Support is available for residential and small businesses customers experiencing financial stress as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, in line with the AER’s Statement of Expectations of energy businesses: Protecting customers and the energy market during COVID-19. Call your retailer and ask about the support available to you.
In recognition of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the community, the AER’s expectations of support for customers have been extended to 31 March 2021.
If you are worried about paying your bill, reach out to your retailer about your energy debt. They will work with you to make sure you stay connected.
AER’s expectations of energy retailers
Some of the AER’s expectations of energy retailers are that they should:
- Offer all residential and small business customers in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement. These payment plans or arrangements may include agreeing a period in which no payment will be made.
- Help customers with payment plans and hardship arrangements by taking into account their capacity to pay, and making sure they are on the tariff most likely to minimise their energy costs.
- Consider actions that will minimise customer debt such as re-calculating debt obligations using a lower cost plan if available.
- Not disconnect residential customers in financial stress who are in contact in relation to their debt and small businesses who are adhering to a payment plan.
- Immediately make arrangements to reconnect disconnected customers if they are contacted by the customer, and waive any associated disconnection and reconnection fees
- Defer referrals of residential customers in financial stress who are in contact regarding their debt and small businesses who are adhering to a payment plan to debt collection agencies for recovery actions, or credit default listing.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, call your energy provider for help as soon as possible. They can offer a range of assistance, including payment extensions, payment plans, hardship programs, and information about concessions, rebates and other support.
State and Territory support
Other assistance in response to COVID-19 may vary by state. For state-specific information, visit the relevant Energy Ombudsman schemes and state government COVID-19 support pages in your state/territory:
ACT Government COVID-19 economic survival package for families and households
Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW COVID-19 consumer support and the State government financial support for households and individuals
Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland COVID-19 consumer support and the State government household utility assistance package
- South Australia
Energy and Water Ombudsman SA COVID-19 support
Energy Ombudsman Tasmania COVID-19 consumer support and measures
If you’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19, you may also now be eligible for a rebate or concession.