The ACT government will provide about 31,000 low-income households with an increase in concessions in a bid to offset a rise in electricity prices.
It has earmarked close to $10 million over the next four years for a range of utility concession schemes, including $5.29 million towards the electricity concession. There will be a $50 increase to the payment annually, taking it to $750 per year.
A one-off $50 increase will also be applied, taking the total payment for next year to $800. This will cost the state government $1.55 million over the next four years.
The concession scheme is available to people with a Pensioner Concession Card, a Centrelink Low Income Healthcare Card, a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pension Concession Card or a Services Access Card.
The announcement comes after the ACT’s Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission allowed ActewAGL to increase its prices by a maximum of 11.95 per cent from July 1.
Should the maximum increase be applied, it would mean an extra $3.76 per week, or $195 per year, for an average household that consumes 6500kWh per year on a standing offer.
“Any change to the cost of life’s essentials impacts people on low incomes the most. That’s why the government’s increased assistance is targeted to help those people,” said minister for energy and emissions reduction Shane Rattenbury.
“We’re making concessions available to more people, increasing the value of those concessions and increasing the hardship fund.”
Mr Rattenbury encouraged Canberra households to use energy-efficient technology to reduce their power bills.
“There is a lot all households can do to be more comfortable while using less power, with government advice and support to make those changes at actsmart.act.gov.au,” he said.
“The 74,000 households and businesses that have already participated in the ACT government’s Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme are saving an average $300 per year for households and $5200 per year for businesses. The scheme has a particular focus on energy savings in low-income priority households.”