Power bill relief ‘most significant cost of living package’ in SA history

More than 420,000 South Australian households will pay less for power under a $254 million state and federal government agreement which the Deputy Premier describes as “the most significant cost of living package in the state’s history”.

May 10, 2023, updated May 10, 2023
Photo: AAP/Russell Freeman

Photo: AAP/Russell Freeman

Under a joint deal signed by the state and federal governments and announced in last night’s Federal Budget, more than 420,000 South Australian households will receive a one-off energy bill rebate of $500, while 86,000 small businesses will receive a rebate of $650.

The money will be taken off people’s power bills, not paid directly into their bank accounts.

Those eligible include small businesses, as well as concession-card holders, people receiving family and carers payments and those receiving electricity concessions under a current state government scheme.

The energy relief means price increases for electricity will be 25 percentage points lower than expected, while gas price rises will be 16 percentage points lower.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the power price relief would be targeted and provided on 2023-24 energy bills.

“We’ll make sure this relief is provided on the bill, rather than spraying around cash cheques to people,” he said.

“These electricity prices are much lower than they would otherwise be because of the combination of the energy plan that we put in place – the gas and coal caps and the energy bill relief.”

The state and federal governments have committed $127.2 million each towards the agreement – called the National Energy Bill Relief Plan, which is costing the federal government a total of $1.5 billion nationally.

The funding is in addition to an existing state government energy concession worth up to $263.15 in 2023-24.

The state government says the number of people in SA who are eligible for power bill relief will double from around 210,000 currently to 420,000 under the new plan, with those who receive both rebates to save up to $763.15 in 2023-24.

“This is the most significant cost of living relief package in the state’s history,” Deputy Premier Susan Close said.

“This rebate will help around half a million SA households and businesses who need it most.”

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According to the state government, South Australia will receive above its population share in federal funding for the rebate because it has a higher proportion of eligible households and small businesses.

It says eligible households might see their energy bills drop by 5.4 per cent in 2023-24, or 7.5 per cent if they also receive the state government concession.

SA Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said the rebate would make a “significant difference” to those who can least afford higher energy bills.

“The Malinauskas Government is doing all it can to help struggling households,” he said.

But shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said households would still pay more for energy.

“Labor’s failed to deliver on its $275 electricity price reduction. It is clear in the budget now, that’s a broken promise,” he said.

“What we want to see from the government is taking pressure off inflation. This is not a budget that does it.”

Energy Consumers Association chief executive Lynne Gallagher said the energy relief measures would provide welcome relief.

“The federal budget combines much needed immediate direct assistance with investments that help consumers get control of their energy costs,” she said.

– with AAP

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