Support is available for residential and small businesses consumers 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 consumers have been extended to 31 October 2020.
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 consumers in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement. This may include agreeing a period in which no payment will be made
- before 31 October 2020, not disconnect residential and small and large businesses consumers in financial stress who have made contact with them, or who are accessing retailer support
- immediately make arrangements to reconnect disconnected consumers if they are contacted by the consumer, and waive any associated connection and disconnection fees
- be flexible and guided by consumers on their capacity to pay when establishing payment plans
- defer referrals of consumers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions, or credit default listing until at least 31 October 2020, and potentially beyond.
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.