A recent report from the Essential Services Commission (ESC) has highlighted that many households are struggling to keep-up with rising energy costs.
The report outlines that 67,413 residential electricity and 55,415 residential gas customers accessed tailored assistance to help pay their bills in March 2023, the highest since 2019.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said it was unfortunately no surprise to learn that many Victorians are having trouble keeping on top of their growing bills giving the current cost-of-living crisis.
“While the Andrews Labor Government is on the brink of introducing its 50th tax, Gippslanders are scrambling to keep the lights on,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It is evident to all that something needs to be done to ease the cost of living in Victoria.
“Locals are being hit financially from all sides, so it is no wonder that they are having to put their hands up for help.”
The ESC report also details that 86,482 utility relief grants were credited to customers between July 2022 and March 2023 representing a 22 per cent increase on the same time last year.
A separate report from the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria (EWOV) showed that cases involving complaints of high electricity rates rose over 50 percent from same time last year.
Mr O’Brien said while he is continuing to lobby the Andrews Labor Government to take action to ease the cost-of-living crisis, there are several avenues available to assist households who are doing it tough in the short term.
“Firstly, I encourage you to have a conversation with your energy provider and ask for a better deal or waiver of late payment fees. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
“A one-off $250 Power Saving Bonus is also available to all residential energy account holders.
“I encourage anyone who has not already claimed this payment to do so, but with this bonus ending on Thursday, 31 August 2023 you will need to get in quick – my office is available to help with this process if needed.
“An additional $250 is now also available through the Energy Bill Relief Fund which will be automatically credited to eligible accounts periodically from 1 July 2023.
“Those who are particularly struggling may also be eligible for a one-off Utility relief grant scheme.”
For more information about energy concessions and grants available in Victoria visit www.ewov.com.au/fact-sheets/concessions-and-grants