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.
energy.gov.au - Support for Australian households
Energy Consumers Australia - Consumer resources
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
Energy & Water Ombudsman Queensland - Support for customers impacted by COVID-19
Energy & Water Ombudsman SA - COVID-19 support
Energy Ombudsman Tasmania - COVID-19
Northern Territory Government - Community update, 19 March 2020
Essential Services Commission - Safety net for Victorians suffering energy bill stress, 27 March 2020
Government of Western Australia - $1 billion COVID-19 economic and health relief package unveiled, 31 March 2020