Living with MS means high energy use, primarily because 90% of people with MS are heat intolerant and run their air conditioners 15 times more than average households[i].
This high energy use, combined with rising energy costs, results in significant energy expenses for people living with MS and their families.
Further to this, the federal budget estimated that electricity prices are expected to rise by 56% over the next two years and gas prices by 40%.
Each state and territory provides assistance through energy concessions for people who hold one of the following*:
- Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card
- Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card
- Veteran’s Affairs Gold Card Holders
*Some state and territory schemes may have additional groups of people that qualify for rebates
A recent report by the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC), Mind the Gap: Identifying the gap between energy concession eligibility and concessions received, estimates that more than 35% of Australians eligible for concessions on their energy bills may not be receiving them.
As concessions are not automatically applied to bills, the onus lies with the eligible person to ensure it is applied to their bill.
MS Australia supports the recommendations from the CPRC report regarding energy concessions, including that the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments and energy regulators work to streamline and unify the concessions framework, explore the barriers to accessing energy concessions and find ways to better support Australians to access these concessions including automatic applications, improved communication and reduced administrative burden.
If you are currently not receiving an energy concession and think you may be eligible, you may wish to look at the relevant scheme in your state/territory.
Please note that the application process is different in each state and territory and, in some instances, may require applying directly through your energy provider:
- Qld Electricity and Gas Rebates
- NSW Energy rebates
- ACT Utilities Concession.
- Victorian annual electricity concession
- Tasmanian Electricity concessions
- NT Electricity concessions
- SA Energy Bill Concessions
- WA Electricity fee rebate
[i] MS Australia and University of South Australia (2014). Domestic Energy Use by Australians with Multiple Sclerosis including Medically Required Cooling.