Energy rebates, retiree rebates, pensioner discounts

Energy Rebates update: How they will be applied?

Two weeks ago we reported on the new Energy Rebates for retirees. At the time, they had yet to pass both houses of Parliament, but this has now happened. Whilst we loved being thanked for this information by Chris (who said, ‘I can always rely on you to provide clear and concise break downs of government announcements’), we also seem to have raised many other related questions.

Now that the legislation has passed we are clearer on most of the detail, so here’s some quick answers to concerns members have had about whether or not they will actually receive a rebate. Spoiler alert, however, some detail of the state and territory rollouts of these rebates is still far from clear!

Who is eligible?

Barry asked, Am I eligible?

Says Steven:

Hi Barry, as per this article  you need to be receiving Federal Government support such as an Age Pension or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to be eligible.

What about partners?

Peter wonders, ‘What happens if only one partner has a Seniors Health card ? (I’m not old enough yet)’.

Steven says:

Thanks for getting involved in the conversation! It has not been specified however ordinarily the name of the person who has the Pension Concession Card (PCC) or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) needs to be on the billing account so until we hear otherwise, this is how we presume it will work.

How do existing rebates function?

Richard wants to know, ‘The NSW Government already offers a rebate of approximately $300 per annum. Is the new package in addition to this or will the NSW Government absorb this into their ‘matching’ contribution?

This is a tricky one so we found it hard to share a definite answer for Richard.

As all states and territories are going ‘50-50’ with the Federal Government in funding the rebates, it is assumed this is a concession over and above those state based refunds already in place. But we do not know this to be a fact yet. We will have to wait a little longer to learn more about each state and territory’s actual rebate initiatives. We will endeavour to report on these as they are revealed.

What are the timelines?

Trish has asked, ‘$230 per household in Savings? A time frame would be most useful i.e. $230 per annum? $230 per quarter? $230 over 5 years?’

Again, this is easy to ask, and difficult to answer definitively.

There are two parts to the Albanese Government’s energy savings legislation. Firstly, a cap on gas prices is estimated to lower all Australian households’ energy bills by about $230 over the coming year. Separately, as reported, there is a specific rebate for those who receive government welfare (including the Age Pension and holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card). The latter rebate will be delivered by the states or territories and will be applied to power bills supplied by the welfare recipient. So the timeline will vary according to the timing of individual bills and rebates may even be split over four bills (quarterly) over a 12-month period. This detail is yet to be revealed.

Will Victorians miss out?

Bruce wonders what to expect in his home state:

‘I hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. In Victoria the card is not honoured for energy concessions, local council rates or vehicle registrations. How will this work when the legislation is passed?

Hi Bruce, great question! This new announcement is separate to the standard CSHC benefits and will be paid to all cardholders across the nation. Separately the recently re-elected Andrews government will continue with the state’s $250 annual electricity rebate which was introduced last year.

How does this work for renters?

Shona is keen to know:

What happens if your power is included in your rent?’

This has not been specified, however ordinarily, the name of the person who is entitled to the benefit needs to be on the billing account which in this case it sounds like the power bill would be in the landlord’s name. Unless we hear otherwise this is how we presume it will work.

Thank you for your questions on this rebate – they are not only helpful for our team to ensure that we stay on top of the detail, but they also help us to help other members who are struggling to find answers to the same issues.

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