The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the Australian community and these impacts will be felt for some time. The financial uncertainty and difficulties many of us are facing will mean increased stress and perhaps an inability to pay your bills, including those for essential services like energy.

The AER launched a Statement of Expectations in March 2020 calling on energy companies to go above and beyond to support customers doing it tough during COVID-19.

Some of those expectations include:

  • that energy retailers offer payment plans or hardship arrangements to all residential and small business customers who indicate they may be in financial stress, regardless of whether the customer meets the ‘usual’ criteria for that assistance
  • waiving disconnection, reconnection and/or contract break fees for small businesses that have ceased operation, along with daily supply charges to retailers, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020.

There is also other practical support available for your energy bills if you’re experiencing financial difficulties.

National

Households

energy.gov.au - Support for Australian households

Energy Consumers Australia - Consumer resources

Small businesses

energy.gov.au - Support for Australian businesses

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government - Economic survival package for families and households

New South Wales

Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW - COVID-19 customer support

Queensland

Energy & Water Ombudsman Queensland - Support for customers impacted by COVID-19

South Australia

Energy & Water Ombudsman SA - COVID-19 support

Tasmania

Energy Ombudsman Tasmania - COVID-19

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Government - Community update, 19 March 2020

Victoria

Essential Services Commission - Safety net for Victorians suffering energy bill stress, 27 March 2020

Western Australia

Government of Western Australia - $1 billion COVID-19 economic and health relief package unveiled, 31 March 2020