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The BULB  •  Issue #23  •  July 2022
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This publication is from ConnectEd.org.au
The BULB aims to inform and inspire. It is a platform for ongoing education and support to community services workers, volunteers and the wider community.
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IN THIS ISSUE:

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ConnectEd, and partners Uniting Communities, Uniting Country SA and UnitingCare Wesley Bowden, are all now organisational supporters of the Healthy Homes for Renters campaign.

Healthy Homes is a campaign for renters calling for every state and territory government to commit to implement minimum energy efficiency requirements for rental properties, based on the forthcoming national framework, by the end of 2025.


You can get involved too

Everyone can brush up on the simple things that can be done with and for renters who want to be more comfortable, and ultimately safer, in their home.
Read the Energy efficiency guide for people who rent, from Better Renting.
Your organisation can
As an individual, you can
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Utilities training for community workers

 

Do you have clients who struggle with electricity, gas or water bills? Would you like to help them more, but don’t know how? This workshop will provide some answers!                                             

ConnectEd's Utilities literacy training for community workers will teach you about:
- Electricity, gas and water in South Australia
- Reading and understanding meters and bills
- Using energy and water efficiently at home
- How to choose an energy retailer and get a good deal
- Concessions, complaints, disputes and hardship
- New technologies and tariff reform.

ONLINE in August
Delivered on Microsoft Teams

Wednesdays
3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 August
9.30am-12noon
Register here
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Online training

Bite-sized topics for busy people
Join a ConnectEd professional to learn about the issues and opportunities for consumers of utilities in SA!
All session are held live on Microsoft Teams and will be recorded.

Home energy audits

What are they? How are they helpful? How to refer your client for a FREE home energy audit. 

Tuesday 23 August
2-3pm
Register here
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OUT AND ABOUT                 

ConnectEd and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Being Digital program
Q. What do digital literacy and utility literacy have in common?
A. Learning about how to get a good energy deal and save money - online!

Join us at Port Library, 2pm on July 18 for this free 1 hour event.
Learn about your energy bill (bring a paper copy or email), check to see if you are getting the best deal, apply for energy concessions and tips to lower your bill.
Register here
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SPOTLIGHT -  SMART METERS 

And Time-of-Use tariffs (TOU)

Just when we thought the energy sector couldn't be more confusing - let us introduce you to smart meters and Time-of-Use (ToU) tariffs. 

Currently, most households are on what’s called a flat tariff for general electricity use (lights and appliances plugged into the house). They are charged one price to buy energy from the grid (cents per kWh). Homes with electric storage hot water systems over 125L may also be on a controlled load tariff, a cheaper rate to heat water overnight.

This will likely change, and over coming months and years as smart meters are installed, most South Australian homes will be put on a Time-of-Use (ToU) tariff.

The impact

This change will take time to both implement and for customers to understand. 

Some households will benefit from lower pricing during the 10am-3pm shoulder hours (as seen below). Some homes, especially those working during the day away from home will find it harder to use less energy during peak pricing times. 

This visual explainer shows the parts of a 24 hour period that are likely to be the cheapest to most expensive under a ToU tariff.

The cheapest electricity will be while the sun is shining. This is because there is so much rooftop solar in SA, and this 'free' electricity is being fed into the power grid. 

Read more on our website
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New energy website 

A refreshed customer-focused look for the Department of Energy and Mining (DEM)
With customers in mind, the DEM website is easier to use;
  • better navigation in the top menu that organises information by customer groups;
  • a quick links section enabling customers to quickly locate forms, funding applications, policies and guidelines, related websites and interactive apps; and,
  • improved search-ability, so you can punch in key words to source relevant content across the site.
The consumer section is the most relevant to our readership - and from this landing page you can find links to information that will benefit people in their homes. 
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Creating stable energy futures

Exclusive to ConnectEd clients, thanks to SA Power Networks


Do you have a client who needs an energy efficient appliance, debt reduction or other assistance to create a stable energy future?


They may be eligible for $650 in assistance. 
ConnectEd has secured grant funding from SA Power Networks to support low income and financially vulnerable clients to reduce their energy consumption and create sustainable habits into the future. The grant trial runs until December 2022.


Application pathways

Home energy audit 

An energy audit will educate clients about the appliances and behaviours to reduce energy consumption and bills. They may suggest the purchase of an appliance (if necessary) under this grant to help reduce energy consumption.

Book it in
Uniting Communities
08 8202 5128
connected@unitingcommunities.org
Download and send in a referral form.

