Members Statement - Energy Compare

Extracted from Hansard
04 September 2018

Members statement Statement – Energy Compare

Over the past few weeks I have been contacted by several pensioners who want to take advantage of the Victorian government’s $50 power saving bonus payment but do not have access to a computer or have any computer skills. Many of the constituents who have contacted me have been advised to use the public library or to ask a family member or a friend to assist. The issue here is that the public library is able to provide a computer but is not able to assist to the extent needed to fill out the information online. Even if my constituents could figure it out, many of them do not have an email address, which is required to fill out the form, or have no knowledge or desire to set up an email account. One constituent, who does have computer skills, said the process was incredibly difficult and no matter what she did, she would reach a point during the process and was not able to proceed any further. A 30-year-old constituent, who is very computer literate, also has reported this to me. It seems there are several obstacles to accessing this bonus and the mechanism of comparing energy prices, which the government says will help save money on the ever-increasing energy bills. But how will people be able to save if they do not have access? Wouldn’t the government be better off helping people by just bringing down the power cost? Many of my constituents say they feel discriminated against because of a lack of access to technology and lack of knowledge. They have asked that I make the minister aware that there is a group of people in the community who want to access this program but cannot —