The Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS) have a program in place to replace Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage open-flue gas heaters.
All these heaters should have now been disconnected. If this has not occurred, contact DHHS on a 1800 148 426.
If your energy bills are direct-debited from your account, you should contact your energy supplier to advise them if your bills are too high and they can make different payment arrangements. The Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (1800 500 509) can help you deal with your energy supplier if there are any problems.
All affected residents should have been offered temporary heating (i.e. a portable oil column heater). DHHS will provide a rent reduction of $302 in a lump sum payment to help renters pay for the additional costs associated with the temporary heaters. The payments are planned for September and November.
If you pay your rent by Centrepay then DHHS will just deduct less money from your account for one or two payments to provide the rent reduction. You should check your rent statement.
If your overall energy costs are higher than the $302 or you incur additional costs (for example, using a laundromat to dry your clothes because you can’t dry them in front of the heater), you may be entitled to compensation. Contact your local DHHS office to discuss your claim. We recommend keeping records of the costs incurred, including copies of your receipts or bills from the same time period last year for comparison.
If you are not satisfied with how your claim is being handled by your local DHHS office, you can apply to VCAT for compensation within six years from the date the extra costs were incurred.
For more information see: Assistance for public housing tenants affected by interruption to gas heating service (DHHS website).