Financial counselling 

A free, independent and confidential service available through community organisations and community legal centres. They can talk to creditors on your behalf and help negotiate affordable payment plans. 

Book it in (ConnectEd FC's)
Western Adelaide, inner N & S - UnitingCare Wesley Bowden 
Regional - Uniting Country SA
Adelaide metro (N, S), Fleurieu, KI, Barossa - Uniting Communities

Questions?

Contact Alex on 0403 617 895 or email connected@ucwb.org.au. 
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FREE Home energy audits 

by telephone or video call


COVID-19, the rising cost of living and energy price increases has made life harder for many, and with incomes reduced and more time at home, energy bills have loomed large. Do you know someone who needs to know how to cut their costs?


ConnectEd's experienced energy assessors carry out home energy audits and provide personalised advice on how to cut energy costs. This service is available over the phone, with a COVID-safe face-to-face follow-up in the home when needed.

Learn more about home energy audits

Book it in

Download and submit the referral form at ConnectEd.org.au.

Contact us on 08 8202 5128 or email connected@unitingcommunities.org.
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Telcos must block scammers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has registered new rules for telecommunication companies to identify, trace and block SMS scams. 

The Reducing Scam Calls and Scam Short Messages industry code was developed in close consultation with industry peak body Communications Alliance. It comes as a response to evidence that SMS scams are increasing in prevalence and impact.

Telcos face a penalty of up to $250,000 for breaching ACMA directions to comply with the new code.

Phone and SMS contact

Scams have severe social and financial impacts on users of telecoms in Australia. Vulnerable consumers are at the highest risk of being defrauded.

According the ACCC's Scamwatch website, financial losses from SMS scams this year to date (July 2022) increased by 188 per cent compared to the same period in 2021. SMS scams made up 32 per cent of all reported scams to date this year, jumping over 11 per cent from 2021 figures (below).

In 2021 a combined 83 per cent of reported scams came through phone calls and SMS. 
ACCC Targeting scams

The Little Black Book of Scams

is recognised internationally as an important tool for consumers and small businesses to learn about scams including:
  • the most common scams to watch out for
  • the different ways scammers can contact you
  • the tools scammers use to trick you
  • the warning signs
  • how to protect yourself, and
  • where you can find help.
Available here to listen, and read in a range of languages.
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Household concessions

The once-off doubling of cost of living concessions by the SA Labor Government was met with applause from the social service sector last month.

For the 2022/23 financial year household concession payments will be:

Doubled
To claim the doubled cost of living concession for this financial year, you must apply between now (July 1) and December 31.
No change to other concessions 
Energy bill concession: $241.63
Water and sewage rate concession: $134.70-$331.10, $123.50
Emergency services levy: $46

Concession amounts have increased slightly with inflation from 2021/22
Eligibility varies for concessions listed above

How to apply

These four concessions can be applied for in one easy online application.
Apply for SA household concessions
Before you begin the application, you will be asked for:
  • your Centrelink CRN or DVA file number; 
  • banking details;
  • information about your most recent energy and SA Water bills, and council rates notice (as relevant).
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Community information sessions 

 

Book in ConnectEd to visit your community, staff or volunteer group and learn how to: 

  • how to read and pay utility bills
  • find the best energy plan
  • find where your big energy use is
  • discuss lower cost alternatives
  • ask any questions or share your tips.

To get the most out of this time, bring your most recent utility bills with you.

Sessions are available either face-to-face or online, and can go for 1-2 hours or longer. 


Book it in

Send an email to connected@ucwb.org.au with a location and some suggested times/dates.

If you're looking for a comprehensive training package for your staff, consider our two-day face to face or five part-day training sessions. 

"The talk is very interesting, very interactive - have learnt a lot"
Participant from Winter Warmer session at UCWB, June 2022 
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/ConnectEdSouthAustralia

Its all about saving money, getting the best deal, information and advice on utilities in your home. 

 

Its more exciting than it sounds!

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The ConnectEd Program supports people to reduce financial hardship associated with electricity, gas, water and communication services.

 

4 ways to manage your energy and water bills

Make sure your energy deal is right for you
Find out if you are eligible for a concession
Be mindful of your consumption – save on energy and water use
Know how to get help if you need it
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The BULB is brought to you by the ConnectEd team at UCWB.
ConnectEd is funded by the Department of Human Services.

Subscribe to the BULB

For more information or to give us your feedback
call 8245 7100 or email ConnectEd@ucwb.org.au.
ConnectEd.org.au
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