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How to save hundreds on your energy bill with these state rebates

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With wages stagnant and the cost of living on the rise, it's important to save where you can.

There are numerous energy rebates on offer around the country - you just need to meet the required criteria that involves particular government concession cards. In most cases you approach your electricity or gas retailer with your details to claim the rebate.

Also if you are upgrading your heating, air-conditioning system, fridge or television, check to see if you receive a discount - that can be as high as 40% - for choosing a more energy efficient product.

energy rebates save money on your power bill

Here is a roundup of energy rebates:

Queensland

Pensioners and seniors can save up to $340.85 per year for an electricity rebate and $73.60 per year for a reticulated natural gas rebate. You need to have either a Pensioner Concession Card, a Veterans' Affairs Gold Card, a Queensland Seniors Card, a Commonwealth Health Care Card (electricity rebate only) or asylum seeker status and provide ImmiCard details (Electricity Rebate only).

NSW

From July 1 this year 130,000 self-funded retirees with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will be able to claim $200 a year to help with their power bills. The Seniors Energy Rebates is available to customers through Service NSW centres and online.

It is on top of the $285 Low Income Household Rebate and the $121 Gas Rebate for pensioners and veterans with their electricity and gas bills.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card applies to Australians aged 65 and over, with an income of up to $55,808 a year for singles and $89,290 a year for couples.

You can also be eligible for the NSW Family Energy Rebate, which is up to $198 if you receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB). It is also available if you are living in an on-supplied residential community, retirement village or strata scheme.

Victoria

From July 1 this year, every Victorian household can claim the Victorian Government's $50 Power Saving Bonus payment up to June 30, 2020. To be eligible you must have a residential electricity bill and be the account holder for that bill. If you don't have an electricity service, you can still claim the $50 bonus with a gas bill.

Also you can receive 17.5% off your electricity and gas bill if you have a Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card and Veterans' Affairs Gold Card.

South Australia

For the 2019-20 financial year, eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes can receive up to $226.67 to cover both electricity and gas payments (including LPG bottled gas) for their homes. You need to have a Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card.

Western Australia

You can receive up to $305.25 off your energy bill from the WA Government Energy Assistance Program if you hold a Commonwealth Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Veteran Affairs Gold Card and Commonwealth Seniors card.

When you set up your new energy account for the first time you can receive a one off fee of $33.80.

ACT

Concession cardholders are eligible for a concession on their electricity bills. ACT's ActewAGL provides incentives to upgrade your heating products to more efficient ones too. For example when you upgrade your ducted gas heating system to a ducted reverse cycle air conditioning, you can save $2000 off the purchase and installation costs and a two-year rebate off your ActewAGL electricity account of up to $3000.

If you upgrade your flued gas heater to a reverse cycle heating and cooling appliance you can save up to $2500.

Upgrade a hot water heater to an innovative Stiebel Eltron Hot Water Heat Pump and save up to $1200. It can be integrated to work with a solar PV system.

Tasmania

There isn't an Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme in Tasmania any more but the highly regulated Tasmanian energy market is opening up to more players. There is a free package called Power$mart Homes to help low income Tasmanian households save money on their power and water bills.

Northern Territory

You can receive an electricity and water concession pre-paid card if you hold an eligible Commonwealth benefit under the new Northern Territory Concession Scheme. It is means-tested to provide assistance and support with the cost of living. It is for the water and sewerage account holder.

Also if you are 65 and over, you are eligible to receive an annual payment under the NT Seniors Recognition Scheme payment of $500 to use for travel vouchers, accommodation, electricity or water. Payments are issued after July 1 each year.

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)

One way to afford better electrical products is to apply for a No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) that loan between $300 and $1500 for essential goods and services including fridges, washing machines, freezers and furniture. It also covers essential education such as computers and textbooks as well as medical and dental services. It doesn't carry out any credit checks, charge fees or interest.

It has repayments set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months. It is offered by more than 178 local community organisations in over 600 locations across Australia. To be eligible for NILS you must have a Health Care Card or earn less than $45,000 a year (after tax) or $60,000 for joint applications. Call 136457 and see nils.com.au

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
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