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Federal budget $500 energy bill relief: Eligibility and how to reduce your bill


The federal budget announces energy bill relief payments of up to $500 for millions of households in a bid to curb soaring power bills.

UPDATE: Several state governments have further expanded the $500 energy bill relief program.

In NSW if you are a Low Income Health Care Card holder or Department of Veterans Affais (DVA) Gold Card or receive a Carer's allowance you will now be eligible for bill relief.
In SA the rebate will now be offered to Commonwealth Family Tax Benefit recipients, holders of certain Department of Veteran Affairs cards as well as people on carers allowances.

Around 5.5 million households across Australia will be compensated for cost of living pressures through the federal government's $1.5 billion energy bill subsidy package.

The amount will be matched by individual state governments, making it a total package of $3 billion.

This should be a small reprieve for Aussies bracing for further energy prices hikes from 1 July 2023, and the monetary strain that comes with winter heating costs.

$500 energy bill relief: Do I qualify?

The bulk of it will be directed towards those "most in need". This includes pensioners, veterans, seniors and other concession card holders, as well as recipients of the Carer Allowance and Family Tax Benefit.

Households that already receive existing state and territory rebates or concessions will also be eligible.

The bill relief will be credited directly onto power bills by energy retailers starting from the next financial year.

Will I get the full energy bill relief payment?

Just how big a discount you'll receive will depend on where you live.

This is because the Commonwealth government has struck "eight different deals with state and territory governments".

Those living in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia will get the full $500.

If you're based in Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth government will give out $175 and the states should match this up, making it a total energy bill relief of $350.

"The electricity support package will in part offset energy cost increases that household have experienced over the last 12 months and the forecast future price increases [in July]," Gavin Dufty, executive manager for policy and research at St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria tells Finder.

"There is only so much the federal government can do in this space, there is also a role for state and territory governments to assist in alleviating energy cost pressures. As such, we are looking for complimentary and supporting programs to be announced by the states and territories in the next few weeks."

Other federal budget energy announcements

The federal budget also announced up to $650 of energy bill relief payments for small businesses and a $1.3 billion-dollar Household Energy Upgrades Fund.

This fund will be put towards around 110,000 low-interest loans for Aussies to make energy-saving home upgrades.

These upgrades for houses will be targeted towards things like double glazed windows, solar power and more energy efficient appliances.

The Guardian quoted energy minister Chris Bowen saying "Australia's housing stock was mostly inefficient, reflected in the country being ranked 58th out of 63 countries for per capita energy use".

This highlights the potential power bill savings that could be available to Australians by making homes energy efficient.

Businesses that turnover less than $50 million per year will be eligible for up to a $20,000 tax deduction on electrification and energy efficiency improvements as part of the Small Business Energy Incentive.

What if I don't qualify for the $500 relief payment?

At the moment, Victoria is offering a $250 Power Saving Bonus to everyone in the state.

Otherwise, your next best bet is to make sure you compare your electricity and gas plans, so that what you're paying isn't higher than the average energy bill.

Alternatively, you could be eligible for energy rebates and concessions depending on where you live, your needs and your income bracket.

Head to your state and see which one(s) you might be eligible for.

"It's important for households to remember that energy support can be accessed through a phone call to their energy retailer," says Dufty.

"Energy retailers are obliged to offer people financial hardship assistance, which includes payment arrangements, debt, deferral, and other social supports such as concessions in emergency payments."

UPDATED 22 December 2023: We've updated this story with new information following the NSW and SA governments decisions to expand eligibility of the $500 energy bill relief.

Whether you're eligible for bill relief or not, it's always a good idea to compare energy plans to see if you can get a cheaper deal. It's likely you will if you haven't switched plans in over 12 months.

Image: @pasja1000 via

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14 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PETEROctober 4, 2023


    Default Gravatar
    MaureenJuly 4, 2023

    I am enquiring regarding the refund for electrical usage .
    wanting to know if I am eligible.

      SarahJuly 6, 2023Finder

      Hi Maureen,

      Eligible parties for this include pensioners, veterans, seniors and other concession card holders, as well as recipients of the Carer Allowance and Family Tax Benefit.

      Households that already receive existing state and territory rebates or concessions will also be eligible.

      If you’re eligible, this rebate will be automatically applied to your account in the new financial year in quarterly instalments by your energy retailer.

    Default Gravatar
    PatriciaJune 18, 2023

    How do i go about applying for the government electricity rebate?

      MariamJune 21, 2023Finder

      Hi Patricia, if you’re eligible this will be automatically applied to your account in the new financial year in quarterly installments by your energy retailer.

    Default Gravatar
    GregJune 10, 2023

    Q1: – Will energy rebate be paid to people who are already in the black for energy use – i.e. – person pays $50 per fortnight toward quarterly power account – this $50 paid to energy provider and shows as a positive amount in client’s energy account between quarterly bills, then at each quarterly bill payment is automatically taken by provider from the money held in client’s account – leaving little or no money in account until it builds up again over 3 months … Calender date Government Rebate is paid may fall between quarterly bills, when clients Energy account has a healthy, positive balance …
    Q2: – Will this positive balance impact on the Government Energy Payment – i.e. – will positive account balance with Energy Provider reduce Energy Payment all together – or – will positive account balance with energy provider reduce amount of Government Energy payment ? …
    Q3: – If payment affected & reduced – what scale of reduction will apply ? …
    Q4: – If positive account balance has an impact – should individuals ensure they are in the Red on their power accounts by withdrawing any positive money amounts prior to Government Energy payment ? …

    Answers to these questions can not be found on line or on any relevant state / federal government website – budget release also open to interpretation …
    Topic of radio discussions with confusion amongst radio presenters and various callers …

    Please clairfy questions and concerns …

    Manyt hansk & Bi for now …

      SarahJune 28, 2023Finder

      Hi Greg,

      We are not affiliated with the government programs, so we’re not in a position to offer customer support.

      However, as far as we understand it, eligibility is not based on how much you owe on your energy account.

      Instead, you can get bill relief if you are the primary electricity account holder (or another named account holder on your electricity account) and and you also hold an eligible concession card or receive an eligible government payment in the state or territory you live in.

      Your household can only get one bill relief credit, even if there is more than one eligible person living there, and you can only get bill relief for your principal place of residence.

      If you are eligible and aren’t named on the bill and you pay for electricity, contact your electricity provider to change this to get the bill relief.

      In most cases your electricity provider will automatically apply the bill relief to your electricity account and this will reduce the amount you owe on your next bill, so you don’t need to apply. How and when this happens depends on where you live, as each state and territory may do things a little differently.

      Hope this helps!

    Default Gravatar
    teresaMay 31, 2023

    Do you have to fill out forms

      SarahJune 1, 2023Finder

      Hi Teresa,

      It depends on the state you’re in, as some (eg Victoria) require you to fill out forms, whereas others (eg Queensland) will pay your energy provider directly and apply it to your bill.

      Hope that helps!

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