More than 9,100 vulnerable households in Western Australia are set to receive free electricity thanks to a new state government-funded Community Energy program.
The program will allow households experiencing financial hardship to access free power between the hours of 9am and 3pm every day, to help alleviate the burden of rising electricity costs.
Eligible customers can receive up to 10 units of zero-cost electricity between these times, which the WA government states is the equivalent to about three quarters of an average household’s daily usage.
The program is estimated to save hardship customers between $200 and $500 a year on electricity costs and coincides with the government’s Household Electricity Credit, which is currently awarding all WA energy customers with $400 off their bills.
WA Premier Roger Cook said the Community Energy program would provide additional support to households doing it tough.
“This new program will save potentially hundreds of dollars for thousands of Western Australians who might be struggling to pay their electricity bills,” he said. “Alongside our $400 Household Electricity Credit and measures like the two-zone public transport fare cap, this is just another way we are helping to ease cost of living pressures for Western Australians.
“Right around the world we are seeing inflationary pressures, supply chain shortages and higher interest rates. Through our strong economy and responsible budget management WA has been able to provide support to those who need it, and we expect the situation will dissipate over time.”
The Community Energy program will be offered by Synergy, a state-owned electricity provider that operates on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), which extends from Kalbarri in the north, east to Kalgoorlie and south to Albany.
In addition to providing financial support to struggling households, the program is anticipated to alleviate energy strain on the grid, by encouraging a portion of households to shift their energy usage to off-peak demand times: in this case, the middle of the day.
Energy Minister Bill Johnson said the program proved an alternative to solar panels for hardship customers.
“The Community Energy product, introduced by Synergy, offers 10 units of electricity at no cost during the day to those on the case management program,” he said. “This will bring the cost of electricity down for those experiencing financial hardship while also making use of the energy being generated by solar panels during the day.”
Community Energy is open now for eligible Synergy customers. For the full terms and conditions, it is best to visit the Synergy website.
Am I eligible for the Community Energy program?
The Community Energy program is currently open to residential hardship customers in WA whose electricity provider is Synergy. Horizon Power customers are currently not eligible for this program.
According to the state government, eligible customers also need to have an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter installed at their property in order to access the flexible pricing.
Customers also cannot own any solar panels installed (if any) on their property if they wish to receive the free hours of energy.
To confirm eligibility or sign up it is best to contact Synergy directly for more information.
Struggling to pay your energy bills? See if you could be eligible for a hardship program with your provider with Canstar Blue’s energy hardship guide.
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