The Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program welcomes an increase in bill support for NSW households struggling to afford their energy under ongoing lockdowns.
NSW Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, today announced an increase in the cap on the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) scheme from $1200 to $1600 per year, and from $300 to $400 per assessment for both gas and electricity.
‘The current lockdown has left many households with little or no income and struggling to afford their essential energy during a cold winter at home.’ said Craig Memery, Energy and Water Program Director, Public Interest Advocacy Centre. ‘Our own analysis has shown some households will be seeing bill increases of $200 or more per month under lockdown. This increased support will help people stay safe and healthy in their homes while following public health orders.’
PIAC welcomes the more widely accessible assistance, which is not dependent on Commonwealth Government support eligibility or visa status and can be accessed online through Service NSW or by calling non-government EAPA providers.
To ensure it is most effective, the NSW government should work with the community to improve awareness of the scheme amongst worst-affected areas such as those in Western Sydney.
‘The NSW government has taken this necessary and welcome initiative by increasing direct energy bill assistance’, said Mr Memery. ‘To ensure this support reaches people who need it, further work with community leaders and service providers would help build awareness of the program where it is needed most.’
PIAC looks forward to continuing working with the NSW government and the community to ensure all NSW households can afford their essential energy through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Energy Communications Officer, Anna Livsey: 0478 739 280