EnergyAustralia: obligation to implement hardship policy and offer and apply payment plans

Instituted civil proceedings
Release date: 
21 November 2019
Related provisions: 

Sections 43(2)(c), 46, 47 and 50 of the National Energy Retail Law and rules 72, 111(2) and 116(1)(d) of the National Energy Retail Rules.


The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that EnergyAustralia Pty Ltd (EnergyAustralia) breached the National Energy Retail Law and the National Energy Retail Rules in relation to eight customers experiencing payment difficulties.

The AER alleges that for eight customers between 2016 and 2018 EnergyAustralia:

  • failed to maintain and implement its hardship policy
  • failed to provide customers the opportunity to enter into appropriate payment plans
  • failed to offer and apply payment plans that had regard to the customer’s capacity to pay
  • failed to inform customers of EnergyAustralia’s hardship policy, and/or
  • wrongfully de-energised the customers.

The AER is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, orders requiring implementation of a compliance program and the appointment of a compliance officer, and costs.