What happens if I don’t pay my bill?
Speak to your retailer if you are having trouble paying your bill as they can offer you flexible payment arrangements and other help.
You may be charged a fee if you pay your bill late or to reconnect your service if you are disconnected. By speaking to your retailer early to agree to an alternative payment arrangement, you can avoid being disconnected or charged a late payment fee.
Under the National Energy Retail Law retailers must follow a number of steps before they can disconnect your service:
- Your retailer must send you a bill setting out the amount you owe, when you must pay this amount by and how you can pay it.
- If you don’t pay in full by the due date, your retailer will send you a reminder notice. Your retailer will also send you a reminder notice if you have agreed to a payment plan (where you pay for your energy by instalments) and have not made your payments as agreed.
- If you then don’t pay within the given time period stated on the reminder notice, your retailer will send you a disconnection warning notice.
- Once your retailer has sent you a disconnection warning notice, your retailer must also attempt to contact you, as a final step, if you still haven't paid or contacted them to discuss payment of your debt.
If you receive a disconnection warning notice and pay by the date on the notice, you will not be disconnected. If you cannot pay the amount you owe in full, it is important that you contact your retailer to discuss payment options with them.
If you think you have been wrongfully disconnected tell your retailer. If your retailer doesn’t agree, you can contact the energy ombudsman in your state or territory. The Ombudsman can assist you to resolve your complaint with your retailer or distributor when you have not been able to resolve it with them directly.
If your retailer disconnected your energy service and you want it to be reconnected, you must contact your retailer within 10 business days of the disconnection.
If you were disconnected because you did not pay your bill, you must make arrangements to pay the outstanding amount and any fee charged for reconnecting your service. If you are unable to pay the full amount owing, talk to your retailer about paying by instalments (using a payment plan) and the other assistance available to you. Retailers are required by law to assist customers experiencing trouble paying their energy bills. Each retailer has an approved customer hardship policy setting out the help available. Refer to the Problems paying? section of this website for more information.
Further information on your disconnection and reconnection rights and responsibilities is available in our factsheet:
Shortened collection cycles
Under the National Energy Retail Law, if you receive a reminder or disconnection warning notice from your retailer for two consecutive bills, your retailer may place you on a shortened collection cycle. Your retailer must tell you before you receive the second notice, that this would result in you being placed on a shortened collection cycle.
When you are on a shortened collection cycle, you will not receive reminder notices when you don’t pay your bill on time. Instead, you will receive a disconnection warning notice. If you don’t pay your bill by the date on the disconnection warning notice, or contact your retailer to make arrangements to pay your bill, you may be disconnected.
If your retailer puts you on a shortened collection cycle, they must tell you this. To be removed from the shortened collection cycle, you will have to pay 3 bills in a row by the pay-by date.
If you are experiencing payment difficulties or are having trouble paying your energy bills, tell your retailer. In these instances, your retailer cannot put you on a shortened collection cycle.