Utility Relief Grant and Non-Mains Utility
Relief Grant Scheme
The Utility Relief Grant (URG) and Non-Mains Utility Relief Grant scheme (NURGS) is available to Pensioner Concession card holders, Health Care card holders or DVA Gold card holders. If you do not have one of these cards but you are on a low income, you may also be able to apply. The maximum grant available per utility bill is $650, the grant provided depends on the amount owing on the bill. If you only have one main i.e. gas only, then the maximum grant amount is up to $1300. This is a grant that does not need to be repaid by the customer and can only be accessed every two years. To apply for the URG you will need to contact your energy or water provider. To apply for the NURG you will need to contact the Victorian Concession Information Line. For further eligibility criteria, referral process and specific information about these grants please visit the DHHS website below or phone the Victorian Concessions Information Line.
Also ensure your concession card is registered with the utility company to receive a discount on your energy and water bills.
• www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/financial-support/ concessions/hardship/utility-relief-and-non-mains-utility-grant- scheme
• Victorian Concessions Information Line Phone: 1800 658 521
Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)
EWOV is useful to resolve a dispute with a utility provider. The Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOV) are an independent body who resolve disputes between Victorian consumers and electricity, gas, and water companies. EWOV’s website is very user friendly and has available useful fact sheets and contact information.
• Phone: 1800 500 509
Victorian Energy Compare
Victorian Energy Compare is an independent Victorian Government energy price comparison website. This site allows you to compare your gas and electricity bills to other energy providers to find the best energy provider based on your use. You will need a recent bill to use this tool.
Phone & Internet
Telstra has a program available for not-for-profit agencies that can assist clients with phone cards or financial assistance for people finding it difficult to pay their outstanding Telstra bill. You can find information on the Telstra Bills Assistance Program or the Telstra Phone card Assistance Program at the following site.
• www.telstra.com.au/aboutus/community-environment/ community-programs/access-for-everyone/community- agencies
Services Australia – Centrelink
Services Australia is a government department that delivers payments and services to the Australian community. People on low incomes may be eligible for concessions on their telephone and internet. The telephone allowance helps with the cost of having a phone and internet service in your home. Eligibility
is considered when you apply for a Centrelink benefit and the allowance is included with your Centrelink payment.
• www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/ centrelink/telephone-allowance
Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
TIO is a similar service to the EWOV, but information provided is specific to the telecommunication industry. TIO is a fast, free, independent, impartial, and fair dispute resolution service. This service is for residential customers or small business customers
who have an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service.
• Phone: 1800 062 058