Published on March 30, 2020 9:00 pm, by Pete Lalor
New assistance options from energy companies
Energy costs are a major part of most household budgets these days and heading into winter they are only likely to increase. If you have lost your job or your income has reduced significantly it’s going to be tough paying your energy bills. The good news is there is a range of things in place to help – from energy company hardship procedures to government rebates.
The government has told energy companies that:
The bottom line is, you won’t have the gas or electricity disconnected if you follow some simple steps. The main thing you need to keep in mind is to contact your energy company. They can’t help if they don’t know you need it.
If you are under financial pressure but you can still pay your bill
If you are still working or earning an income and you can still afford to pay the bill but you are worried things might get worse:
If you have lost your job, been stood down or cannot afford to pay the bill
If you cannot afford to pay your bill there are a number of options available:
The West Australian Government offers the following concessions and assistance packages:
Energy Assistance Package – as part of its COVID-19 response the West Australian Government has doubled the Energy Assistance Package from $305 to $610 a year. This payment will be made automatically between 1 July 2020 and 31 August 2020 for anyone who was registered to receive an energy concession as of 16 March 2020. It will be paid into the bank account you provide when you apply. To be eligible for the concession you must hold a Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card, or a Low Income Health Care Card. To apply for the concession you need to contact Synergy by calling 13 13 53 or by registering on the Synergy website or Horizon by calling 1800 267 926 or by registering on the Horizon web site.
Energy Assistance Extension Scheme – if you are not a direct customer of Synergy or Horizon you may be eligible for the Energy Concession Extension Scheme. This scheme applies to people who would otherwise qualify for the Energy Assistance Package but aren’t direct customers of Synergy or Horizon. They may be residents retirement villages, apartment buildings, and caravan parks or you are a customer of another energy retailer. The concession is $305 for 2019/20. To be eligible for the concession you must hold a Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card, or a Low Income Health Care Card. You can apply for this concession on the WA Government website
Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) – this scheme assists people who are suffering from financial hardship and are unable to pay their utility bills. people may be eligible for assistance through this scheme when all other payment arrangements and financial hardship strategies have been exhausted. If you live south of the 26th parallel (south of Denham) the assistance is up to $580 per financial year. If you live north of the 26th parallel (north of Denham) the assistance is up to $960 per financial year. To apply for this assistance you need to contact your utility provider. You do not need to hold any particular health, low income, or other cards to apply for this assistance.
The West Australian Government has also announced a freeze on household fees and charges including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy, and transport fares.
Support by energy provider
|AGL||More details||Extended payment terms until 31 July 2020|
Suspended disconnections until 31 July 2020
|Alinta Energy||More details||Alternate payment options|
No disconnections for customers suffering financial hardship
|Call 13 37 02
|Click Energy||More details||Financial hardship policy||Call 1800 77 59 29
|Dodo Power & Gas||More details||Energy Assistance Program||Online payment extension
|Energy Locals||More details||Automatic switch to the cheapest plan available for you|
|Energy Australia||More details||EnergyAssist program|
Switch to cheaper plan if available
No late payment fees
|Request a payment extension online
Call 1800 558643
|Lumo Energy||More details||Payment plans|
|Call 1300 660 293|
|Origin Energy||More details||Power On program|
No disconnection for customers before 31 July 2020
Pause to all late payment fees
|Request a payment extension online
Call 13 24 61
|QEnergy||More details||Staying On - Hardship program||Call 1300 698 992|
|Red Energy||More details||Payment plans|
Energy usage advice
|Call 1300 171 782|
|Simply Energy||More details||Payment plans|
Energy usage advice
|Call 13 88 08|
If you are concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 or you are facing the uncertainty of losing your job or having your income significantly reduced we can help. Sign up to MoneyBrilliant and we will give you access to a host of tools and features to help you organise your finances and make better decisions about your money. We’ll also give you tailored insights about the financial assistance available from governments and businesses to help you face the economic and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This summary has been prepared by MoneyBrilliant Pty Ltd (AFSL 492711, ACL 493068). The information in this summary is of a factual nature only. We are not suggesting or recommending that you take any particular course of action in relation to any financial product or service. It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. If you need financial advice or taxation advice you should seek advice from a licensed financial adviser or tax agent. You may also be able to access additional information from the websites of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the relevant product providers.
Peter is the CEO of MoneyBrilliant. He has over 20 years experience in banking, insurance and accounting. Peter has three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 3, is a sport and fitness fanatic and a volunteer firefighter. He is passionate about improving people's lives through making financial services more accessible.