Page 17 - TP_Financial_Booklet_A5_V3

Basic HTML Version

15
7.9 Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme (HUGS)
The Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) is a Government hardship assistance
program that helps customers who are unable to pay for their utilities due to financial
hardship.
Under this scheme, customers can receive a grant for up to 85% of the amount that
the household owes to a utility. The grant is paid directly to the utility and is credited
on the customer’s account. Generally, HUGS pays up to a maximum of $450. If you
live in or north of Carnarvon, this can be up to $750.
7.9.1 Eligibility
To be eligible you must:
• Be unable to pay a current bill and be at risk of disconnection or already be
disconnected
• Be experiencing money problems
To be eligible for assistance under this scheme, a customer needs to:
• Contact their energy or water retailer (Synergy, Horizon Power, Alinta,Water
Corporation or BusseltonWater) and advise the retailer of payment difficulties;
• Be referred by their retailer to an independent financial counsellor for counselling
and assessment of hardship; and
• Be assessed by the independent financial counsellor as being in financial hardship
In conjunction with HUGS, the State Government aims to assist customers in utility
hardship to achieve ongoing energy reduction in their homes through the Hardship
Efficiency Program and its subprograms
To apply, you must first contact Synergy, Horizon Power, Alinta, BusseltonWater or the
Water Corporation to discuss your problem. If they believe you have money problems,
they will ask you to go to see a HUGS Registered Financial Counselling Service for an
assessment and application to be completed.
Link: http://www.energy.wa.gov.au/3/3268/64/hardship_utilities_grant_scheme.pm
7.9.2 HUGS and financial counselling
As well as helping people pay their electricity, gas and water bills, HUGS can also help
you get financial counselling. The financial counsellor you see to apply for HUGS can
help you sort out your financial problems both in the short and long term. Financial
Counsellors can assist you through developing sustainable budgeting plans and assist
with developing financial management skills to allow you to take control of your
financial situation. They can also work with you to review your financial position and
spending habits to offer options that may assist you take back control of your financial
affairs.