We approve customer hardship policies

Under the National Energy Retail Law, all energy retailers must have a customer hardship policy that supports residential customers experiencing payment difficulties.

The policy must also assist those customers to better manage their energy bills on an ongoing basis.

Residential customers should have access to support and options from their retailer to meet their payment obligations. Disconnection should only ever be a last resort option.

Our role is to approve an energy retailer’s customer hardship policy in line with our Customer hardship policy guideline.

Go to the Customer hardship policy guideline 

Policy requirements

Our guideline contains clear and specific guidance on what a retailer is required to do to comply with the retail law in this area. These requirements include

  • processes to identify or enable customers themselves to identify payment difficulties due to hardship
  • processes for an early response to customers in hardship
  • flexible energy bill payment options including payment plans and Centrepay
  • processes to notify customers of concession programs and financial counselling services
  • an outline of programs that the retailer may use to assist hardship customers
  • processes for the retailer to check if there is a better energy plan the retailer can offer the customer
  • assistance if necessary to help customers improve their energy efficiency.