The minimum disconnection amount is part of a suite of protections for customers experiencing difficulties paying their bills, which also includes the requirement for retailers to offer payment plans or hardship assistance, irrespective of the amount owed.
Retailers cannot arrange for disconnection of a customer's electricity and/or gas supply if the amount owed by the customers is below the minimum disconnection amount set by the AER and the customer has agreed to repay that amount.
After extensive consultation, on 30 March 2017 the AER decided to keep the minimum disconnection amount of $300 (GST inclusive). The AER plans to conduct a further review of the minimum disconnection amount in three years but will initiate a review earlier should developments in the market warrant that.
Regardless of the amount owed, if customers are adhering to a payment plan or participating in a retailer's hardship program, retailers are prohibited from disconnecting them.
On 5 April 2012, the AER approved the minimum disconnection amount of $300 (GST inclusive) for the purposes of rule 116 of the Retail Rules. This applies to both gas and electricity and to all jurisdictions that have adopted the Retail Law and Rules.
In May 2016 the AER commenced a review of the minimum disconnection amount to assess its operation since the amount was initially set.