Need a Better Deal on Your Energy Bill?
The energy market in South Australia is complicated and finding a better deal than the one you have can be confusing. SACOSS has previously developed some simple tips to help and guide you or your client.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has produced a range of energy related factsheets from bills explained to energy marketing and your rights. These can be viewed and downloaded here.
The energy page on the sa.gov.au website provides comprehensive info on energy use in the home, budgeting and lots more.
To help with the cost of energy bills a state government concession is available to eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes. The energy concession covers both electricity and gas payments (including fuels used to generate energy such as LPG bottled gas and petrol).
For more information on how to apply call the Concessions Hotline on 1800 307 758 or visit the sa.gov.au website by clicking here(link is external)
Medical heating and cooling concession
The Medical Heating and Cooling Concession assists South Australians on a fixed or low income who have a clinically verified medical condition which requires the frequent use of heating or cooling in the home to prevent the severe worsening of their condition. It is available to eligible applicants in addition to the current energy concession.
For more information on how to apply call the Concessions Hotline on 1800 307 758 or visit the sa.gov.au website by clicking here
Your rights as a consumer
As an energy consumer you have a right to support under the laws and rules. All customers should call their retailer if they are having trouble paying their energy bills. Retailers must support you through establishing a payment plan having regard to your capacity to pay, and helping you to make sure you are on the best energy plan.
If you are having trouble paying a bill, ask your retailer about their hardship program, where retailers are required to provide more tailored supports, including information on concessions and energy efficiency advice. If you are on a payment plan or part of a hardship program you cannot legally be disconnected, so it is really important you call your retailer and get the help you need.
Remember, energy is an essential service and you have the right to supports to maintain a connection to that service. Disconnection should only ever be an option of last resort, after all supports have been offered. Customers should not pay for their energy bills using payday lenders! Contact your retailer and establish a payment plan.
Complaints & problems
The Energy and Water Ombudsman SA offers independent and fair dispute resolution and can help you or your client resolve a complaint with an energy or water supplier.
Free Call from a landline: 1800 665 565 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm)
Mobile Phone Users: Calls from a mobile phone may attract a fee. If you are calling from a mobile phone, and this is a problem for you, let us know and we will call you back.
Energy Made Easy is a government website that compares retailer energy contracts and takes the hard work out of shopping around for a better energy deal. Energy Made Easy website(link is external).
Warning: There exists a number of commercial comparator or switching sites. But be careful, these sites may offer a limited range of energy options and may not provide prices for all retailers participating in the market.
Energy saving ideas by and for the community sector
The Give Grid is a live source of ideas and tools to help make easy and achievable energy savings in your workplace. Our ultimate goal is to help a host of community organisations - large and small – become more energy efficient, and enjoy all the savings that brings! The Give Grid website.
SACOSS has been calling for a range of measures to assist people who are struggling with energy bills, and improve how energy is treated. These are included in our 'Cover the basics' policy prescriptions:
- Shift from a flat rate to a percentage-based energy concession.
- Increase the shared-householder income limits for the energy concession.
- Introduce partial energy and Cost of Living concessions for share-householders.
- Implement minimum energy efficiency standards for private and public rental properties, and mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency ratings for all rental properties in South Australia.
- Commit additional funding of $64 million over four years for Housing SA and other community-based organisations to deliver a targeted energy efficiency program for public and community housing tenants.
- Require all retailers to participate in pre-disconnection for non-payment site visit programs for all customers, irrespective of meter type.
- Legislate to void any requirement for mandatory gas connections in new residential developments.
- Review eligibility criteria for the Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme (EEPS), with a view to raising the debt cap and ensuring those on hardship programs are not prevented from eligibility or referral.