Financial hardship grants available for AusNet customers

13 March 2024

AusNet has announced it will provide hardship grants for eligible AusNet residential and business customers who were without power as a result of severe weather events on Tuesday 13 February and Thursday 22 February 2024, as part of its Energy Resilience Community Fund.

Grants of $300 are being made available to cover losses that households experienced when refrigerated goods became spoiled due to power outages caused by the storms. No proof of loss is required. Grants are available to households who were without power for more than 72 hours but are not eligible for a Prolonged Power Outage Payment (PPOP) because their power was restored within a week. Proof of financial hardship can be verified simply with a healthcare or pension card.

Businesses grants of up to $5000 are available to those small business who can provide proof of specific loss. If businesses have received a PPOP, then they are eligible for the difference between the PPOP and the amount of loss incurred, up to the maximum grant amount (typically around $2,000).

AusNet CEO, David Smales, said he has been struck by the strength of the community during the biggest storms ever experienced across the network last month.

“I know that recovery is still very challenging for some and with the cost of living being as it is, we wanted to do more to help people get back on their feet,” said Mr Smales.

AusNet’s $10 million Energy Resilience Fund has already commenced the distribution of funds, with some of the first beneficiaries including the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and food security charity Sale Food Support Inc.

AusNet has donated $100,000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), which has been supporting the region after natural disasters for more than four decades.

AusNet will also provide funding for the purchase of a refrigerated food transport van to help Sale Food Support Inc supply fresh food to more Wellington Shire families and individuals in need. This will allow the safe transport of perishable food such as meat and dairy products to families in Sale and surrounding areas.

AusNet is also continuing to develop other elements of its Energy Resilience Community Fund, with further work underway to identify community infrastructure and resilience projects, and small business resilience projects. Further information on the application process for resilience projects will be available in April and local government and community groups can register their interest by emailing

“We are committed to helping communities get back on their feet in the short term, but we also recognise the importance of working with local governments and their communities to strengthen community infrastructure and businesses and help ensure they are better prepared to withstand future weather events,” Mr Smales, said.

Financial hardship grants will be open until 30 April 2024. Further information, including detailed eligibility criteria and how to apply, is available on the Energy Resilience Community Fund page on AusNet’s website. Eligible customers will also be directly sent an SMS over the coming days to alert them to availability of the grants.