Our amazing outreach team have been back out in the community supporting concession card holders to access the Victorian Government’s $250 Power Saving Bonus. After switching to phone-based support during the lockdown, we were delighted to return to our on-site work In November, doing what we do best – providing face-to-face support to households. The hard work of this proactive, engaging team in and out of lockdown has paid off having now supported over 5,800 households to apply for the Bonus, totalling more than $1.45M in payments.

Eligible households (those receiving Pensioner, Veterans Affairs, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or study payments) were able to apply for the Power Saving Bonus from 1 February this year to help offset the additional energy costs associated with the pandemic.  CPRC partnered with the Victorian Government to deliver dedicated outreach to support hard to reach households apply for the Bonus.

As well as helping households claim the $250 payment for their energy bills, our return to face-to-face engagement gives us the chance to provide households with additional support with their energy bill – handing out our Energy Simplified toolkits to help people understand and take control of their bill and helping them to access missing energy concessions and cheaper energy prices (via the Best Offer notification that appears on bills).

Data we collected from May to July this year showed that 1 in 5 households (21%) were missing the Annual Electricity Concession, which provides a 17.5% saving to every electricity bill. We also found that 1 in 2 households (50%) were unaware that they could save with a cheaper energy plan through the Best Offer notification on their bill.  The Best Offer was introduced in 2019 and requires energy companies to notify customers, at least once a quarter via their bill, if a cheaper energy plan is available and how much this will save them.

Our outreach work not only enables us to get out into the community to support households to access much needed Government assistance but, importantly, also helps us close the policy loop – providing essential information directly to households to increase affordability while collecting insights that provide policy makers with a snapshot of how the energy market is performing for everyday households.