In 2014, the AER undertook a targeted review of energy retailers’ customer hardship policies and practices. We undertook the review to better understand how retailers identify and assist customers experiencing difficulties paying their energy bills due to financial hardship and to share examples of good practice across industry.
This report summarises the findings of our review.
Under the Retail Law and Rules, energy retailers must develop, implement and maintain a customer hardship policy for their residential customers. The purpose of a hardship policy is to identify customers experiencing payment difficulties due to hardship and to assist those customers to better manage their energy bills on an ongoing basis. The Retail Law and Rules set out minimum requirements for a retailer’s hardship policy which must be approved by the AER. The review covered energy retailers with residential customers in states and territories where the Retail Law has commenced — New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.