If you have a client who has had their gas heater shut off who is over 75 years old or has a serious health condition then it is possible to have the replacement of their heater prioritised.
Simply contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ Call Centre and ask them to escalate the replacement of a gas heater that has been shut off, giving your tenants age or their specific health condition as the reason. You should not require supporting evidence.
The Call Centre has hired more staff to cope with the increase in calls due to the heater recall and briefed them on the need to escalate heater replacements for these cohorts.
There are still limits to how fast the replacements can be installed, so although the escalation process will prioritise the replacement, it may not be immediate. This is due to safety requirements that limit the number of installations gas plumbers can perform in a day and, potentially, issues with accessing appropriate replacement heaters.
DHHS compensation for high electricity bills
DHHS sent out letters last week with details of the compensation available for public housing tenants facing high electricity bills due to the removal of their gas heaters. CHIA Vic has been advocating for a similar treatment for tenants in DHHS-owned properties although, at this stage, nothing has been confirmed.
Please circulate this information to your staff.