The BULB  •  Issue #22  •  April 2022
Forward or Subscribe to this e-newsletter
View this email in your browser
The Bulb – The Bi-monthly Utilities Literacy Bulletin
The BULB aims to inform and inspire - a platform for ongoing education and support to community services workers, volunteers and the wider community. This publication is from ConnectEd - keeping people connected to energy, water and communications.
Content divider


Story Divider

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.

This workshop is available in your choice of online or face-to-face format.
Choose either option:


31 May and 7, 14, 21 and 28 June

1:00pm - 3:30pm
Register here

Day 1: Thursday 30 June 

9:30am - 4:30pm
Day 2: Thursday 7 July 
9:30am - 4:30pm
at UCWB, 77 Gibson Street, Bowden.
Register here

Introduction to Time-of-Use Tariffs


Increasingly, electricity bills will feature prices that vary according to the time of day that appliances are used.                                          

The electricity distributor, SA Power Networks, now charges retailers with a Time-of-Use (ToU) Tariff for all of their Smart Meter customers. Many retailers will pass that on to their customers; search results on feature lots of ToU offers.

So, what do electricity consumers need to know about Time-of-Use Tariffs to get the best results? Do you know how to talk with your clients about ToU?

Join ConnectEd for a discussion about how this works, who it affects, and what it means.


Thursday 19 May 
11:00am - 12:00 noon
Register here
Story Divider


 Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS)

The REPS is a South Australian Government energy productivity scheme that provides incentives (discounts or rebates) for South Australian households and businesses to save energy. The REPS follows on from the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES), and commenced on 1 January 2021.  


Who offers REPS?

Larger energy retailers are required by the SA Government to offer energy productivity activities, which are typically delivered to households and businesses through third-party providers that specialise in energy efficiency services. 

There are nine activity providers; the three larger REPS providers and their main services to residential households are listed below:
Heat PumpsLED LightingInsulation,
Showerheads,  Electric Vehicle Chargers
Home essentials, Ceiling insulation, Appliance rebate, Fridge recycling, Air-conditioning
Energy saving products, Hot water systems 
NB: REPS activities, rebates, and subsidies change from time to time and are not always available throughout a 12-month period. Always check with the relevant providers regarding current availability.
Free Home Energy Assessments, previously supplied by REES, are no longer supplied under REPS. You can apply for a ConnectEd Home Energy Assessment, or borrow a Home Energy Toolkit from your local library, community organisation and council - click here to find a lender near you! 
Story Divider

Reduce power bills with a hot water heat pump

exclusive to Uniting Communities Home Energy Services team

South Australian home owners who hold a Concession card and have an electric hot water service may be eligible for a free upgrade to a heat pump hot water system.

Hot water heat pumps collect renewable heat from the air, and concentrate it into the hot water storage tank. They can do this with just a couple of units of electricity - much more efficiently than a traditional resistive electric hot water system.

Uniting Communities (UC) Energy Services team is partnering with Ecovantage, a Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS) provider, to increase access to free or low cost items that households can access to improve their energy efficiency. An energy efficient heat pump hot water service is available through this scheme for no cost or low cost to eligible households. Where there is a cost to the homeowner, UC’s Financial Inclusion programs are able to cover this cost to provide the hot water service at no cost to the householder.

Participants receive:
  • a home energy assessment by a UC Energy Efficiency Advisor;
  • a thorough assessment of energy use and a discussion around ways of ensuring that they are comfortable in their home, whilst using the lowest amount of energy possible;
  • an Energy, Water and Cost of Living Concession status check;
  • access and referral to other supports;
  • assessment for suitability for the hot water upgrade.
Contact Uniting Communities on 08 8202 5128 or email for a free in-home energy assessment and we can work with you to access these items at no cost.
This offer ends on June 30 2022.

Story Divider

Creating stable energy futures

Exclusive to ConnectEd clients, thanks to SA Power Networks

Do you have a client or customer who needs an energy efficient appliance, debt reduction or other assistance to create a stable energy future for themselves and their household?

Clients 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 August 2022.

Application pathways

Home Energy Assessment

An energy assessment will educate you on what appliances and behaviours can reduce your energy consumption and bills. They will suggest the purchase of an appliance (if necessary) under this grant to help reduce energy consumption.

Book it in
Uniting Communities
Call 08 8202 5128
Download and send in a referral form.

Financial Counselling 

It is 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
Western Adelaide, inner N & S - UnitingCare Wesley Bowden 
Regional - Uniting Country SA
Adelaide metro (N, S), Fleurieu, KI, Barossa - Uniting Communities


Contact Alex on 0403 617 895 or email
Story Divider

Free Home Energy Assessments by telephone or video call

COVID-19 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.

