The Energy Discounts & Concessions Thousands of Australians aren't Claiming
When it comes to saving money on energy bills, there are two types of discount you should be claiming:
- The discounts you get by shopping around and switching in most states, and
- The discounts, concessions and rebates available from state, territory and federal governments such as electricity discounts and rebates for pensioners and seniors.
This article is about how to make sure you’re getting every government discount you’re entitled to.
Each state has its own range of thousands of dollars in electricity discounts, rebates and concession payments you may be able to access depending on your circumstances.
These concessions are mostly discounts offered to at-risk electricity consumers such as pensioners, students, veterans and low-income households so that they can afford to make ends meet.
Despite their availability, these discounts sometimes aren’t well-advertised by the government, or you might need to take action to claim them. Thousands of Aussies miss out on them every year, simply because they don’t know where to look.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of electricity discounts, rebates and concessions - so you can make sure you’re not missing out.
Who's Eligible for Energy Discounts and Concessions?
The four main ‘groups’ that electricity discounts, rebates and concessions are available to are seniors, students, low-income households and veterans.
The government is interested in supporting these ‘groups because it deems them most at risk of undergoing financial stress due to high bills.
If you’re part of any of these groups - you could be entitled to a discount on your electricity bills.
But sometimes you don’t even need to belong to these groups to qualify. In NSW, for example, the Family Energy Rebate is worth $180 and is available to any households who have received the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) in the past financial year.
NSW also offers discounted LED lighting retrofits to any household in certain areas, and Victoria discounts a range of energy upgrades for households and businesses to help meet their energy efficiency targets. So don’t assume that just because you don’t have a concession card, you’re not eligible for these sorts of rebates and discounts.
What do I Need to get a Government Discount on Energy Bills?
What you need to be eligible for a discount on your energy bills will vary depending on which group you’re in. Below we’ve compiled a handy list of items you’ll need to make sure you can get a concession.
If you’re a senior, you’re entitled to a range of concessions and rebates on your energy bills. To access these special seniors discounts on electricity, you’ll need to make sure you have a few things first.
You’ll need a Pensioner’s Card for most discounts. Simply having one of these will entitle you to a range of special electricity discounts for pensioners only, and most of the concessions available to other groups.
If you don’t qualify for a Pensioner’s Card, check if you can get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This has an income test but not an assets test - unlike the Pension.
You might also want a state-based Seniors Card (if you don’t already have one!). Each state has their own Seniors Card scheme, with their own eligibility criteria, so it’s worth checking how your state’s system works.
Not only are Seniors Card holders eligible for some of the concessions listed below, they can also get access to a range of special seniors energy discounts from retailers, depending on your state.
Furthermore, Seniors Card holders are often entitled to discounts on everyday expenses like public transport and medicine - NSW and QLD even offer special electricity discounts for Seniors Card holders.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got any medical details on hand as well, since some concessions are available only to residents with medical conditions.
If you’re a student, your options for energy rebates and concessions are slimmer, but still worth checking out.
You’ll need to make sure you qualify by checking which centrelink payments you receive. Generally if you’re on some form of Youth Allowance payment, or Austudy/ABSTUDY, you’re likely to be eligible for some student discounts on energy.
For most discounts, you’ll need a Health Care Card. These cards are needed to receive most payments, particularly in Victoria. They’re available to anyone who receives a JobSeeker, ABSTUDY, Austudy or Youth Allowance payment, so you might be eligible for one.
Having a government-issued Health Care Card opens up your options for student discounts on energy, since most concessions need either a Veterans card, a Pensioner Card, or a Health Care Card.
By picking one of these up, you’ll widen the range of concessions you’re eligible for.
If you’ve got any medical conditions which require you to use power to keep yourself comfortable, it’s smart to keep your details handy. Most governments offer rebates to residents with certain medical conditions, so you might be eligible.
There are a variety of government energy rebates and concessions available to veterans through the variety of veteran benefit schemes offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
What you can get as a veteran, however, depends on which card you hold.
The three main cards offered by the DVA come in three colours: White, Orange and Gold. Each of these cards comes with different benefits, and each has its own set of eligibility criteria.
The most common one required for veterans electricity rebates and discounts is the Gold Veteran Card. This card is the most strictly controlled, typically issued to World War II veterans and their family members.
If you don’t qualify for a Gold Veterans Card, you might fit into White or Orange, and as such may not qualify for all veterans discounts and concessions. It’s still worth checking to make sure, though.
The DVA also issues its own Pensioner Concession Card, with the same benefits as a regular, Centrelink issued pensioner card.
