Paying bills

The first step in balancing your budget is to look at all your debts and expenses, and explore ways to reduce them. It can feel overwhelming to face a pile of bills, but if you are having trouble paying, several options are available.

         – George

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Utility bills

If you are finding it difficult to cover the cost of your utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, phone or internet, the following options may help.

Learn how to:

Apply for hardship programs

Most utility providers are required by law to offer flexible payment options to customers who are having trouble paying their bills. Check whether your utility companies have hardship programs.

How a hardship program works will vary according to the individual service provider. They may consider setting up a payment plan that will allow you to pay later (deferring the payment) or to pay several smaller amounts over a period of time (paying by instalments). The details are usually available on the company’s website, or you can call them and ask for a copy of their hardship policy to be sent to you.

Once you register with a hardship program and are actively participating (e.g. by paying something off your bill), your supply cannot be disconnected.

→ To find out more about registering with a hardship program, contact your service provider.

Check if you can get a rebate or concession

Rebates and concessions can reduce the amount you owe on your utility bills. They are usually available to customers on low incomes, people receiving certain Centrelink payments, and some concession card holders. Special rebates may be available to customers who are medically unable to regulate their body temperature, or who need to use certain essential medical equipment (such as an oxygen concentrator) at home.

→ Contact your provider to apply for a rebate or concession on your electricity, gas or water bill.

Ask about payment vouchers and grants

In most states and territories, customers in financial hardship can receive payment assistance vouchers or grants to put towards their utility bills. These may be distributed through community welfare agencies such as the Salvation Army, or directly by the relevant state or territory government department.

→ Get in touch with a participating community organisation or the relevant government department – for contact details, see the list of rebates and vouchers at moneysmart.gov.au (type “utility bills” into the search bar).

Register for an energy efficiency program

You can reduce your power and water bills by changing how and when you use energy. Some states and territories offer free energy and water efficiency assessments to help customers find ways to reduce their usage. They may also offer assistance with energy-saving or water-saving repairs and alterations, such as a reduced fee for a plumber to fix your leaking taps.

→ Visit yourenergysavings.gov.au for energy-saving tips and to find assistance in your state or territory. You can also download the Light Bulb Saver app from the App Store (Apple phone) or Google Play (Android phones) to help you calculate how much money you can save by using energy efficient alternatives.


Council rates

Many local councils have a rate assistance or rebate policy for people in financial hardship. You may be able to:

  • claim a concession rate – available to holders of a Centrelink Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
  • negotiate a payment plan – to pay your rates by instalments
  • write off interest charges on overdue rates
  • defer part or all of your rates and charges for a period of time.

→ Contact your local council to find out how they might be able to help you manage payment of your rates. Most councils will ask you to put your request in writing. It may be tempting to ignore your council rates, but if you do not pay them on time, the council is entitled to charge you interest on the amount you owe.


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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in October 2018
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