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Coronavirus FAQ's

The Queensland Government has pledged a $200 utility bill relief credit for all households and a $500 credit for small to medium businesses that consume less than 100-thousand kilowatt hours annually to assist with utility bills during this unprecedented time.

See our frequently asked questions below.

QLD Government utility bill relief credit

Residential

What makes up the household relief package?

The $200 household rebate builds on the Queensland Government’s commitment to provide a $50 Asset Ownership Dividend to households and will see households receive an additional $150 towards their household utility costs (water and electricity) – which customers will automatically receive via their electricity bill. This is the quickest way for government to provide urgent assistance to Queensland households impacted by COVID 19.

What do I have to do to get the utility bill relief credit?

You don’t have to do anything; the credit will be automatically applied to eligible electricity accounts from the 7th April. To be eligible, accounts must be active from the 3rd April 2020. You will see the credit in the other charges and credits section of your bill, on page 2.

Please note that if you have closed your account before the 3rd of April, and no longer have an active account with Ergon Energy Retail, you will not  be eligible to receive the Government Utility Bill Relief credit.

When will I receive the utility bill relief credit?

If you are a small residential customer, the credit is due to land on accounts from Tuesday 7 April 2020, therefore, you will see it on your next electricity account. You will also see a message, similar to this on your bill, "You've received the $200 Queensland Government Utility Bill Relief Assistance credit on this account. For details visit ergon.com.au/retail"

If you are a small business customer the credit is due to land on accounts from Thursday 9 April 2020, therefore, you will see it on your next electricity account. You will also see a message, similar to this on your bill, "You've received the $500 Queensland Government Utility Bill Relief Assistance credit on this account. For details visit ergon.com.au/retail"

Can I have the credit refunded or paid into my bank account?

The utility credit is applied to household and small business electricity accounts to assist customers withstand the economic impacts of the pandemic

You can only obtain a refund of the utility bill relief credit if:

  • You are finalising your account, will no longer hold any active account with Ergon Energy Retail and your account is in credit.
  • You have solar and are regularly in credit.

What do I do if I receive a bill before the utility bill relief credit has been applied?

If you receive a bill before the credit has been applied, you are still required to pay it by the due date. If you are having difficulty paying your account, please call us on 13 10 46 so we can assist you further.

Will I receive the $200 credit if I live in a share house or granny flat or if I get my bill from a property manager or landlord?

The utility credit will only be applied to the person who has the electricity account in their name, with an account that is active from Tuesday 7 April 2020. If two residential premises on one site share a single account/electricity connection, then the $200 rebate would only apply to a single electricity account.

Electricity is included in my rent so I don’t get a separate electricity bill. Do I still get the utility rebate?

No. To receive the utility rebate, customers must be separately billed for their electricity supply/consumption.

Why are the rebates only being paid on accounts active on a specific date?

To facilitate delivery of the household and small business rebates through electricity bills, the Queensland Government has asked:

  • electricity retailers, utility billing companies, and
  • landlords, property managers, caravan park owners or body corporates who on-supply electricity to households and small business tenants, to provide the rebate to all their customers on a specified date.

Applying the rebate on a specific date ensures a consistent approach for all Queensland households and small businesses, and reduces the chance of ‘lost’ or ’duplicate’ payments, for example as a result of account transfer between retailers, or customers moving address.

Why isn’t the household utility rebate being applied to my water bill?

To ensure the $200 rebate is paid to Queensland households as quickly as possible, the Queensland Government has decided that the simplest and most efficient process is to apply the utility rebate as a whole, to electricity bills. We already have established systems for providing government concessions and rebates through customers’ bills.

Will the utility bill relief credit impact my other concessions?

No. The utility bill relief credit will not affect customers’ eligibility for any other Queensland Government concession or rebate, such as the Queensland Government’s annual $341 Electricity Rebate.

Will customers using card operated electricity meters in remote communities receive the rebate?

Yes. The rebate will become available for transfer to these customers’ orange power card (linked card) from 7 April 2020. Similar to the Electricity Rebate, customers using card operated meters will be able to choose when the utility bill relief credit is to be transferred onto their linked card.

Where can I get more information on the utility rebates?

Please visit the Queensland Government website:

For households: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/financial-support-for-individuals

Business

What businesses will receive the rebate?

All businesses (small, medium and sole traders) who consume less than 100 MWh per annum, as defined by the National Energy Retail Law, will receive the rebate. For Ergon customers, the rebate was automatically applied on business customers’ electricity bills on
7 April 2020. To be eligible, the business must have had an active account on 7 April 2020.

For all other customers in Queensland, the rebate will be automatically applied on business customers’ electricity bills as at 30 April 2020.

Please note: some businesses are excluded from the rebate (e.g. banks, utilities, government-owned sites).

Does the utility bill relief credit include GST?

The credit is exempt from GST.

What if a customer is a sole trader and operating a business from home?

All residential customers (who are supplied on a residential tariff, such as Tariff 11) will automatically receive the $200 household rebate (this will include sole traders using a residential tariff).

A residential customer who operates as a sole trader at the same premise as their residential account may be eligible for a supplementary payment of $300, to a total relief payment of $500 per account.

If you have received the $200 Household payment and believe you are eligible as a sole trader to receive the supplementary payment, please complete our webform for your account to be reviewed.

What if a sole trader is operating a business from home and is on a residential tariff?

All residential customers, including sole traders, who are on a residential tariff should automatically receive the $200 household rebate.

What if I own a small business that has multiple sites. Will the rebate be applied to each site?

A small business customer who has multiple sites/premises and does not receive the rebate as an automatic credit on their bill should contact their retailer or embedded network operator to discuss their eligibility.

