How do I get help paying my electricity bill in Victoria?

If you are looking for assistance in paying your electricity bill in Victoria, Australia, there are several avenues you can explore. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Utility Relief Grant: The Utility Relief Grant program in Victoria provides one-off financial assistance to eligible individuals and families experiencing financial hardship. This grant can be used to help pay electricity bills and other utility expenses. To apply, you can contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or visit their website for more information and application procedures.
  2. Victorian Default Offer: The Victorian Default Offer is a simple and fair electricity price set annually by the Essential Services Commission, not energy companies.It provides Victorian residential and small business consumers access to a fair electricity deal even if they are unable or unwilling to engage in the retail market.
  3. $250 Power Saving Bonus payment: A new $250 Power Saving Bonus program is open for all Victorian households and is available from 24 March 2023. Eligible households can access the $250 Bonus via the Victorian Energy Compare website or apply through a participating community organisation. To be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, you must:
    • be a Victorian residential energy consumer, for example, have a residential
    • have electricity account
    • be the account holder
  4. Energy Concession: The Victorian Government offers various energy concessions to eligible households to help reduce their electricity costs. These concessions include the Annual Electricity Concession, the Winter Gas Concession, and the Medical Cooling Concession, among others. To determine your eligibility and apply for these concessions, you can visit the Victorian Government’s Concessions website or contact your electricity retailer.
  5. Payment Plans and Extensions: If you are struggling to pay your electricity bill, you can contact your electricity retailer and discuss the possibility of setting up a payment plan or obtaining a bill extension. Many retailers have hardship programs in place to assist customers facing financial difficulties. They may be able to offer flexible payment options or extensions to help you manage your bills.
  6. Financial Counseling Services: Seeking assistance from a financial counselor can be beneficial if you are experiencing ongoing financial hardship. These counselors can provide advice and support in managing your finances, negotiating with utility providers, and exploring additional assistance programs that may be available to you. You can find free financial counseling services through organizations such as the National Debt Helpline or the Financial Counseling Australia website.
  7. Energy Efficiency Programs: Consider participating in energy efficiency programs or initiatives provided by the Victorian Government or utility companies. These programs may offer rebates, discounts, or free energy-saving appliances and upgrades, helping you reduce your electricity consumption and lower your bills in the long run.

Remember, the availability and specific details of assistance programs may change over time. It’s important to contact the relevant authorities, such as the DHHS, your electricity retailer, or visit official government websites, for the most up-to-date information on programs and support options for paying electricity bills in Victoria.