If you can’t pay your bill, your retailer may be able to help. Call them as soon as possible to find out how.
Sometimes things happen in life that make it hard to pay your bills. Call your energy provider and talk to them about your situation. You can also ask a support person to contact your energy provider for you.
Under the National Energy Retail Law, retailers must assist customers that are having payment difficulties.
Your retailer will need to know more about your financial problems before you can use their hardship program.
Your retailer must:
- give you the option of paying your bill in smaller amounts regularly (like every two weeks)—this is sometimes called a payment plan
- help you work out if you can get government rebates and/or concessions, and
- tell you about financial counselling services.
They might also be able to:
- give you more time to pay
- waive late fees
- give you tips on using less energy, and
- check that your energy plan is right for you.
This flyer explains the help that is available for customers that are having trouble paying their energy bills.
Contact the energy ombudsman scheme in your state or territory if:
- you disagree with your retailer about your bill and can’t solve it
- your retailer won’t let you use their hardship program, or
- you can’t agree about how to pay the money back.
Their contact details are on our Useful contacts page.
A payment plan is when you agree to regularly pay back small amounts—for example, every two weeks.
You and your retailer will agree on an amount you will pay back each time. You can enter a payment plan even if you are not in your retailer’s hardship program.
The retailer will:
- look at how much you owe
- how much your bills might be over the next 12 months, and
- how much you can afford to pay.
Make sure you can afford the amount you will pay back each time.
Your retailer can’t cut your power off if you’re keeping up with your payments and meeting the conditions of your payment plan, but they can if you don’t.
If you don’t know where to start, a financial counsellor may be able to help.
The Sustainable Payment Plans Framework is designed to help you and your retailer agree to a payment plan you can afford and that will help you pay the money you owe.
Some retailers have agreed to follow the Sustainable Payments Plan Framework. These retailers are:
- 1st Energy
- Alinta Energy
- Aurora Energy
- Click Energy
- Energy Locals
- Enova Energy
- Ergon Energy Queensland
- Locality Planning Energy
- Metered Energy Holdings
- Mojo Power
- Origin Energy
- People Energy
- Pooled Energy
- Simply Energy
Retailers using the Framework have promised to be flexible, have respect and to try to understand and consider your circumstances when talking about a payment plan. The Framework covers residential customers.
If you have a concern with the way a retailer has discussed payment plans with you, you should speak to them and see if you can fix the problem. If the problem is still not fixed, you can contact your local energy Ombudsman.
The Framework is attached at the bottom of this page.
If you get a Centrelink payment, you can pay your energy bill directly from your payment. This is called Centrepay.
Ask your retailer or Centrelink if you want to use Centrepay.
If you are in your retailer’s hardship program, your retailer must let you pay your bills using Centrepay.
Getting advice from a financial counsellor
Financial counsellors offer a free, confidential and independent service to help people with financial problems.
Financial counsellors can help people learn to manage their money better.
You can call 1800 007 007, 9.30 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday to see one.