Many people are feeling the anxiety of receiving their next winter energy bill. Paying for utilities has always been a large factor in costs associated with a household but the huge increases over recent years have made it a horror story for a lot more families across South Australia. There is only so much reduction you can do regarding heating and power consumption to keep your family out of the cold and many more families and individuals are facing greater hardship with the very real prospect of disconnection because they simply do not have the money to pay. Even those with some financial capacity and or budgeting strategies have not been able to plan for the latest shocking hike to kilowatt costs.
You may be able to access EEPS assistance if you are experiencing significant financial difficulties and have had your electricity disconnected or are at risk of disconnection. Payments of up to $400 for low-income households and applicants are available for an emergency electricity payment once every three years. Emergency Electricity Payment Sheme assistance is only accessible through the assistance of financial counsellors, who will assess your financial situation before lodging an application.
Our Financial Counsellors are currently dealing with an increased volume of EEPS assistance requests and preparing for more as the effects of the price rises expects to impact more widely on a greater number of South Australians. Financial Counselling is free, confidential and independent. The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit, community based service that is available to people in Australia experiencing financial difficulty. South Australians ringing the national helpline will be transferred to a financial counsellor who knows and lives in South Australia, and is as local to the caller as possible. If you require assistance from a financial counsellor please contact the National Debt Help Line 1800 007 007 (Mon to Thurs: 9.30am–8pm and Friday: 9.30am-4.30pm) or go to the Affordable SA App or visit the Affordable Living SA website to see more information and services available in South Australia that can be of assistance. For more information on how to apply for EEPS call the Concessions Hotline or visit the sa.gov.au website or follow the links below.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
An emu up a gum tree?!
It feels like the Christmas season starts earlier every year, with shops, online stores and businesses putting up decorations and holding promotions in the months leading up to Christmas day. But, did you know that the Christmas season and the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day itself?
The 12 days of Christmas is the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).
The 12 Days of Christmas song that most of us are familiar with comes from an English composer named Frederic Austin. In 1909, he set the melody and lyrics (including changing 'colly' to 'calling') and added as his own flourish, the drawn-out cadence of 'five go-old rings'. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children's book called 'Mirth With-out Mischief'.
Learn more about the history of the '12 days of Christmas' in this interesting article: https://www.vox.com/21796404/12-days-of-christmas-explained
Australian lyrics of the 12 Days of Christmas: https://www.thechristmastreefarm.com.au/australian-12-days-of-christmas-lyrics/
It’s Christmas Day – time to spend time with family and friends. To be honest, I’m not even sure why you are reading this? Go, get off your phone or computer and enjoy Christmas.
If you're alone this Christmas for any reason, take a moment to pick up a phone and connect with a friend or family member.
If you don't have access to a phone or wi-fi, all Telstra pay phones are free to use over Christmas till New Years Day: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-23/telstra-payphones-made-free-for-christmas/13009548 - This includes Telstra Air wi-fi access points.
Here's some tips from the ABC if you're in isolation or alone on Christmas Day: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/tips-for-spending-christmas-alone/100004504
Lifeline provides a 24/7 helpline for crisis support and suicide prevention on 13 11 14.
From all of us at Affordable SA, we wish you a safe and very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for 2021
Where does the time go? Only 7 Days until Christmas!
Time to pick-up last-minute gifts and prepare for celebrations with family and friends. There’s presents to wrap, food to make and lots and lots of little jobs that can make it a very busy time.
The tricky thing about the festive season is that life doesn’t stop. Your real estate agent will still direct debit your rental payment, your electricity company will still want your quarterly bill paid and your telco company will still demand your BPay payment on a set day of the month.
With the added expense of Christmas, the end of the year can put a lot of pressure on people’s financial situation and unfortunately here on the Affordable SA helpline we tend to see the aftermath at the start of the new year.
Being part of the billion-dollar Christmas debt hangover is no way to start the New Year. If you are struggling with your expenses call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to speak to a Financial Counsellor.
You can also find a range of programs that can help here:
Food for Christmas
Have you got enough food for you and your family this Christmas?
There's still time to access food pantries and emergency relief, but be quick as services may be closed, providing limited service or have different hours during the Christmas and New Year period.
A food pantry offers free or low cost food and groceries to the community. Find a local Food Pantry here:
You can find local, emergency relief here:
You can also call the Affordable SA helpline to be connected to services near you that can help. Call the helpline on 1800 025 539
A Christmas Together
It's also an important time to check in on people you know who may be experiencing loneliness or hardship.
Spare a thought for your elderly neighbour who lives alone, your friend who is experiencing financial hardship, your relative who is going through a separation or your co-worker who is struggling with depression.
If you know someone who finds this time of year especially difficult, consider reaching out to them to show that you are thinking of them.
If you or someone you know finds this time of year especially difficult, services such as Lifeline are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take your call on 13 11 14
Have a Merry Christmas South Australia
From everyone at Affordable SA, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021!
Christmas is meant to be a time of celebration and joy, but if times are tough it can be challenging and isolating.
If you are unsure if you have enough food for Christmas, or you don’t know how you will afford presents for your kids, please contact your local Salvation Army. COVID-19 and other challenging circumstances may have you facing unexpected financial difficulties. The Salvos are committed to giving you non-judgemental and confidential support to help you through this season.
Every year, local Salvation Army centers and churches give hope to individuals and families in need by providing food hampers and gift assistance. Christmas hampers are prepared with care using donated goods and shared with those in the community who have fallen on tough times and during the Christmas season.
Registrations for Christmas Cheer close soon!
Each Salvos Centre and Corp organises 'Christmas Cheer' slightly differently, but the overall practice is much the same. You contact your local Salvos to register for Christmas Cheer. You would normally then go to the Centre for a brief interview and fill out some forms. You will be given a timeslot to attend to collect the hamper/vouchers and toys.
This year things are being done differently due to COVID-19. Contact your local Salvos or the Salvos Assistance Line on 1300 371 288
More information is available on the Salvation Army website: https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/christmas/need-help-this-christmas/food-hamper-and-gift-assistance/