Boost for energy saver scheme for vulnerable Australians

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, has today welcomed a $2.1 million investment by energy provider AGL in the Australian Government's Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS).

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, has today welcomed a $2.1 million investment by energy provider AGL in the Australian Government's Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS).

Minister Collins made the announcement during a visit to Connections UnitingCare, in Dandenong with Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus and Member for Bruce, Alan Griffin.

"The Australian Government has invested more than $50 million under the HESS scheme to help more than 100,000 low-income Australians reduce their energy costs," Ms Collins said.

"This new funding from AGL will allow HESS service providers to offer even more support to vulnerable Australians.

"The $2.1 million will be shared by organisations in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

"HESS is providing practical help on how to become more energy efficient and reduce power bills.

"This assistance can include one-on-one budgeting assistance, help to access no interest loans or low-interest loans to buy energy efficient appliances and advice onĀ  eligibility for rebates and other assistance," Ms Collins said.

Mr Dreyfus said HESS is part of the Australian Government's plan for a Clean Energy Future.

"The scheme adds to the Gillard Government's range of measures and payments to help families with their energy bills now and into the future," Mr Dreyfus said.

"Trained staff visit individual households and work one-on-one with people to advise on the best ways to cut energy bills, improve energy efficiency and to assist with the purchase of more efficient white goods."

The scheme is delivered through not-for-profit organisations that already provide general financial counselling services, with national coordination by Kildonan UnitingCare in Victoria.

"Just by making small changes around the house, like turning off the lights or getting the most energy efficient washing machine you can afford, people can save some money on their energy bills," Mr Griffin said.

"The trained advisers sit down and talk to people about how to make all the little changes that add up to extra money in their pockets."