Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS)

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Please note: QCOSS does not process Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS) applications. You will need to contact your energy retailer to complete your application.

 

The Queensland Government recently announced changes to the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS). These changes are consistent with the extension of the electricity rebate to low-income households, and are in line with recommendations from the Queensland Productivity Commission Electricity Pricing Inquiry.

HEEAS assists households to meet their energy payments when they are going through a financial emergency. Following consultation with QCOSS and the community sector, and retailers, through the Australian Energy Council (AEC), the HEEAS grant process has been streamlined. This update removes red tape by simplifying program administration and application processes, with the aim of removing barriers to application for vulnerable customers.

One of the major changes to the Scheme is that the HEEAS application form will now be made available to customers through community non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and financial counselling organisations. This will improve the Scheme’s efficiency as it will enable customers to complete the application form with an NGO representative in one sitting.

The current process of retailers providing forms to eligible customers concurrently remains in place. You can download the new HEEAS application form in ePDF format. You will need to contact the relevant energy retailer to complete the form. Do not return completed application forms to QCOSS as we cannot process applications.

Where a HEEAS form is provided to a customer by their financial counsellor or NGO, retailers must still be contacted by either the customer or their representative to receive an application number and due date information for the form. For more detail, please see the HEEAS application process flowchart.

Other improvements that have been made to the Scheme are:

  • The HEEAS application form has been simplified and shortened.
  • Customers can now submit application forms either via the post, or an electronic ePDF form sent online via email. The attached form is an ePDF form which can be completed on a computer or printed and filled out in hardcopy.
  • The length of time customers have from the date of issue of the application form to submit it to Smart Service Queensland (SSQ) has been extended from 14 to 21 days.
  • The application triggers for HEEAS have been streamlined, only two now apply. If a customer is eligible to apply to the scheme for assistance, they must be able to demonstrate that either of the following has occurred in the last 12 months:

a substantial decrease in household income that means the customer is unable to pay their energy bill, or
a high unavoidable and/or unexpected expense that means the customer is unable to pay their energy bill.

  • Accrued debt, closed energy accounts and bond payments are now included in expense assessments. An energy bill does not need to be in an applicant’s name for them to receive assistance, providing flexibility for family breakdown/domestic violence situations.
  • The frequency of a customer’s ability to receive HEEAS has been changed; a customer is only eligible for a HEEAS grant once in every two years instead of the current frequency of once in any 12-month period, for two consecutive years.
  • Ambiguity around the eligibility of on supply customers for the Scheme has been removed, with a new special case eligibility section clarifying that these customers are also eligible for HEEAS assistance and the applicable process.

For more information watch our webinar on energy concessions.

Download the HEEAS application form . You will need to contact the relevant energy retailer for processing, do not return the form to QCOSS as we cannot process HEEAS applications. For more information contact Concession Services on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) (local call charge) or (07) 3022 0801.

22 February 2017 | Focus area: , ,