How government schemes can help you with high power bills
The summer months bring warmer temperatures and this may mean you need to use more power to cool down your house.
There is some good news, however, with government incentives available to help knock those electricity prices down.
Electricity feed-in tariffs
Available in every state, the feed-in tariff compensates households with a renewable solar photovoltaic system installed.
These households are paid for the energy they generate that goes back onto the grid.
The Western Australian and Tasmanian governments also pay households with hydro and wind powered systems as well as solar photovoltaic systems.
Households in Queensland are only eligible for the rebate if they consume less than 100 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
The amount of compensation received also differs by state, so it is best to check with your local government to see what the requirements and conditions are in your region.
Renewable power incentives
Households across Australia that invest in a small scale renewable energy system or hot water system may be able to receive a benefit under this scheme to help with the initial purchase price.
Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are given out upon the purchase of these units and function as an electronic form of currency. They can be swapped or reassigned to purchase other goods.
STCs can be exchanged for a discount or delayed cash payment with the agent or system installer. Otherwise, they can be sold through the open STCs market where they will be subject to market forces or sold through the Clearing House. Here, they will reach a set price of $40 per STC, excluding GST.
The number of certificates you receive depends on the amount of renewable energy created by your system or the reduction in electricity consumption is causes. The climate you live in is another factor taken into account.
Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS)
This countrywide scheme was designed to help reduce energy use around the home so households can spend their money more wisely.
Eligible households are those having difficulty paying their power bill, those at risk of disconnection and those who are on their energy retailer's hardship scheme already.
This assistance programme can present information about how to reduce power usage in the home. The team can also provide eligible households with information about whether they are getting the correct rebates and if they are entitled to any other assistance.
These households might not understand how to correctly read their power bills either, so this is explained.
HESS workers can also supply budgeting advice and other tips, advocacy or support required, so these households will be able to understand how their power bills work.
People may also be assisted to find subsidies for purchasing more energy efficient appliances, which will help reduce their electricity prices.
Victoria's showerhead exchange
Victorian residents can give up their old inefficient showerheads and receive more energy and water efficient heads in return.
The new showerheads have a three-star rating and will not cost residents signed up with a water retailer in Victoria, a cent.
Around 25 per cent of electricity usage goes towards water heating, according to AGL energy and saving precious hot water from going down the drain may help reduce your electricity prices - even in the summer months.
Queensland pool pumps, tariff and energy-efficient pump incentive
Many Australians jump in their pools for a cooling dip in the summer months, so luckily the Queensland government offers a financial incentive to encourage energy efficient swimming pool use.
If you are in a South East Queensland property, you may be able to get $250 to hook up your pool pump to an off-peak electricity tariff. or, you could recieve $150 to go towards a 5-star rated energy efficient machine or aftermarket drive.
These households will benefit from a cheaper rate of electricity and may use less power, which will reduce the peak amount of energy demanded.
To get the most out of these benefits, households could also connect their electric hot water system to an off-peak tariff and be eligible for another $100 rebate.
Queensland air-conditioning incentives
Households and businesses in Queensland can get up to $1,500 for installing PeakSmart-enabled air-conditioners. The incentive can be provided for the installation of up to three units.
To be eligible for this, properties must be served by the Energex electricity distribution network and purchase a PeakSmart system.
The incentive is broken down into three parts. If you install an air conditioner of 10 kiloWatts cooling capacity or more, a $500 incentive will be provided. If the capacity is more than 4 kW but less than 10, the incentive drops to $250 and for air conditioners with a capacity less than 4 kW, households can get $150.
While it might not be a government incentive, comparing the prices charged by the different electricity suppliers may help you to see if there is a cheaper alternative.
Posted by Liam Tunney.