NSW energy bill support: How to claim $1,600
New South Wales has increased support payments for households experiencing financial hardship with their energy bills as cost of living escalates.
New South Wales treasurer Matt Kean announced the state would add an additional $400 worth of vouchers under the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance program to help households with their energy bills.
"Eligible customers can receive payment assistance of up to $400 per application for electricity and up to $400 per application for gas bills twice a year," Kean said.
"This means the annual maximum limit of vouchers has increased from $1,200 to $1,600 per household."
This is a jump from the original $300 limit on each application and doesn't come as a surprise given energy prices have been skyrocketing over the past few months.
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Who is eligible for the $1,600 bill support?
The support payment isn't available to every household in New South Wales. You will need to meet the following criteria for your application to be approved:
- You are the primary energy account holder with an authorised energy retailer.
- The energy account is for a New South Wales residential premises and on a residential or rural tariff. This means your energy should be coming through an embedded network such as some strata plans and retirement villages.
- The address on your energy account is your primary place of residence.
- Vouchers can only be accessed for residential electricity and natural gas. It does not include the supply of Liquid Petroleum Gas bottles.
- Your energy should not already have been paid in full as these vouchers cannot be used to place your energy account into credit.
- Your account should not be closed nor should a final bill have been issued.
- It should not be a business account.
- Keep in mind. The energy bill support payments are only for residents facing financial hardship.
You will need to demonstrate that you are unable to meet basic needs and your energy has either been disconnected or could be disconnected. You can get more details on the Service NSW website.
Why is the New South Wales government offering more support?
On Thursday, 26 May, the energy watchdog made the decision to pass on rising electricity costs to customers.
New South Wales is one of the states to be hit the hardest as the benchmark price set by the Australian Energy Regulator was raised by 8.5% to 18.3%.
External factors such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather events in New South Wales and Queensland have increased price pressures on coal and gas. You can read more about the background on price hikes here.
What if I don't qualify for the New South Wales bill support?
The first thing you need to do is look at your latest energy bill and start comparing energy plans for a cheaper deal.
This is especially crucial for those who have:
- Been with their energy provider for over a year and no longer receive discounts (which usually last 12 months)
- Have been notified by their energy provider of major price increases of more than 10%
Smaller providers have already started passing on costs to customers and others will follow suit, possibly even before the 1 July price reset.
Bottom line. Shopping around for a better energy plan isn't fun but it could save you hundreds of dollars down the line.