THE MINNS Labor Government is fulfilling its election promise to provide Energy Bill Relief to small businesses, as it announces an increase to the payment for vulnerable people in financial hardship and crisis.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin said the measures would go some way to help easing the cost of living pressures facing many residents and families in the Northern Rivers.
“It’s a small but welcome support for many people doing it tough up here after all that we have been through over the past 17 months,” Ms Saffin said.
The Energy Bill Relief Fund will provide support to 1.6 million eligible NSW households and 320,000 eligible NSW small businesses. This is part of a jointly funded scheme to reduce cost of living pressures as announced by the Albanese and Minns Governments.
Most eligible households and small businesses will automatically receive the Energy Bill Relief from 31 July 2023.
The NSW Government is encouraging eligible people who won’t automatically receive the Energy Bill Relief to apply from August 1 2023.
Increase to EAPA Crisis Support Payment
The NSW Government is announcing it is increasing the crisis support payment for vulnerable people struggling to pay their bills, due to short-term financial hardship, crisis or emergency, such as loss of income, unexpected costs or natural disasters.
Under the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme, the NSW Government will increase the EAPA limits to $500 for the 2023-2024 financial year for both electricity and gas bills.
Eligible people can receive the payments for both electricity and gas, twice per financial year, meaning they could receive up to $2,000 over the financial year.
When will eligible households receive their energy bill relief?
Households with a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card, a DVA Gold Card or life support equipment who already receive a NSW electricity rebate from their energy retailer will automatically receive a quarterly rebate of $125 on their electricity bills from 31 July 2023 onwards.
If the above households do not receive a NSW energy rebate but are eligible, they should apply to their retailer for the relevant NSW energy rebate. These customers will then be provided the additional Energy Bill Relief payment automatically.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders, Family Tax Benefit A and B recipients, and people living in embedded networks (i.e. private electricity networks used by apartment blocks and caravan parks) need to apply for the relevant rebate from 1 August 2023.
Energy bill relief is also being provided to some people who are not eligible for existing NSW energy rebates. Customers who do not receive a NSW energy rebate but receive the Carer Allowance, or hold a Low Income Health Care Card or DVA Gold Card, will be contacted by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans Affairs from September with information about how to apply.
When will eligible small businesses receive their energy bill relief?
Eligible small businesses who use less than 100 megawatt hours of electricity per year will receive a one-off $650 payment in the 2023-24 financial year.
Eligible small businesses who are a retail customer do not need to do anything. Energy retailers will automatically apply the energy bill relief to their electricity account (if they are eligible) from 31 July 2023.
Eligible small businesses that are part of an embedded network (e.g. located in a shopping centre) will be able to apply from October 2023.
Wednesday 5 July 2023