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 household bills, including those for essential services like energy.

If you are worried about paying your bill, reach out to your retailer about your energy debt. They will work with you to make sure you stay connected.

In October 2020, the AER released its updated Statement of Expectations calling on energy retailers to extend their support to households and small businesses until at least 31 March 2021.

Some of the expectations include that retailers will help residential and small business customers by:

  • providing information about better plans, concessions, rebates and other support
  • offering a payment plan based on their customers' capacity to pay with a no-payment window if required
  • not disconnecting residential customers who are in contact with them in relation to their debt
  • not disconnecting small business customers as long as they are adhering to a payment plan
  • considering actions that will minimise customers' debt
  • immediately reconnecting anyone who may be disconnected once they make contact and waiving any associated fees.

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 – Are you concerned about paying your bill or getting disconnected?

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Government – Community update, 19 March 2020 (updated 13 May 2020)

Victoria

Essential Services Commission – Supporting energy customers through the coronavirus pandemic 2020

Western Australia

Government of Western Australia – COVID-19 coronavirus: Western Australian Government response - Household support