Trouble paying your electricity, GAS and water bills?
We may be able to help you.
HUGS is a State Government scheme which provides financial assistance to help people with financial difficulties pay their water, gas and electricity bills so their supply is not cut off.
Can I get HUGS?
- You must be a residential customer.
- You must be assessed by the utility provider according to their hardship policy as possibly experiencing utility hardship.
- You must be unable to pay a current bill and be at risk of disconnection or restriction of supply or already be disconnected.
- You must be experiencing financial difficulties.
HUGS currently provides three types of grants for people in utility hardship. Normal grant, exceptional circumstances grant and additional grant which can be accessed within a 12 month period.
From 2 September 2013 the maximum grant limits are:
South of 26S – Geographical area South of Carnarvon
Normal grant = $515.00
Exceptional Circumstances grant = $822.00
Additional grant = $234.00
North of the 26S – Carnarvon and geographical area North of Carnarvon
Normal grant = $853.00
Exceptional Circumstances grant = $1,228.00
Additional grant = $390.00
Exceptional circumstances grants are defined as unforeseen crisis situations in which an individual or family has incurred or will have to incur an unexpected expense which will have severe impact on the individual or families social and emotional wellbeing. Exceptional circumstances includes those families and individuals experiencing domestic violence, mental health issues, marriage/relationship breakup causing significant decrease in family income or major unexpected expenses such as medical treatment or funeral costs.
In recognition of the need to assist those individuals and families in genuine financial hardship, applicants who have already been allocated the maximum normal grant limit and have demonstrated a genuine commitment to engage with financial counsellors but do not meet the criteria for exceptional circumstances of hardship within a 12 month period, are eligible to apply for an additional grant or further grants up to the values listed above. HUGS will pay up to 85% of the outstanding utility bill. The grant recipient is required to pay the remaining amount.
How do I apply?
You must first contact Synergy, Horizon Power, Alinta, Busselton Water, Water Corporation, Aqwest or WorleyParsons Asset Management to discuss payment of your bill; the telephone numbers of all HUGS participating utilities are provided below.
If the utility believes you are experiencing financial difficulties, they will ask you to go to see a HUGS Registered Financial Counselling Service for an assessment and HUGS application to be completed.
The Water Corporation, Synergy, Alinta Energy and Horizon Power can recommend an applicant for a normal HUGS grant in certain circumstances. This will expedite the HUGS payment for overdue accounts and provide a faster response for people experiencing financial hardship.
Applicants applying for a HUGS grant through this method will still be referred to a financial counselling service for further assistance and advice however attendance is not mandatory. Any additional grant applications will however require attendance at a registered financial counselling service provider.
HUGS and Financial Counselling
As well as helping people pay their electricity, gas and water bills, financial counselling services are also available, delivered by the community sector.
Services are free and act in the best interests of the client, free of any commercial benefit and conflict of interest.
The financial counsellors work with clients to resolve financial crises such as the risk of legal action, loss of essential services or repossession/eviction. Services offer information, conduct assessments and provide support and options to assist clients address identified problems and manage their financial situation more effectively. Find out more about financial counselling services here.
Department for Child Protection and Family Support
189 Royal Street
East Perth WA 6004
Telephone (08) 9222 2739 or (08) 9222 2657 or (08) 9222 2772
|| 13 13 53|
| Horizon Power
|| 1800 267 926|
| Water Corporation
|| 13 13 85|
|| 13 13 58|
| Busselton Water
|| (08) 9781 0500|
|| (08) 9780 9500|
| WorleyParsons Asset Management Pty Ltd
|| (08) 9072 1422|