighting upgrade for eligible households.
Currently, if you have halogen downlights in your home, you may be able to have the cost of replacement LED bulbs and their installation, subsidised.
To qualify for the offer you need to have a minimum number of downlights to be upgraded.
8. Seniors Energy Rebate:
This rebate helps independent retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card cover the cost of their electricity bills.
The $200 rebate is paid once each financial year to eligible households.
Approved applicants will receive the rebate from October 2019.
BONUS: Pensioner Water Rebate:
If you receive a pension, you may qualify for a rebate on your water bill.
To be eligible, residents will need a Pensioner Concession Card from Centrelink or Department of Veterans' Affairs, or a gold Health Card that shows they are a war widow, war widower, extreme disablement adjustment (EDA), totally and temporarily incapacitated (TTI), or totally and permanently incapacitated (TPI).
Applicants also need to be the owner and occupier of one of a single dwelling, dual occupancy, strata or company title unit, or a unit in a retirement village with a life term lease.
If the applicant owns the property with someone who isn't a pensioner, they may still get a rebate. This depends on their relationship with the other owner and their eligibility.
To apply for these benefits or to find out more, visit the Service NSW website.