Almost four million Australians are set to receive a one-off government handout to help ease the pain of rising power bills, weeks ahead of the federal election.
The ‘Energy Assistance Payment’ will provide additional cost of living support to seniors and vulnerable energy customers at a time when the energy industry is gearing up for a year of significant change which should leave to many households paying less for electricity.
The payment of $75 for singles and $125 for eligible couples will be exempt from income tax and will be paid automatically before the end of the financial year, subject to the passage of legislation, the government says.
The Energy Assistance Payment will apply to:
- 4 million Australians receiving the Age Pension
- 744,000 recipients of the Disability Support Pension
- 280,000 carers receiving the Carer Payment
- 242,000 Parenting Payment Single recipients
- 225,000 veterans and their dependants receiving eligible payments from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The announcement comes at a time when the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is finalising plans for a new Default Market Offer to replace existing standard contracts, with the new regulated price cap set to cut costs for those paying the highest power prices. However, concerns have been raised that the move will also stifle competition in the market and actually increase costs for consumers on the cheapest deals.
The Energy Assistance Payment was announced as part of the 2019 budget, potentially weeks out from the federal election.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said: “This is money that is going to go into people’s pockets to help meet the cost of their next power bill. At the same time, we are taking action to reduce energy prices.”
Could you be saving even more?
While the Energy Assistance Payment will bring some welcome power bill relief to many households, the potential savings on offer from engaging in the energy market could be much greater.
Canstar Blue’s electricity database shows that the difference between the cheapest and most expensive electricity plans on the market can be more than $1,000 a year in some areas.
The table below shows estimated annual pricing based on the cheapest and most expensive electricity plans on our database across the states, plus the potential savings of switching. This should be treated as a general guide only, but clearly illustrates how much some energy customers could stand to save.
|State/Territory||Standing Offer||Market Offer||Annual Saving|
|New South Wales||$2,466.22||$1,466.23||$999.99|
Figures calculated using estimated annual pricing for three-person households at selected postcodes in each state, April 2019.
Use our electricity comparison tool via the link below for up-to-date pricing quotes in your area.
Image credit: Daisy Daisy/Shutterstock.com
Original author: Simon Downes, former Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief