AusNet extends Hardship Grants for communities impacted by February storms

15 May 2024

AusNet has extended the application deadline for financial hardship grants for Victorians impacted by the catastrophic storms which went thorough Victoria on Tuesday 13 and Thursday 22 February this year, which caused unprecedented damage to the energy network.

Following the storms AusNet announced the establishment of a $10 million Energy Resilience Community Fund. The Fund has subsequently been increased to $12 million. The Fund was created to support communities impacted by storms, with a focus in the short term on supporting local recovery efforts and in the longer term, helping communities become more energy resilient.

AusNet Chief Executive Officer, David Smales, said AusNet has been working closely with local government and the community to identify opportunities to strengthen infrastructure and help ensure they are better prepared to withstand future weather events.

The Community Fund has provided immediate support to individuals and small businesses most impacted by the storm-related power outages who were not eligible for other relief payments.

“The Fund has already provided more than half a million dollars in hardship grants to over one thousand residents and businesses most impacted by these storm events.”

“We know many of our customers are struggling with cost-of-living pressures, so we’ve extended the timeframe to apply for financial hardship grants until 30 June 2024, to give households and businesses more time to apply,” said Mr Smales.

AusNet is also in the process of establishing an Advisory Panel for the Community Fund, which will be chaired by former Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon. The Panel will help to guide the management of the Fund ahead of the first community grants round which we anticipate opening in July.

“The Community Fund has an important role to play investing in local resilience infrastructure to help communities better manage the challenges of severe storms, fires and flood, which often cause extended interruptions to local power supplies,” said Mr Dillon.

For more information on the hardship grants please go the Energy Resilience Community Fund.