Up to 4000 families from Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba will soon have a chance to cut their power use and their power bills with the latest Palaszczuk Government energy affordability initiative.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy, who was joined by Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today, said participating households would have help to cut power use and bills with a digital electricity meter, monthly billing and on-the-ground energy efficiency advice from local champions.
“By taking simple energy saving actions, families could cut their power bills by up to $200 in the first 12 months,’’ Mr Healy said.
“This Energy Savvy Families program has already helped more than 5500 families last year to reduce their power usage and their bills.
“In Cairns, 400 families have already signed up to this latest round.”
Dr Lynham said the Energy Savvy Families program was just one element of the Palaszczuk Government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan.
“Electricity prices in regional Queensland dropped 1.3 per cent from July last year, and Queensland now has the lowest electricity prices on the eastern seaboard,” he said.
"But we know Queenslanders remain concerned about the cost of living, and that’s why we are so focussed on putting further downward pressure on electricity prices.”
Under the program, Ergon installs a new digital meter. Using Ergon’s HomeSmart online system, customers can monitor their energy use, set a budget and even set alarms for when they are coming close to budget. Families also have a local energy “champion” to help them, including advising them about any electricity concessions they may be eligible for.
A ReduceYourJuice app for smart phones and tablets uses games and a series of mini quests and questions, with energy efficiency rewards, to encourage the whole family to use energy efficiently.
Speaker and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt encouraged local families to make the most of the opportunity to cut their power bills.
“I know from talking to my constituents here in Mulgrave that the cost of living is a concern for families,” he said.
“This is a real opportunity to get everyone in your household involved in cutting your energy use and reducing that power bill.”
Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Mark Henley said it was about helping low-income families in regional communities.
"Energy affordability is a key cost-of-living issue for families so providing local, on-the-ground support through the community champions is a big boost to helping them better manage their energy bills,” Mr Henley said.
“QCOSS welcomes the Energy Savvy Families program, particularly the focus on improving energy literacy to assist customers who may be at risk of vulnerability.”
Ergon has identified families affected by hardship in Cairns, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba, and invited them to participate in the program. Already more than 1200 families in Queensland, including more than 400 in Cairns, have signed on. The program has been postponed in Townsville until April due to the floods.
Energy Savvy Families is part of the Government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, along with:
- a two-year cap on electricity price rises to average inflation
- $50 annual rebate over two years for every Queensland household
- grants for energy-efficient appliances
- Interest-free loans and grants to install rooftop solar and batteries.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham