Quotes attributable to Andrew Barr, Chief Minister and Treasurer:
The ACT Government will provide direct financial support to around 31,000 lower and fixed income households following the release of the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission’s (ICRC) price reset for standing offer retail electricity prices in 2021-22.
While the decision from the ICRC on prices comes after a period of lower prices, the Government recognises that these increases will be difficult for some Canberra households – particularly those that have been impacted by COVID-19 financial pressures.
As an immediate response to the decision from the ICRC, the ACT Government will:
- Permanently increase the annual utilities concession by $50 to $750 annually
- Provide an additional one-off $50 increase to the utilities concession for 2021-22, taking the payment for next year to $800
- Contribute $1 million to the Utilities Hardship Fund over four years
- Establish a co-governed energy literacy and education program with the community sector with a $0.95 million contribution over four years
- Expand access to the Utilities Concession to all those who hold an ACT Services Access Card
Through a community awareness program, the Government will be actively encouraging all households to ensure they are getting the best deals possible. Around 40% of Canberra households have been on standing offer contracts for a long time, and there are other lower prices available.
The ACT Government’s amendments to the Utilities Legislation passed recently will make it even easier for Canberrans to compare electricity offers and ensure they can access better deals from retailers.
Through the increased Utilities Concession, the ACT Government will be providing direct financial support to around 31,000 low-income Canberra households.
The additional one-off $50 rebate in 2021-22 will increase the total concession to $800, covering a significant proportion of the annual electricity bill for lower and fixed income households.
The Utilities Concession will also be extended to ACT households where the utilities account holder is an asylum seeker with an ACT Services Access card.
One of best ways for all households and businesses to reduce their utilities bills is to generate their own power, and the Government will continue to focus on supporting households to invest in rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems through the Sustainable Household Scheme.
Quotes attributable to Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction
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.
We’re making concessions available to more people, increasing the value of those concessions and increasing the hardship fund.
Thanks to legislation we’ve passed as part of the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement, Canberrans will soon start to see new information on their energy bills to help them get a better deal. Starting in the second half of this year, retailers must compare their offers with the reference price and tell customers if a better deal is available. This will help customers to compare offers and make informed choices.
Energy efficiency is another way people can take control of their energy 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 www.actsmart.act.gov.au.
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 $5,200 per year for businesses. The scheme has a particular focus on energy savings in low income priority households.
Financial Details of New Government Initiatives: