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The $250 Power Saving Bonus

Launched by the State Government on 1 July 2022, the $250 Power Saving Bonus (known internally as PSB3) is a financial package designed to assist energy consumers in Victoria. 

The Power Saving Bonus program provides a one-off payment of $250 for Victorian Households to ease cost-of-living pressures and encourage Victorians to compare their household energy prices and save money. The $250 Power Saving Bonus is available to all Victorians households.

To be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, Victorian households will need to:

  • Have a recent residential electricity bill
  • Be the account holder for that bill

The $250 Bonus is available from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 and is limited to one payment per eligible household who visit the Victorian Energy Compare website or apply for the bonus with assistance from a communtiy outreach partner. 


About the Outreach Program

As of 1 July 2022, a formal outreach program is being performed by Neighbourhood Houses Victoria in partnership with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (GSANZ). The program aims to raise awareness about the $250 bonus and encourage community members to compare their household energy prices and, where possible, change to a better energy deal.

Neighbourhood Houses agreeing to participate in the outreach program are expected to:



Requirements and expectations for participating Neighbourhood Houses

  • Mandatory usage of the PSB3 Portal
    The use of the PSB3 Outreach Portal instead of the Victorian Energy Compare website is required by participating Neighbourhood Houses. To access the portal, please use this link. Can't remember your login details? No worries! Email [email protected] and we will get you sorted.

  • Communications and Awareness raising
    As part of the program, participating Neighbourhood Houses are expected to:


Who can apply for the bonus?

Before starting an application, always make sure the communitiy member is in fact eligible for the bonus

To be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, Victorian households will need to:

  • Have a recent residential electricity bill (all pages of the bill)
  • Be the account holder for that bill

The bonus is limited to one per household. If a community member attempts to apply twice, the PSB3 portal picks up on the dupilcate NMI in the system and below NMI alert shows:

If this alert shows, there are three common scenarios:

  • The community member has not previously applied for the bonus (nor anyone in their houshold).
    • In this case, the community member might have recently moved into an house where the past tenants/owners applied for the bonus. This explains why the system picks up on the same NMI being used twice. It is safe to submit an applicaion in this case, just be sure to upload a copy of the electricity bill as supporting documentation at the end of the applicaion process
  • The community member has previously applied for the bonus
    • If the applicant (or someone in their household) has already applied, do not submit a second applicaiton. If you do, it will automatically become a case and get rejected after manual investigation by the Vic Energy Compare team 
  • The community member cannot remember if an application has been made prior and/or cannot remember the outcome of a prior application
    • In this case, save time and resources by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] with the community member's full name and/or service address. The support team will get back to you with informaion about any preivous applicaion/applications within 1-2 business days. It is always better to follow up on an existing applicaion rather than submitting a new one that risks being rejected. 

Providing Energy Affordability (EA) support

As with the previous Power Saving Bonus (PSB2), providing EA support is a big focus area. Letting community members know about available concession schemes and energy grants, as well as energy providers' mandatory obligation to inform their consumers about the Best Offer deal, is expected by outreach partners. As of recently, providing EA support is a mandatory component of submitting a PSB3 application. 

To make it as easy as possible, we recommend watching this short video walking you through the Energy Affordability Support process.

As mentioned in the video, we recommend printing (we know, printing is bad!) and laminating one of each of below documents and attaching these to clipboards (or have accessible on a device). This saves you time since many community members will be able to read the information themselves. Simply showcasing these to the community member is enough to tick the left-hand side box (EA information and advice) as per example image.

Note, DELWP is currently working on developing the same documents in various languages. A soon as these become available, we will post them under Suporting documentation and useful links:

As discusses in the video, if you assist a member with changing to their energy provider's Best Offer Deal, make sure to tick the right-hand side box (EA Support/Advocacy) as per example image. This is because at the end of each month, you will be able to invoice NHVic an additional $40 for applicants you assist with making the change to the Best Offer Deal. It's also great if you can pop a comment in the EA comment box. Note, if you only provide information about the Best Offer Deal, tick the right-hand side box. Again, showcasing a laminated/digital version is enough, assuming the community member can interpret the information. 

Below are a summary of the key things to keep in mind when providing Energy Affordability support:

  • Only tick the box 'EA Direct Support/Advocacy' when youassist the community member with, for example, changing to the Best Offer or add concessions to their electricity bill. Providing direct support/advocacy usually includes making a phone call on behalf of the community member and can, due to current waiting times, take a while.
  • If you only provide informationabout, for example, the Best Offer notice or the Utility Relief Grant, tick 'EA Information & Advice' instead
  • You are only eligible to invoice NHVic an additional $40 for assisting community members with changing to theBest Offer dealwith their current provider. 
    • The reason the $40 only applies to the Best Offer deal only is because DELWP encourages energy consumers to get the best offer with their current energy providers. As discussed in the training, this is because applicants can lose protections under the Payment Difficulties Framework and Utility Relief Grants if they switch from a provider with whom they have energy debt with. This means you cannot invoice $40 for providing Direct Support/Advocacy under any of the following:
          • How to add or backdate concessions
          • Victorian Default Offer
          • Utility Relief Grant Scheme
          • Victorian Energy Compare
          • Payment Difficulties Framework
          • Centrepay
          • Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria or other dispute resolution support
          • Energy literacy advice including how to read energy bills
          • At-home energy cost savings information
        • Finally, always leave a comment with some info about the support you provided. It's a great way to keep track of things and provides DELWP with valuable and insightful data. 

         


        Process for reassessing rejected applications

        The most common reasons for why an application has been unsuccessful are:
        • The community member (or someone in their household) has already applied for the bonus
        • The NMI has been entered incorrectly (always double check and check again!)
        • The account name in the portal does not match the name on the bill (needs to be identical)
        • The electircity account shows up as a commercial and NOT a residential account 
        If the claim has been rejected although the communtiy member believes they are in fact eligible, please refer to below processes:
        • If the community member has been rejected on the basis of duplicate application but the community member nor anyone in their household has applied preivously, please check with the community member when they moved into the property. It may be the case that preivous tenents/owners applied using the same NMI. If this is the case, email [email protected] with a copy of the applicant's most recent energy bill and an ID
        • If the NMI has been entered incorreclty, please submit a new application with the correct NMI. Also email [email protected] with a brief explanation of what happened so we can cancel the invalid application
        • If the account name in the portal does not match the name on the bill (needs to be identical), please email [email protected] at earliest convenience with a copy of the applicant's most recent electiricty bill. In some cases, the error can be fixed up manually. However, sometimes it might be necessary to submit a new application
        • If the community member's electricity account shows up as commercial but it is in fact a residential account (this is common with farm-like properties), please let the applicant/applicants know they can, if they believe they are eligible, reapply for the bonus by following the steps below. To reassess their claim, applicants must provide: 
          • A copy of their most recent electricity bill. Please make sure they include all pages of the bill and that it clearly states both their service and postal address. This can be a PDF, a scanned copy or a photo. 
          • A copy of the account holder’s identity document - this can be a scan or photo of their driver’s license, concession card, etc. 
          • A signed copy of this declaration stating that they are a residential energy consumer (does not need to be witnessed by an authorized person) 
          • Please send this information through with the applicant details to [email protected] and their team will escalate it for review. If the applicant’s eligibility is confirmed, DELWP will create a manual application on their behalf. 

        Financial compensation

        Neighbourhood Houses who agree to participate will receive $400.00 + GST upon signing up. Please forward your invoice to [email protected] at earliest convenience once signed up to the program. 

        Each Neighbourhood House will receive $10.00 + GST for each household they assist submitting an application through the PSB3 portal.

        If you assists with changing to the best offer deal where possible, the Neighbourhood House is eligible to invoice an additional $40 + GST for that submission. Note, NHVic will email houses who assist with changing to the best offer deal and let them know how many applications to invoice for each month. 

        Neighbourhood Houses are only eligible to invoice for submissions that have been approved by the Victorian Energy Compare team and as such are guaranteed to meet the eligibility criteria for the $250 bonus.


        Tips and tricks for invoicing NHVic

        Invoicing $10 for each approved PSB application 

        Knowing which applications you can and cannot invoice for can be a bit tricky. So, to make things significantly easier for you, we have put together a short training video for how to access all your approved PSB applicaions and copy/paste the informaion onto an invoice at the end of each month.

        As mentioned in the video, it is important to keep a record of the PSB applications you have invoiced for. As such, we have created a user-friendly template for you to download and populate with informaion as needed. Remember, if a PSB reference in column A shows up as red, it is because the system has detected a duplication. If this happens, simply delete the claim that shows up as red since it has already been listed on a previous invoice. 

        Invoicing $40 for assisting community members with making the change to the Best Offer deal

        Each month, NHVic will reach out to everone who has assisted one or more community members with changing to the best offer deal. If you have assisted one or more community members with making the change, you will receive an email from NHVic with the number of $40 applications you can invoice for that month. The email will be sent to the primary contact nominated for the PSB3 progam. 

        When invoicing NHVic, remember to:

        • Invoice once at the end of each month
        • Only include approved ('paid') applications on your invoice 
        • Do not invoice twice for the same application
        • Include PSB reference numbers, milestone and date
        • Account for GST
        • Forward all invoices to [email protected] (invoices sent by post will not be paid)
        • Structure your invoice as per example

         


        Training videos and opportunities

        Recorded videos

        Hosted by NHVic (All sessions focus on application process, energy affordability, and reporting)

        Hosted by DELWP (all sessions focus on Energy Affordability in more depth) 

        Training materials


        Marketing materials

        NHVic has developed some new marketing materials for PSB3. Please cease using any old marketing materials (for the PSB2) to ensure we have a consistent brand for the new iteration of the PSB program going forward.

        The materials can be accessed throgh this Google Drive link.

        Click HERE to access the Xmas addition of the PSB comms.

        Included in the Google Drive folder is:

        • A3 poster (publisher) which allows you to insert your own logo – for printing and displaying, or for printing out as A4 flyers
        • Social media graphics (publisher) which allows you to insert your own logo and save as PNG files
        • Generic social media graphics
        • Generic banner for use in newsletters, websites etc
        • Facebook cover image
        • Website text
        • Social media text
        • Information sheet to print out (ideal for letter box drops)

        Not included in the Google Drive folder:

        If you have any troubles with the marketing materials or questions about communicating the PSB3 to your community, please email [email protected]


        Supporting documentation and useful links

        PSB3 portal

        Energy Affordability (EA) Support


        Translated documents 

        Terms & Conditions 

        Energy Affordability 


        The stories and the impact

        We want to share as many stories as possible that highlight the important impact the $250 Power Saving Bonus is having on the lives of eligible Victorian households, and that highlight the benefit of neighbourhood houses in supporting access to this initiative. 

        If you have a story you wish to share with us, DELWP, and the broader sector, please fill in this short form and, if possible, provide a photo to go with your story. 


        Feedback

        Your feedback is super valuable to us and will be shared with DELWP to inform any future program changes and decisions. To leave feedback, plese complete this quick survey. The survey can be done anonymously. 


        Sign up 

        To become an Outreach Provider, please fill in this online form.