Help available to get better electricity deals
VULNERABLE electricity consumers in South East Queensland now have access to a range of assistance programs to help them to shop around and save on their electricity bill.
State Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said that as part of the transition to a deregulated retail electricity price market in South East Queensland, electricity retailer AGL had provided $500,000 of funding through its Switched On Communities program to organisations to support vulnerable consumers to get a better electricity deal.
The community organisations that will benefit from the funding include: The Salvation Army; Multilink Community Services; Queenslanders with Disability Network; COTA Qld; Laidley and District Community Organisation; Coast2Bay Housing GroupEncircle; Mangrove Housing; and, Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre.
"Lower income households spend proportionately more of their day to day living expenses on essential requirements such as electricity, so the benefit of better deals and financial savings will potentially have a greater impact for them,” Mr Bailey said.
"These community organisations are well-placed to assist vulnerable consumers.
"The organisations will be offering a mix of targeted support to help South East Queenslanders find the best electricity deals, including one-on-one counselling, telephone support, community workshops, home visits and 'bring your bill' advice days.
"The support programs will reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, seniors, people with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people facing financial hardship, as well as people not yet fully engaged in South East Queensland's energy market.”
Council of the Aging Queensland CEO Mark Tucker-Evans said the cost of electricity bills could be a challenge for seniors, particularly pensioners and retirees.
"COTA Queensland will use the grant funding to facilitate education programs across South East Queensland to ensure seniors had access to information to find the best electricity deal,” Mr Tucker-Evans said.
"Making sure you're on the best and most affordable plan for your home can lead to very important household savings.”
Deregulation of South East Queensland's retail electricity market became effective on July 1, 2016, following the recommendation of the Queensland Productivity Commission.
Mr Bailey said studies have indicated that electricity bill savings in a deregulation market could be up to $400 per year/bill, depending on individual circumstances.
For more information visit www.qcoss.org.au.