Aged pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will receive a one-off bonus payment of $125 per household in coming months to help cover their energy bills.
The Special Energy Bonus is being made under the Government’s Tasmanians First energy policy and will see higher than expected returns from our energy businesses paid into the pockets of Tasmanians, rather than retained by the Government.
As revealed in their annual reports yesterday, both Hydro Tasmania and Aurora Energy performed better than expected in 2016-17, providing unbudgeted windfall gains to the Government.
While power prices are still lower than when we came to office in 2014, we recognise that many people, particularly aged pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders, are being hit hard by the rising cost of living.
This past winter was also very cold, meaning that some Tasmanians used more energy than previous years.
The Hodgman Liberal Government takes cost of living issues very seriously, and along with cheaper water bills, freezing car registration, and capping power prices, the Special Energy Bonus is further evidence of our commitment to act on it.
It is anticipated the rebates will be paid to eligible customers before Christmas. For Aurora Energy customers with a Pensioner Concession Card, this will be in addition to the State Government-funded concession already applied on quarterly Aurora Energy bills. These customers do not need to apply but will receive the payment based on the current concessions information. To extend the benefit of the Special Energy Bonus further, it will also be made available to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders who do not receive a regular concession.
An application process will be developed for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders in the coming weeks with information on how to apply for their household to receive the Special Energy Bonus.
In total, it is estimated the Special Energy Bonus will be paid to approximately 72,000 aged pensioner households and around 6,000 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders households.
The total cost is estimated to be around $10 million.
Under the former Labor-Green Government, power prices went up by 65 per cent over 7 years. In contrast, we have a Tasmania First policy which means lower power prices and energy security for Tasmanians.
Guy Barnett, Minister for Energy