Confusion & Clarity: COVID-19 Household Utility Relief
Under the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic relief package, Queensland households have automatically received a $200 rebate to help offset household electricity and water costs.
However, there appears to have been some recent confusion amongst the public and other stakeholders in relation to the application of the rebate, particularly with regards to applying this payment against a customer’s water bill.
To clarify, while the $200 payment aimed to assist eligible residents with their utility costs, the full amount of the rebate was applied against electricity bills only and not a resident’s water bill. To ensure the $200 rebate was paid to all Queensland households as quickly as possible, the Queensland Government decided that the simplest and most efficient way to do this was to apply the full rebate amount to electricity bills only. This is chiefly because electricity retailers already have established billing and payment systems for providing government concessions and rebates through customers’ bills.
The household utility assistance payment was made up of the $50 electricity asset ownership dividend for 2020 plus an additional $150 to assist households with their utility bills this year. This assistance is in addition to any other energy rebate or concession for which customers may be eligible.
Regional Queensland residential customers starting receiving the utility rebate last month in April onwards (depending on their individual electricity bill cycle) while South East Queensland customers started receiving the credit on their electricity bill from this month (May), depending on when they are due to receive their bill.
So, who is eligible to receive the household utility assistance? The utility rebate is being provided to residential customers who are separately charged for their electricity. Customers who don’t receive a separate electricity bill (e.g. where electricity is included as part of the rent) are not eligible to receive the rebate. Arrangements are in place for customers with on-supply arrangements and customers using a card-operated meter to receive the utility rebate, which include:
- On-Supply Arrangements: Households who pay their landlord, property manager, caravan park owner or body corporate in an on-supply arrangement are eligible for the rebate – these customers will have the rebate credited to their bills by their on-supplier or electricity billing company. On-suppliers are required to lodge a claim (using form 511)with their electricity retailer.
- Card-Operated Meters: Households with card-operated meters are also eligible for the rebate, which will be automatically transferred to their orange power cards (linked card).
If you would like any further information in relation to the Queensland Government’s Household Utility Relief payment, simply click here.