Priority Household Target
In general, low-income households spend a greater proportion of their budget on energy than wealthier households. The opportunity for low-income households to invest in energy efficiency measures is also reduced, which increases the impact for these households. They also have less money available to invest in energy efficient appliances.
To ensure that low-income households benefit from the scheme, Tier 1 retailers are obliged to deliver a proportion of their energy saving obligations from eligible activities in priority households. The priority household target was set at 20% from 2017 to 2019. This has been increased to 30% for 2020 to encourage retailers to provide more opportunity for low-income households to participate in the scheme.
This target is set in the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Priority Household Target) Determination 2019.
Priority Household criteria for individuals
An eligible priority household is defined as a residential premise where at least 1 person who lives there:
- is a recipient of an ACT Government energy concession
- holds a Commonwealth pensioner concession card or health care card
- holds a Department of Veterans Affairs pensioner concession card, TPI gold repatriation health care card, war widows repatriation health care card, or gold repatriation health care card
- holds a Commonwealth seniors health card
- holds a Commonwealth low income health care card
- receives a Commonwealth disability support pension
- is accessing an energy retailer’s hardship program
- is referred to a NERL retailer by one of the following organisations:
- ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)
- Care Inc. (Financial Counselling Service and the Consumer Law Centre of the ACT)
- St Vincent de Paul Society
- The Salvation Army
A referral could be an email to ActewAGL Retail at email@example.com stating:
“I (name, title and organisation) verify that (person’s name) is experiencing financial hardship and might benefit from exploring opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of their home through the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme”.
These definitions are set out in Section 44 (Priority household information) of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Record Keeping and Reporting) Code of Practice 2020.
Priority Household criteria for premises
Any of the following tenanted dwellings are also considered to be an eligible priority household:
- a public housing property managed by Housing ACT
- a property provided by a registered community housing provider
- a property used for providing accommodation or tenancy support by a registered provider of supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cwlth)
- a property used for providing residential care under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwlth) if both of the following apply:
- the residential care is provided by an approved provider under that Act
- the approved provider is a registered entity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cwlth)
These definitions are set out in Section 4 (Prescribed classes of people—Act, dict, def priority household, par (d)) of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Regulation 2017.