MANY low-income residents in Blacktown are relieved to have escaped bankruptcy caused by rising power bills.
They were helped by community service group Bridging the Gap, which is partly funded by energy provider AGL through the federal government’s Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS).
Minister for Community Services Julie Collins and Greenway federal MP Michelle Rowland discovered this when they met several residents, including Dawn Wells and Lorraine West at the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre last week.
The two residents said trained advisers sat down and talked to them about how to make little changes to save money.
Maggie Adair from Bridging the Gap said its staff looked at how low-income earners used their home energy and worked out strategies to help them manage their electricity bills.
Ms Collins said Bridging the Gap was one of 16 organisations across Australia benefiting from a $2.1 million investment in HESS services by AGL.
‘‘The government’s $50 million investment in HESS will see around 100,000 low-income Australians assisted to reduce their energy costs,’’ she said.
Ms Rowland said electricity and gas costs formed a large part of household bills, and a plan to save energy around their home and manage their money would help them feel more secure.
People who have trouble managing their energy needs and bills and are at risk of having their power disconnected, or who are on an energy retailer’s hardship scheme can call the HESS Freecall Helpline on 1800 007 001 to find out how HESS can help.