With winter well and truly upon us, it’s the time of year power bills skyrocket. For many who are struggling to get by, that could mean a difficult decision about a warm, healthy home for your family, and saving a few dollars on the next energy bill.
The Winter Energy Payment officially rolled out at the beginning of July and is designed to provide those in need with a regular sum of money to help deal with the additional expense of keeping a warm, dry home in the winter months.
We've had lots of questions about the programme from our community, so we've put together this short FAQs to help anyone who is wondering how it might affect them.
What is the Winter Energy Payment?
The Winter Energy Payment is part of the government’s new Families Package programme, designed to help potentially vulnerable people with a weekly financial injection throughout the winter months.
Am I eligible and how do I get it?
There's no need to apply – if you’re eligible you’ll get the Winter Energy Payment automatically with your other regular payments.
You'll automatically get the Winter Energy Payment if you’re getting:
You can’t get the Winter Energy Payment if you:
How much do I get?
The Winter Energy Payment will be paid automatically along with your other regular payments (either weekly or fortnightly) from 1 July to 29 September 2018. From 2019 it will be paid from 1 May to 1 October. Dependent on the circumstances, eligible people will receive the following:
Do I have to spend it on heating?
No the payments are not restricted to electricity bills, and can be used as you see fit. There are a number of reasons that homes can struggle to keep warm, and leaving the heater on for longer may not prove the most cost effective way to spend the money. The first priority for a warm, healthy home is good insulation, otherwise any additional heat will be lost through the ceiling and floor. Well fitted curtains and blinds, draught prevention and good ventilation are other ways you can reduce the heat loss from your home before you should crank up the heater.
If you want to make sure you are spending your extra money as efficiently as possible, you can book an assessment with one of our home energy experts.
I don’t need the payment - can I opt out?
Yes, if you are receiving the Winter Energy Payment and don't feel you need it, you can opt out here.
We hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please do get in touch.
Last financial year, we provided the highest number of free, lined curtains ever to families with Community Services Cards. To be exact, we gave 2462 sets of curtains to 604 households! But we want to give out even more this year before our Wellington Curtain Bank closes on 30 November.
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