$250 Power Saving Bonus Program - FAQs

 

Overview

The $250 Power Saving Bonus is a one-off $250 payment to provide direct support to vulnerable Victorian households experiencing energy bill stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $250 Power Saving Bonus will be available to over 900,000 eligible Victorian households. Eligible households can access the Power Saving Bonus by applying on this website or applying through a participating community organisation. The $250 Bonus will be available from 1 February 2021 to 31 January 2022 and will be limited to one per eligible household.

The $250 Power Saving Bonus program is now open. Eligible households can apply on this website or through a participating community organisation from 1 February 2021 until the 31 January 2022. There is no limit or cap on the number of payments available for eligible households and applications will stay open to 31 January 2022, but only one payment is available to each household.

There is a limit of one Power Saving Bonus for each eligible household. Eligible households will be able to get the bonus at any time through the duration of the program. This is because there is no cap or limit on the number of payments available.

No, only one Bonus is available per household.

No, only one Bonus is available per household.

Yes, if you received the $50 Power Saving Bonus and meet the eligibility requirements, then you can apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, you must be able to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a Victorian residential energy consumer (i.e. have a residential electricity account). 
  • You must receive one of the following concession benefits:
    • Centrelink Pension Concession Card
    • JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Abstudy or Austudy
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card

Holders of Health Care Cards who are not recipients of Youth allowance, JobSeeker, Austudy or Abstudy are not eligible.

No, only applicants who receive an eligible concession benefit (Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Abstudy, Austudy, DVA Pensioner Concession Card or DVA Gold Card) are eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus.

No, the application needs to come from the person who receives an eligible concession benefit (Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Abstudy, Austudy, DVA Pensioner Concession Card or DVA Gold Card).

Yes. Applicants who receive an eligible concession benefit can apply for the $250 Bonus irrespective of whether they are the energy account holder. You will still need to provide a copy of your electricity bill or provide details from your bill to confirm you are a Victorian residential energy consumer.

If you rent and meet the eligibility requirements, then you can apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus.

It will depend on the circumstances and if the eligibility requirements can be met. If you are a recipient of an eligible concession benefit and have an energy account with a matching address, then you will be able to receive the Bonus.

Small businesses are not eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus. To be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus you must be a Victorian residential energy consumer.

No, households that are off the grid and do not have a residential energy account are not eligible. To be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus you have a Victorian residential energy consumer.

If you live in an embedded network and have an electricity account, you are still be eligible to apply for the bonus. When providing your electricity service details during the online application process, type 'embedded' into the retailer field and select your retailer. If your retailer isn’t listed, select ‘Other Embedded Network (embedded)'. Embedded network applicants may be requested to provide additional supporting documents at a later stage to complete their application. This may include a copy of your passport, drivers licence or Medicare card.

As individual circumstances will vary, we are not able to provide advice on whether the $250 Power Saving Bonus will affect your concession payments or your taxable income. It may be the case that the $250 Bonus is classified a one-off gift and is exempt, but recipients of the bonus should seek advice specific advice if they are concerned about the bonus impacting their concession payments or taxable income.

Documentation Requirements

To apply for the Bonus, you must provide the following documentation:

  • Electricity bill: Applicants must provide evidence they be a Victorian residential energy consumer by providing a copy of their household electricity bill. The applicant is not required to be the account holder named on the electricity bill.
  • Centrelink CRN: Applicants must provide evidence they have an active eligible Centrelink payment by providing their Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN). The applicant’s residential address associated with the CRN must match the service address listed on the electricity bill.

If you are experiencing difficulties uploading your PDF bill, you will need to be sure to upload a Native PDF.

What is a Native PDF?

  • A Native PDF File is generated initially from your retailer and emailed directly to you. It’s the original PDF (digital) copy you receive.
  • A Native PDF is not a scanned paper bill

If you do not have a Native PDF or having issues uploading your bill, the easiest way to apply is by entering your bill details manually Please choose the option "I don't have a PDF bill" and enter the details manually.

To submit an application, we need the information from your electricity bill. If you do not have an electricity account, please email info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au

If you have a NMI it will be stated on a copy of your electricity bill. Your NMI (National Metering Identifier) is a 10- or 11-digit number, which can usually be found at the top of the second page of your electricity bill. If you cannot locate it, you will need to either contact your current retailer or distributor to find out this information.

If you have an original PDF (digital) copy of your electricity bill you can upload it during the application process and we’ll complete these sections for you.

If you only have a paper-based copy of your bill and you can’t find the required information we can help via our website live chat service or by emailing info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Further information about billing and energy affordability can also be found the Victorian Government’s Victorian Energy Saver website.

