Details released for $500 electricity grants

Small businesses and charities whose electricity bills are paid by lessors can from next month apply for the $500 electricity credit offered in response to February’s five-day COVID-19 lockdown. 

Details of the application process were released by the State Government today (May 3), providing much-needed certainty for businesses seeking to access the compensation. 

Under the scheme, each commercial premises can receive one $500 credit if: 

  • the business or charity incurred electricity costs at February 2, 2021; 
  • the property is used for commercial purposes or mixed use (not including solely residential properties); 
  • electricity consumption at the premises is less than 50MW/h per year or electricity bills total up to $15,000 per annum; and
  • you are the owner-occupier, or a tenant at the premises who pays the electricity costs. 

CCIWA estimates businesses lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the lockdown between January 31 and February 5. 

While a $500 electricity offset announced at the time has since been paid to all eligible customers billed directly by Synergy and Horizon Power, a process had yet to be announced for all other businesses. 

The latest information, published by the Department of Finance today, said premises on an embedded network, sub-meter and/or supplied by an alternate energy supplier, such as Perth Energy or Alinta Energy, may also be eligible. 

Other similar arrangements where electricity costs are recouped by a third party, including for shopping centres, warehouses and factories, will be considered by the Commissioner. 

“If you are a tenant who pays the electricity costs, and the credit has already been applied to the landlord’s Synergy or Horizon Power account for that premises, you should liaise with your landlord about passing on the credit in your billing arrangement,” it said. 

For more information see the fact sheet here. 

Applications for the $500 credit for small businesses and charities will be open from late June via a dedicated Online Services Portal and will close September 30. 

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell said: “We welcome confirmation that small businesses paying for electricity via a third party will be able to access the $500 credit and urge the Government to process their applications quickly.” 

“WA businesses are now also dealing with the financial impact of the latest COVID lockdown and restrictions and it’s disappointing they have yet to be compensated for February’s lockdown,” he added. 

CCIWA has called on the State Government to make payments of up to $5,000 to businesses affected by the April/May lockdown and post-lockdown restrictions after a survey found the cost to businesses was around $170 million. 

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