Millions of Australian households are missing out on hundreds of dollars worth of rebates on their energy bill because they're unaware they're eligible for the concessions according to new research from The Energy Charter. NSW and QLD have the highest number of eligible customers missing out on energy concessions with 27% and 28% respectively.
In addition, analysis from personal finance marketplace Compare Club - who are supporting the Energy Charter's campaign to push eligible Australians to claim the discounts they're entitled to - suggests that older Australians could cut their energy bills by an extra $500 just by switching suppliers.
Recent research from The Energy Charter, a national CEO-led organisation that works together to deliver better energy outcomes for customers and communities,a body made up of energy industry CEOs, in partnership with independent outcome evaluators at Melbourne University's Melbourne Institute shows a whopping 60 percent of eligible Australians entitled to energy bill rebates are failing to claim them.
The majority of households missing out on rebates are seniors and veterans, who are eligible for rebates, which is why The Energy Charter and Compare Club are partnering for the Keep The Money, it’s Yours campaign that encourages all Commonwealth concession card holders to claim significant discounts on their energy bills as the cost of living continues to bite.
“States and territories have done the right thing and made energy assistance available for those Australians who need it most, but unfortunately it’s not communicated well and the information is often buried on government websites, meaning households are missing out on money that’s rightfully theirs,” said Head of Research at Compare Club Kate Browne.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), approximately 2.9 million households across Australia received concessions and rebates from state and territory governments in 2021, representing roughly 28% of all customers*.
The research comes as meteorologists warn that Australia is about to face one of its hottest summers in living memory, meaning many households will be spending more on air conditioning just to keep cool.
Who is eligible for state and territory energy bill discounts?
The primary target audience for this campaign includes individuals holding eligible Commonwealth concession cards, such as the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, Centrelink HealthCare Card (excluding NT), or Veterans' Affairs Gold Card (excluding TAS), as well as those eligible for ongoing energy bill concessions or rebates. Many of these concession cardholders fall within the 65+ retiree bracket and are often unaware of their eligibility or how to access these benefits.
In addition, adult children of senior Australians, especially those aged 70+, play a crucial role in helping their parents navigate the energy market and facilitating the bill-switching process. Their influence can empower their parents to make use of the discounts they are entitled to.
For those not holding a concession card, Compare Club estimates that merely comparing energy providers and switching to a better deal can result in annual savings of up to $500.
"Energy prices are rising fast, and many Australians will be in for a shock when they get their next bill. Many people, such as concession cardholders, are eligible for a discount on their energy bills; however, new research shows sixty percent of concession holders haven't made a claim,” said Head of Research at Compare Club, Kate Browne.
"More than 2 million Australians are leaving money that is rightfully theirs to use on rising bills, on the table, when accessing it is as easy as making a phone call to your energy provider, and if you are eligible, you can save between $500 to $750 a year.
"Even if you aren't a concession holder, there's a good chance a loved one or family member might be eligible and not know how to claim their money. The good news is that it's as easy as making a phone call."
How to save more on your energy bills
If you are a Commonwealth concession card holder or are eligible for an energy rebate, call your energy provider directly to activate it.
If you're in South Australia, call 1800 307 758 or visit sa.gov.au for information on Energy bill relief.
If you're in the Northern Territory, call 1800 777 704 or visit nt.gov.au for details on the NT Concession Scheme.
If you aren’t eligible for a rebate, call Compare Club or visit the Compare Club website to find yourself a better deal.
If your energy is facilitated through your strata or landlord, or you are based in a caravan park, apartment building or retirement home or village (via an embedded network) you can also ask the relevant energy providers today..
If you are struggling with your bills or need more information, let your energy provider know as they can provide assistance. You can also contact the National Debt Hotline at ndh.org.au.
Notes to editors
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**AER State of the Energy Market 2022.