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One way for savvy customers to save money off their energy bills is to compare offers from different retailers and switch to better rates. But if you still need a little extra help, here’s everything you need to know about the Family Energy Rebate, from eligibility criteria to the application process.
The rebate amount you may receive will vary depending on whether you also qualify for the Low Income Household Rebate (LIHR), and if you are a direct or ‘on-supplied’ customer of an energy retailer. Being ‘on-supplied’ means that instead of you receiving energy bills directly from your retailer, they are issued by, or on behalf of, the owners or management of your residential community, retirement village or strata scheme.
Eligible direct customers can receive a concession of up to $150 per year. Your retailer will apply the rebate to your energy account and the credit will appear on your bill.
A direct customer eligible for both the Family Energy Rebate and Low Income Household Rebate (LIHR) could receive a combined, capped total of up to $250 per year. Bear in mind that receiving both rebates means your Family Energy Rebate will be capped at $15, regardless of how much you get back through the LIHR.
Your retailer will apply the Family Energy Rebate component of $15 to your energy account as a one-off credit, and the remaining LIHR amount of up to $235 as quarterly installments.
Eligible ‘on-supplied’ customers can receive a one-off annual rebate of up to $165, which includes a 10 per cent reimbursement for GST. The NSW Department of Industry will make the payment to your nominated bank account.
‘On-supplied’ customers eligible for the Family Energy Rebate and LIHR could receive up to $275 as a combined, capped rebate. You will receive the Family Energy Rebate component of $16.50 and the LIHR component of up to $258.50 as separate one-off payments to your bank account.
To be eligible for the Family Energy Rebate, you must:
Before you can make your application you will need to lodge your household tax return for the previous financial year, or inform the Department of Human Services (DHS) if you are not required to lodge a return. The DHS will assess your eligibility for the Family Tax Benefit A or B, and send you confirmation when it has been finalised.
You are now ready to apply for the rebate. To do this, you will need to have handy:
Direct customers will also need to supply their unique National Meter Identifier, or NMI Number. This can be found on your electricity bill – it will be a 10- or 11-digit number starting with a “4”. You can contact your electricity retailer if you can’t find your NMI.
Be sure to check that you have copied down your NMI correctly, or you will need to submit a new application.
Because ‘on-supplied’ customers do not receive bills directly from an electricity supplier, they do not need to provide an NMI in their application.
You can submit your application in two ways:
Submit paper applications to the NSW Department of Industry via:
Fax: (02) 6391 4734
Post: NSW Family Energy Rebate
Locked Bag 5123
Parramatta NSW 2124
To be eligible for the Family Energy Rebate, direct customers must receive a bill from an energy retailer. As the NSW Department of Industry explains, you need to be "an account holder of an electricity retailer… and whose name appears on the electricity account for supply to her or his principal place of residence".
To confirm your eligibility for the rebate, the department will check whether the energy retailer you nominated has you as a customer on their billing system. The name, electricity account number and NMI number they have must match the details you provided on your application.
If everything matches, your retailer is required to provide a rebate credit against your electricity account.
One possible reason for a mismatch is if there is more than one name on your energy bill.
Your retailer needs to confirm you as a customer in order for your energy rebate application to be approved. If your application is declined, call your retailer and ask whether you are listed as the primary account holder on their billing system. Some NSW energy retailers will allow more than one person to be the account holder – though most don’t.
The department will let you know if your application has been declined due to "retailer mismatch". If this happens, you should contact your retailer to find out what the problem might be.
If you need to restructure your household’s account so that you are the primary account holder, make sure you tell your retailer the change is only so that the details on your application for the Family Energy Rebate will match their billing information. This may help you avoid any potential fees or charges.
This does not apply to FER applicants who receive their energy from owners/management of on-supplied residential communities, retirement villages or strata schemes.
A lot can happen in a year – you could get a new job, receive a pay rise, or your family situation may change. You will need to make a new application for the rebate each financial year to ensure you still meet the eligibility criteria.
When it comes to the cost of living, government rebates can be a big help – but what if there was another way to shave money off your energy bill every month?
Thanks to the state government’s decision to deregulate the electricity market in July 2014, there is now an abundance of energy providers in NSW fighting it out for your business.