Please note: some small businesses are not billed directly by a retailer or embedded network operator (e.g. some franchisees), so they may not be identified to receive the rebate initially

Will customers with a consolidated account receive the utility bill relief credit?

Yes, some consolidated account customers will receive the credit. Consolidated account customer with less than 10 NMI’s will receive the $500 utility bill relief credit.

Where can I get more information on the utility rebates?

Please visit the Queensland Government website:

For small businesses: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/

Further information regarding the utility bill relief credit can be found at www.treasury.qld.gov.au

Embedded Network

I receive my electricity bill from a body corporate, site manager or a utility billing company. Will I still get the rebate?

Not all households or small businesses have an account with an electricity retailer. Sometimes, your landlord, property manager, park owner, body corporate or an entity contracted by these parties buys electricity in bulk and on-sells this to you based on how much you consume.

Residents in these types of arrangements are eligible for the $200 rebate, and small businesses are eligible for the $500 rebate. Your complex owner, manager or utility billing company should receive your utility rebate on their bill from May 2020 onward, and they will pass it onto your household as part of your next electricity bill. If you haven’t received this assistance by 31 July 2020, please contact your utility provider (body corporate, caravan park owner, utility billing company, etc.).

I own/operate an embedded electricity network. What do I need to do?

The Government is asking that all embedded network owners self-identify with their electricity retailer no later than 30 June 2020 and make the necessary billing system adjustments to ensure that their embedded network customers are provided with the relevant utility rebate.

To do this, you will need to notify us to advise the number of occupied households or small business tenants (as at 30 April 2020), within your premises. The relevant forms for this purpose (Form 511 for households and Form 514 for small businesses) can be downloaded from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors website:

https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/community/queensland-government-concessions/information-retailers-service-providers

Once complete, please email the completed form to:  BSR.Team@ergon.com.au

We will provide a bulk credit to you (i.e. $200 x number of occupied households or $500 x number of small business tenants) on your next bill.

You must then pass on these rebates onto your residents and/or small business tenants on their next bill. We understand that some embedded network owners engage a third party meter reading and billing service. Some of these billing agents have also been informed of this Queensland Government initiative and you may wish to contact your provider to ensure the necessary system adjustments have been put in place.

Please Note: Failure to pass on the $200 household rebate to residents is a breach of condition 13 of an Embedded Network Operator’s (exempt seller’s) retail exemption conditions with the Australian Energy Regulator. If an exempt seller fails to comply with a retail exemption condition, a penalty may be applied by the AER (under s112 of the National Energy Retail Law).

How will embedded network operators receive payment for providing the rebate to residents and small business tenants?

Embedded network operators are asked to notify their retailer no later than the 30 June 2020 of the number of eligible residences or small business tenants they expect to have in their embedded network as at 30 April 2020, using the relevant form - Form 511 (for residential) and Form 514 (for small business), see link below. Early lodgement will assist retailers to credit accounts in a timely manner.

Embedded network operators will receive a bulk payment from their retailer as a credit on their account, i.e. $200 x number of occupied households, and/or $500 x number of small business tenants. Embedded network operators must then provide the full $200 and/or $500 rebate to all eligible residents/tenants on their next electricity bill/invoice.

The department recognises that, in some cases, following the lodgement of claims by the embedded network operator to the retailer, there may a small number of changes in the number of active residential or small business accounts on 30 April 2020. Where this situation arises, embedded network operators are requested to notify their retailer and submit a reconciliation claim using the same Form 511 or Form 514 (see link below) .

Information provided on the reconciliation claim should identify only the reconciliation numbers, i.e. the number of residences or small business tenants for which a claim was initially made, but were actually unoccupied on 30 April 2020, or the number of residences or small business tenants not included in the initial claim, but were occupied on
30 April 2020. A statement should be included on the Form 511 or Form 514 clearly identifying that the claim is for additional rebates, or is for the return of excess rebates received. Retailers will need to critically assess information on any reconciliation claim, and apply relevant adjustments to the next bill.

Embedded network operators will need to use Form 516) (see link below) to claim for any additional $300 supplemental relief payments made to any residential customers within their embedded network who received $200 (because they are on a residential tariff) but identify as being a sole trader and therefore are eligible to receive the $500 small business rebate amount.

The relevant forms can be downloaded from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors web site: https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/community/queensland-government-concessions/information-retailers-service-providers

What if an embedded network operator submits an incomplete application form?

All required sections of the relevant forms need to be completed and signed by the respective owner/proprietor/manager of the embedded network. This includes ensuring the Proprietor’s Declaration is witnessed by another person.  (Note the witness does not need to be a Justice of the Peace).

If an incomplete form is submitted, we will request the respective embedded network owner/proprietor/manager to resubmit a completed form.

Additional information

Can I choose to have the rebate paid to me directly, rather than applied to my electricity bill?

No. The Queensland Government utility rebate is intended to assist customers with their utility (including electricity) costs, and will therefore be applied as a credit on the customer’s electricity bill.

Are there any types of businesses that are excluded from rebate?

Yes. The following types of businesses are NOT eligible for the $500 rebate, irrespective of their consumption level, as the nature of the business does not fit within the intent of the government’s relief package for small businesses:

  • banks and financial institutions (e.g. branches, ATMs);
  • utilities, including telcos (e.g. Telstra shops) and rail (e.g. train stations);
  • government-owned sites at federal, state and local level (e.g. Centrelink, council-owned libraries and pools); and
  • health funds (e.g. BUPA and Medibank stores).
  • churches
  • mines