If you can’t pay your bill for any reason, you should contact your energy retailer. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has stated energy retailers should establish arrangements for customers in financial hardship, even if those customers wouldn’t normally meet the retailer’s criteria for financial stress.
As such, you’re in a much better position now to be able to negotiate with your energy retailer if you’re struggling to pay your bill.
Additionally, the AER says no residential or small business customer who has indicated they’re in financial stress should be disconnected (unless with the customer’s agreement) until 31 July 2020.
You may also be able to request the following options, which are available until at least 31 July 2020:
- referrals to debt collection agencies deferred (and no impact to your credit rating); and
- waived disconnection, reconnection, broken contract fees and daily supply charges for small businesses who’ve closed down as per the announcement on 27 March 2020.
For Victorians, energy retailer are regulated by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). On 27 March 2020, they announced a number of measures specifically for Victorians suffering bill stress, including:
- flexible payment options;
- debt repayments put on hold for six months to those that participate in payment plans or receive bill assistance;
- no debt collection for households receiving bill assistance; and
- no disconnections for customers who have arranged a bill assistance payment plan.
These measures from the AER and ESC are in addition to the typical support programs already in place designed to help customers who are struggling to pay their bills, such as:
- payment plans;
- bill smoothing;
- billing frequency changes; and
- hardship programs.
By contacting your energy retailer directly, you may be able to work out a payment plan that’s within your budget and keeps the lights on. If you don’t get in touch, you could risk having your power turned off.
If you’re looking for ways to save on household costs, you could try our energy comparison service and see if one of our energy partners could offer you a better deal. Our service is free to use, and it’ll only take a few minutes to find out if we can help you save money.
You can even speak directly with one of our energy professionals on 1800 990 003.
Last update: 02/04/2020