If you have a Veterans Gold Card or a DVA Pensioner Card, you will most likely be entitled to concessions and discounts on electricity bills. If you’ve got both, even better!
State governments offer a range of support in the form of discounts, concessions and rebates for low income households to make sure you stay on top of your energy bills.
These concessions have strict eligibility requirements however, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve got everything you need to ensure your eligibility.
Depending on which (if any) Centrelink payments you receive, you might be eligible for a discount on energy bills right away. Some key payments you might receive which help your eligibility are:
Secondly, if you don’t already have one, it might be a good idea to apply for a government-issued Health Care Card. These open up more concessions to you, since they’re counted alongside Pensioners and Veterans Cards for a lot of schemes.
If you don’t meet the criteria for a standard Health Care Card, you might still meet the cutoff for a Low Income Health Care Card, which may still entitle you to a range of government concessions and discounts on your household bills.
Lastly, if you’ve got a medical condition which requires you to use power to be comfortable, it’s worth having that information handy. Governments offer special energy concessions to people with certain conditions, and you might be eligible.
Which States Offer Concessions?
Now that you know what you need to ensure your eligibility for discounts and concessions on electricity bills, it’s time to see which concessions you’re eligible for in your state.
Every state offers some kind of concession or deal on energy to help its residents pay their electricity bills. If you’re eligible, you could be entitled to a range of state government electricity rebates and concessions.
We’ve compiled a list of all the discounts and concessions you can get in each state below, so you don’t have to go looking for them and wade through the never-ending list of unrelated concessions across each state government website.
Discounts on Energy Bills in NSW
NSW Offers a range of discounts on electricity bills to residents, depending on their situation.
Follow the links below to the NSW government website to see if you’re eligible:
Discounts on Energy Bills in VIC
It should be noted that the majority of these discounts and concessions require you to have a concession card - thankfully, a Health Care Card counts here, so anyone eligible for a HCC could access any of these concessions.
Follow the links below to the Victorian government website to see if you’re eligible:
Discounts on Energy Bills in QLD
The Queensland government offers discounts and rebates to eligible residents to assist with paying bills.
Since the power grid is government-owned, you even get a $50 ‘dividend’ off your bill each year just for living in QLD!
Check out the links below to see if you’re eligible for discounts on energy bills:
Discounts on Energy Bills in TAS
In comparison to other states, Tasmania has relatively few concessions and discounts available.
Check the links below to find out if you could be eligible:
Discounts on Energy Bills in The ACT
The ACT government has just one government energy concession available to its residents - the Utilities Concession. It can be accessed by anyone with a concession card, and is valued up to $700 p.a. (The concession will permanently increase to $750 p.a. on 1 July 2021 - an additional $50 rebate will also be provided to eligible households).
Since the scheme has a wide availability range, if you’ve got your eligibility documents together as outlined in the above sections, it’s likely that you’re eligible.
Click HERE to find out.
Discounts on Energy Bills in SA
South Australians have access to a relatively wide range of concessions and discounts on energy bills to choose from (depending on eligibility of course).
Some of the concessions simply require evidence that you’re receiving an eligible centrelink payment, so they’re worth checking out even if you’re ineligible for a Health Care Card.
Follow the links below to check your eligibility:
Discounts on Energy Bills in The NT
To gain access to discounts and concessions on electricity in the NT, you’ll have to join up to the Northern Territory Concession Scheme.
The Scheme offers access to a range of concessions for all eligible members, but is much more difficult to access than most other states’ different concession schemes.
Check the link below to make sure you’re eligible for the scheme:
Discounts on Energy Bills in WA
Western Australia’s government offers a wide range of concessions and discounts to residents.
Unfortunately, the popular $600 Household Electricity Credit isn’t accepting applicants as of April 2021, but the discounts and concessions available below will more than suffice.
Check your eligibility below:
So there you have it. Our comprehensive list of Government discounts and concessions on electricity. If you’re a student, pensioner, veteran, or member of a low-income household - it’s worth seeing if you can make it into one of these schemes if you’re looking to save.
If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for any of these schemes, there’s still something you might be able to do to save on bills. You can switch!
What Else Can You Do?
If you find yourself ineligible for any of these schemes, you might want to look into switching electricity providers. If you can, you could save hundreds.
At One Big Switch, we’re dedicated to saving our members money on their electricity, and other household bills. We use our extensive industry experience, along with your people power - to negotiate special offers with electricity companies and beyond.
Any time you’re looking to save on your bills, it’s well worth checking us out.
Any information contained in this communication is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.