$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 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The $250 Power Saving Bonus will be available to over 900,000 eligible Victorian households with at least one eligible concession cardholder. 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 payment 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 31 January 2022.

The $250 Power Saving Bonus program is now open. Eligible households can apply on the Victorian Energy Compare website or through a participating community organisation from 1 February 2021 until 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.

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 be receiving payments under one of the following concession programs:
    • Centrelink Pensioner Concession
    • JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession
    • Or hold a 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 need to be a Victorian residential energy consumer.

If you live in an embedded network and have an electricity account, you are still 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, driver’s 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 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 are 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 an Original PDF.

What is an Original PDF?

  • An Original PDF File is generated initially from your retailer and emailed directly to you. It’s the digital PDF copy you receive
  • An Original PDF is not a scanned paper bill

If you do not have an Original 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 assist your application to be processed as quickly as possible you could also upload a photo of your electricity bill on the confirmation page. Photos must be in a PNG, JPG or PDF format.

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 on 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 Pensioner 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 31 January 2022.

Friends or family can assist eligible applicants to apply if they need help to submit their application though applicants must be present at the time of applying and accept the program’s terms and conditions prior to submission. Alternatively, applicants can call 1800 000 VEC (832) to receive general support and assistance with the Victorian Energy Compare website and Power Saving Bonus program.

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.

When you visit the website to submit your application, there are a few things you need to make the application process as easy as possible, including:

  • Making sure you have a copy of a recent electricity bill
  • Making sure you know your ‘NMI’ number (this is can be located on your bill and is typically a 10 or 11 digit number)
  • Making sure you know the card number for your Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card (for JobSeekers, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy recipients)
  • Making sure you keep a copy of your NMI and your application reference number as you may need it for further communications about your application.

After you complete your submission, your application will be reviewed. If all the information provided in your application meets the requirements of the program, you will receive another email in approximately 10 days confirming your application has been approved. If you nominated Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) as your preferred payment option, you will be asked to nominate a bank account for the bonus payment to be paid into. If the information provided in your application does not meet the requirements of the program, or there is information missing, you will receive an email with further information about the status of your application.

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 you have lost the application number emailed to you after you submitted your application, you can request it to be emailed to you by using the Victorian Energy Compare website’s live chat service. Alternatively you can request your application number by emailing info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Yes you can provide more information when submitting your application which may speed up the application process. This can be beneficial if you are unable to upload an original PDF copy of your electricity bill or if you live in an embedded network. When submitting your application online, you can upload additional supporting documents on the confirmation page. Documents must be in a PNG, JPG or PDF format.

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 and assistance with the Victorian Energy Compare website and Power Saving Bonus program.
  • Your local neighbourhood house or community centre: Neighbourhood houses or community centres are a great resource, and even if they don't have a computer with internet access, they might be able to help you find one nearby.

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

Payment

You should receive your $250 payment via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) within 2-3 weeks of submission if you meet the eligibility and documentation requirements. Cheque payments will take a little longer to process but should be received within 4 weeks 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 EFT or by cheque upon request.

Yes. When you submit your application online, you will be able to choose between receiving your payment via EFT or cheque. If you choose EFT you should receive your $250 payment within 5 business days of receiving email confirmation. If you choose cheque you should receive your $250 payment within 4 weeks of receiving email confirmation. If you have submitted your application details already but would like to change your payment method, you should email info.vec@delwp.vic.gov.au.

EFT payments should be received within 5 business days of receiving email confirmation. Cheque payments take a little longer to process but should be received within 4 weeks 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 and assistance with the Victorian Energy Compare website and Power Saving Bonus program.
  • 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.

If you need assistance, please contact the 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. Any 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.