SA’s Energy Bill Relief delivers savings to households and businesses ahead of Christmas

The second instalment of energy bill relief is now flowing to thousands of South Australian households and small businesses.

Amid the festive season’s approach, thousands of South Australian households and small businesses are receiving a timely financial reprieve through the second instalment of energy bill relief.

The South Australian government allocated $127.2 million in the June state budget for the National Energy Bill Relief Plan. This budget allocation was met with a dollar-for-dollar contribution from the Commonwealth, culminating in a $254.4 million fund over two years dedicated to this initiative.

The Relief Plan extends energy bill reductions of $500 to a maximum of 420,000 eligible households, while 86,000 eligible small businesses can benefit from rebates of up to $650. These financial incentives are applied directly to recipients’ energy bills within the current 2023‑24 billing year.

Energy retailers are already implementing these reductions, which are being reflected in recipients’ bills for the second quarter.

The Relief Plan’s scope has been broadened to encompass more beneficiaries, now including not only existing state concession recipients but also Commonwealth Family Tax Benefit recipients, Carer Allowance recipients, and holders of specific Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) cards who were previously ineligible for the existing energy concession.

New eligible households have been directly contacted by Commonwealth Government agency Services Australia, ensuring that those who were eligible but did not receive relief during the first quarter will still benefit from a higher amount applied to their remaining bills, eventually receiving the full $500 amount.

Households qualifying for both the existing state government concession of $263.15 and the jointly-funded rebate will collectively save up to $763.15 in 2023-24.

The recent final determination of Default Market Offer prices (DMO) by the Australian Energy Regulator projected an approximate increase of $439 (23.9 percent) in average electricity bills for South Australian residential customers in 2023-24. However, the substantial $500 reduction from energy bills is expected to result in a 3.3 percent decrease in the average electricity bill for eligible households in 2023-24. Those fortunate enough to benefit from both the reduction and the SA energy concession can anticipate a total savings of approximately 5.2 percent on their energy bill.

In a move welcomed by small businesses, the state government has decided to extend the $650 energy bill reduction to numerous additional businesses operating within embedded networks, such as retailers in shopping centres. This decision was influenced by concerns that these businesses were at risk of missing out solely because they did not receive their energy bills directly from an energy retailer.

Following representations to the federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, changes to the eligibility criteria have been approved to ensure that businesses on embedded networks can also access energy bill reductions. This expansion will provide several thousand more small businesses with the opportunity to participate in the scheme.

“There are a lot of South Australian households and businesses under pressure right now, which is why we are providing targeted support to help those most in need in our community,” Tresurer Stephen Mullighan says.

“As we head into Christmas, a reduction in energy bills will provide some relief at what is traditionally a very expensive time of year.”

In totality, the June state budget earmarked $471.3 million for cost of living relief measures in South Australia, constituting the most substantial package of cost of living relief initiatives ever deployed in the state.

Besides energy bill relief, this package includes various measures such as a reduction in the school materials and services charge, indexation of the existing cost of living concession, and support for food charities and financial counselling, among others.

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