Does your Body Corporate purchase electricity in bulk and then on-sell to residents via privately owned meters? Is your current electricity account issued to you by your Body Corporate or a billing agent? If you answered yes to the above you most likely live in an embedded network. You may be eligible for a rebate that could reduce your overall electricity account by as much as $374. How do I get access to these rebates as a resident I hear you say? We answer this question and more which will assist you in navigating the minefield of electricity regulation and also help you to locate the correct documents to apply.
First we will recap what an embedded network is which we wrote about in detail here separating facts from fiction on the power of choice regime. A quick explanation is that some properties are wired in a way where electricity comes in from the street via a main meter which is owned by the Embedded Network Operator (Usually the Body Corporate), the Embedded Network Operator then pays for the bulk electricity account. The power is then distributed to each lot which has a meter attached. The Body Corporate then engages a billing agent or retailer to read the meters attached to the lots and recover the electricity on behalf of the Body Corporate.
Now what about those rebates?
The Queensland government offers a range of rebates to assist households in Queensland and this offer is also available to occupants in embedded networks. There are two main types of relief that you may be eligible to apply for:
- The Queensland Electricity Rebate – $374.93 Inclusive of GST
- The Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS) – $720.00 Inclusive of GST
This rebate is available to concession card holders and offers up to $374.93 per year to reduce your electricity account. In a Strata Embedded Network your billing agent will apply this to your account once you supply the correct document. To be eligible you need to hold one of the below cards:
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
- Queensland Seniors Card
- Commonwealth Health Care Card
- Asylum Seeker Status – ImmiCard
The next step is to complete the Queensland Government Electricity Rebate Form (Form 500). This form requires details from your most recent electricity account and your concession card number and type. Once the form is completed, submit to your billing agent along with a copy of your Concession Card.
Home Energy Emergency Assistance Schemes (HEEAS)
If something in your household changes and you find yourself in a position of financial crisis, you might be in a position to find relief via the HEEAS. This offers the occupant a one of payment of $720.00 to assist with paying for your electricity or reticulated natural gas bill.
To be eligible you must meet one of the bellow criteria:
- Hold a current concession card
- Have an income equal or less than the Australian Governments maximum income rate for part-age pensioners
- Be part of your energy retailer or billing agent’s hardship program or payment plan
To find out more information regarding the HEEAS you can visit the Queensland Government website
So in summary, if you reside in an embedded network and are eligible for the Queensland Government Electricity Rebate, I suggest you complete the relevant documents and submit to your billing agent or retailer. If you would like assistance with identifying whether or not your Body Corporate is part of an embedded network and if you are eligible for one of the above rebates, please feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to help.
This article was contributed by Adam Ford, Partner – ARC Utilities Management.