If you have a Centrelink CRN it will be listed on your concession card (e.g. Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card) or in your online myGov account. If you cannot locate it, you will need to contact Centrelink to find out this information.

Application Process

To apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, eligible households must apply on this website or through a participating community organisation from 1 February 2021 until the 31 January 2022.

To apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, you will need to complete the online application process on this website.

The average time spent submitting an online application for the $250 Power Saving Bonus is 5 minutes.

Victorian Energy Compare is compatible on all platforms, including tablets and mobiles, however it works best using a desktop computer. To apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, you may need to upload supporting documents which may only be accessible using a desktop computer.

If you are unable to find and select your service address when applying online please email info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au and someone will get in touch with you about your application.

If when you visit the website, the online application process is unavailable for any reason, please be aware that the program runs until 31 January 2022 and applications can be submitted any time during that period. Eligible households will be able to get the bonus at any time through the duration of the program. This is because there is no cap or limit on the number of payments available.

If you are having trouble submitting an application, the following support options may be able to help.

  • Email: You can email our support team and they can help you navigate the online application process. They can be contacted at info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.
  • Friends and family members: If someone you know has a computer with the internet, ask if you can visit them and use it to access Victorian Energy Compare.
  • Online: You can get help in real time by using the Victorian Energy Compare website live chat function.
  • Phone support: You can call 1800 000 VEC (832) to receive general support. Alternatively, you can call 1800 830 029 to access the newly established Energy Assistance Program and receive one-on-one assistance over the phone from an energy adviser. Due to high participation in the Energy Assistance Program, you may not be able to get support through the program immediately, but there will be more support available in the coming months and is important to remember that eligible participants will not miss out on the bonus which is available until Jan 2022.
  • Your local neighbourhood house or community centre: Neighbourhood houses or community centres are great resource, and even if they don't have computer with internet access, they might be able to help you find one nearby.

Community based support may be available if you’re unable to apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus online. The Energy Assistance Program helps eligible Victorians save money on their energy bills and get advice on energy issues, including submitting a $250 Power Saving Bonus application. The program is delivered by the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence, Australian Energy Foundation and Uniting, independent of energy companies. You can call 1800 830 029 to get assistance through this program.

You should receive an update on your application within 10 business days of submission. Approved applications will be asked to provide your payment details.

Payment

You should receive your $250 payment within 2-3 weeks of submission if you meet the eligibility and documentation requirements. Incomplete applications may take longer to process and pay.

The $250 Power Saving Bonus will be paid via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or by cheque upon request.

EFT payments should be received within 5 business days of receiving email confirmation. If you haven’t received your $250 Bonus within these timeframes you can contact Victorian Energy Compare by emailing info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Support

If you are having trouble lodging your Power Saving Bonus application:

  • Phone support: You can call 1800 000 VEC (832) to receive general support. Alternatively, you can call 1800 830 029 to access the newly established Energy Assistance Program and receive one-on-one assistance over the phone from an energy adviser. Due to high participation in the Energy Assistance Program, you may not be able to get support through the program immediately, but there will be more support available in the coming months and is important to remember that eligible participants will not miss out on the bonus which is available until Jan 2022.
  • Online: You can get help in real time by using the Victorian Energy Compare website live chat function.
  • Email: You can email our support team and they can help you navigate the online application process. They can be contacted at info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

The Energy Assistance Program helps eligible Victorians save money on their energy bills and get advice on energy issues, including reducing energy use at home. The program is delivered by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Australian Energy Foundation and Uniting, independent of energy companies. Visit the Brotherhood of St. Laurence website or call 1800 830 029 to get assistance with your energy bills today.

If you need assistance, please contact Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) for help with translating and interpreting. Contact TIS National on 131 450 or visit www.tisnational.gov.au.

Privacy

When applying for the $250 Bonus you will be asked to provide certain information to confirm your eligibility an personal information you provide will only be used for these purposes and will be held and used in accordance with the Victorian Energy Compare website’s privacy statement, which is located at https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/privacy.

Information you provide about your concession card will only be used for the purpose of assessing your Power Saving Bonus application. As part of that assessment, DELWP will be sharing your concession card details with Centrelink/Services Australia for the purpose of validating the information you have provided. Your use of Victorian Energy Compare and the Power Saving Bonus is governed by the Victorian Energy Compare website’s privacy statement, which is located at https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/privacy.

Enquiries & Feedback

All enquiries can be submitted to our support team at info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Victorian Energy Compare values feedback from the Victorian community. If you wish to provide feedback please email us at info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.