Book it in

If you know someone who needs help to review their household energy usage, you can download the referral form from

Contact us on 08 8202 5128 or email
Story Divider

SA Power Networks - Regional engagement workshops 

A series of Regional Engagement Workshops across South Australia will be held to ensure SA Power Networks (SAPN) are discussing localised issues, future planning aspirations and hearing from a range of diverse voices. 

SAPN's four engagement themes will help guide and frame conversations:

  • Affordable and equitable energy supply
  • Customer experience, choice and empowerment
  • A reliable, resilient and safe electrical network
  • Enabling clean energy and unlocking future value for our state
Region Date Timing Venue
Riverland - Renmark May 4, 2022 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM Renmark Country Club
Adelaide CBD May 6, 2022 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM The Pavilion, Terrace Room
South East - Mount Gambier May 10, 2022 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM The Barn, Oaktree Room
Adelaide Hills - Mount Barker May 16, 2022 10 AM - 4 PM Auchendarroch House
Eyre Peninsula - Port Lincoln   May 25, 2022 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM Port Lincoln Hotel, Ballroom
Mid North - Whyalla May 30, 2022   9:30 AM - 3:30 PM   Westland Hotel, Boardroom

Participants are financially compensated. 
If you would like to attend any of the above engagement sessions, please contact Kylie Lush at
Story Divider

Water bill equity

Are you a tenant in a private rental?
Do you pay for water as part of your rent, but are unsure about your water bills or what you’re being charged?

Uniting Communities is pursuing a consumer advocacy project about the issues tenants face with the current approach to water billing in South Australia, where landlords receive water bills even though tenants are active consumers of the service.


If you’re a tenant and are interested to share your story, please fill out this 1-minute survey to help them better understand the issues.

The project will highlight key issues such as tenants’ access to hardship programs and potential solutions and fairer approaches to water billing for low to moderate income tenants in private rentals.
Story Divider

Heat your house for free

There are a number of ways you can warm your house for free

Find north & let the sun shine into your home

Using the Compass App on your phone or a real compass, find N. The sun will shine from E first thing in the morning, N throughout the day and W in the afternoon/evening.
The sun is also lower on the horizon in the winter months, allowing deeper penetration of those warm rays into your home. 

Open curtains and blinds during the day and move things blocking out light, such as external shading. If the sunlight warms a tiled or concrete floor, some heat will be stored and released later, warming your home into the evening

For more ideas, download the Winter Heating Guide.
Story Divider

Telstra targets scammers

In 2021 Telstra received more than 11,000 reports of malicious texts to Android devices compared to just 50 reports in 2020. This jump has led to the development of a new automatic scam filter for Telstra customers.

Telstra know it works - they trialled it on their 2,500-strong workforce over a three-month period. The filter blocked hundreds of scam messages per day and participants of the program saw a noticeable decline in scam SMS's received. 

You can read more about this scam filter here.
Scamwatch can teach you more about how to spot and protect yourself from scams.
Story Divider

Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Independent Review 

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has appointed Queen Margaret University from Edinburgh, Scotland to conduct its independent five-year review.

The public consultation phase of this is currently open. The questions focus on the Australian ‘Benchmarks for Industry Based Customer Dispute Resolution’ and for now, exclude the TIO’s complaint handling technology and its funding structure

To read more and access the consultation paper, click here. Submissions can be sent to by close of business 15 May 2022.
Story Divider

OUT AND ABOUT - Closing the Gap Day

Closing the Gap Day is a free, family-friendly event for people of all ages, hosted by Sonder.
ConnectEd will be a stall holder alongside UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB). 

Come and learn about concessions, how to sign up and getting a better deal on your power bills. 

Wednesday 18 May 2022
Jubilee Pavilion, Wayville Showgrounds

SA’s only event completely dedicated to supporting and improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Story Divider

Aboriginal households miss out on concessions

Many Aboriginal people are eligible for concessions and not getting the savings they deserve, so don’t miss out!

Do you have a Centrelink income, DVA payment or low-income health care card? Is your name on the electricity account at your house?

How to apply 

Online - SA government concessions 
Phone - call 1800 307 758 to get a form posted to you
Get help - from your service or support provider

You will need 

  • Centrelink Customer Reference number, or DVA file number
  • Banking details (BSB and Account Number)
  • Electricity bill
  • Emergency services levy assessment notice (for homeowners*)
* If you are a tenant, you just need the first three on this list. 
* If you own your home there is an additional Sewerage Concession and Emergency Services Levy rebate.
Story Divider

Utilities information sessions 


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

  • read utility bills and how to pay them
  • find the best energy plan
  • learn 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 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

Electricity prices have fallen - householders can stimulate competition between retailers and push the prices even lower by looking for a cheaper contract at the Australian Government's comparison site, Energy Made Easy.
How much can you save?
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
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
Contact icon
For more information or to give us your feedback
call 8245 7100 or email
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) · 77 Gibson Street · Bowden, SA 5007 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp