The chances are that you’ve noticed the cost of living creeping up this year, with groceries and petrol prices leading the way. Well, there’s good news for Victorian residents: your energy bill won’t be adding to your worries.
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that all Victorians will be eligible to receive a $250 Power Saving Bonus payment to help ease the burden of rising costs, with even better news for concession cardholders.
Read on to find out more and make sure you don’t miss out.
What is the Power Saving Bonus?
The Power Saving Bonus is a Victorian government initiative to help relieve the stress of bill payments following the COVID-19 pandemic and in the face of rising costs of living. It is an extension of the $250 Power Saving Bonus for concession recipients, which was introduced as a relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for vulnerable concession cardholders.
The Power Saving Bonus is a one-off payment of $250 for all residential electricity account holders. There is a limit of one payment per household.
Who is eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus payment?
The $250 Power Saving Bonus will be available to all Victorian residential customers. If you are currently on a residential electricity plan, you will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for the bonus:
- Be the account holder for your electricity bill
- Have a recent electricity bill available (original PDF)
It’s as easy as that! Each household is only eligible for one bonus payment, and the electricity meter of your house will be used as the identifier for your payment to prevent people from double-dipping in households with multiple adults.
If you live in an apartment building with an embedded network, you are still eligible for the Power Saving Bonus payment if you have an electricity account, but you might be requested to provide supporting documents when you apply.
How do I apply for the Power Saving Bonus payment?
The application process for the Power Saving Bonus is simple and straightforward. If you’re an eligible customer, visit https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/ to complete your application.
The process should take about 5 minutes, and you’ll need to prepare by having the below information on hand:
- A copy of a recent electricity bill
- Your ‘NMI’ number – you can find this on your bill, look for a 10 or 11 digit number
- Your card number for your Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card for JobSeekers, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy recipients, if applicable
- Your passport, driver’s licence or Medicare card if you are on an embedded network
Once you have submitted your application, make sure to write down your application reference number in case you need it for future communications.
If you are unsure or would like to talk to someone about the process, the team at CheapBills are happy to help, just call 1300 786 045.
When can I apply?
You can apply for the Power Saving Bonus from 1st July 2022.
Applications will remain open until 30th June 2023. Each household can only apply for one bonus payment during this time.
If you would like to receive an invitation to apply when the program opens, you can register your details with the Victorian Energy Compare website here.
What happens after I submit my Power Saving Bonus application?
After you submit your application for the Power Saving Bonus, you should receive an update within 10 business days. If your application meets the eligibility and documentation requirements, you will be approved and asked to provide payment details for an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or select to receive the funds via cheque.
If you have chosen to receive the payment via EFT, you can expect the money to arrive in 2 to 3 weeks, or cheque payments should arrive within 4 weeks.
If your submission was incomplete, you will be asked to provide further documentation before your application can be approved. This will delay the process, so be sure to be as accurate as possible in your initial application.
What if I’m a concession cardholder?
If you are an eligible concession cardholder, you are also able to apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus payment for concession recipients. This is a one-off payment that was introduced on 1st February 2021 to support over 900,000 vulnerable Victorian households experiencing energy bill stress due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
To be eligible, at least one member of your household must fall into one of the below categories:
- Centrelink Pensioner Concession
- JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy
- Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession
- Or hold a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card
Please note that Pension Concession cardholders who are not receiving payments, and Health Care cardholders who are not receiving Youth Allowance, JobSeeker, Austudy or Abstudy payments, are not eligible.
Applications for the $250 Power Saving Bonus for concession recipients are open now and will close on 30th June 2022. Concession cardholders will also be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus when it opens on 1st July, so make sure you get your application in on time.
The application process is online via the Compare Energy Victoria website and follows the same 5-minute steps as above. In addition, the Victorian government has partnered with several community groups to provide a public outreach program, offering support for your application. You can read more and find out which community organisations are involved here.
How else can I ease my bill stress?
In Victoria, the average cost of electricity in 2022 will be nearly $1,400 per household per year. While there’s no denying that the $250 Power Saving Bonus will help with this cost, there are other ways you can reduce your energy consumption and save on your bills.
Reduce your electricity usage
The running cost of your heating and cooling, washing machine and clothes dryers are just some of the main culprits when it comes to energy costs. For some easy tips to help you save electricity, read our blog on How To Save Energy In Your Home.
Compare your bills
The number one way to save money on your bills is to make sure you compare your bill every single year. Electricity retailers regularly introduce new market offers and discounts for new customers, including sign-up bonuses.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a new energy plan, including:
- Your usage habits, including how many appliances you use and how many people in your household
- If you have a swimming pool or an electric vehicle
- How much energy you use in on peak vs and off-peak times
- If you have gas as well as electricity
- If the retailer offers a bundle deal with phone and internet
- If you have solar panels
In the volatile global energy market, it is also really important to consider if the retailer is offering a fixed-rate plan that can protect you from sudden price increases.
It can be time-consuming and somewhat overwhelming to find the best energy plan to suit your needs. At CheapBills, our team of experts can find you the best option in one easy phone call, and we can even help you make the switch and guide you through the Power Saving Bonus application at the same time.
On average, customers who compare energy plans with CheapBills save $400 a year, and when you combine that with the $250 Power Saving Bonus (plus an additional $250 for concession cardholders), you’re looking at some big savings back in your pocket for more enjoyable pastimes, maybe a family holiday or those renovations you’ve been meaning to get to!
Call us today on 1300 786 045 or enter your details here.
To make sure you’re not spending a cent more on your energy than you need to, make note of these key dates:
- TODAY: Contact CheapBills to find a better energy plan
- 30th June 2022: Cut-off date to apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus payment for concession recipients
- 1st July 2022: Applications open for the $250 Power Saving Bonus payment for all Victorians
- 30th June 2023: Applications close