Suffering from COVID-19 related energy bill shock? Your retailer can offer you extra support.
All energy retailers already have affordability programs (sometimes known as hardship programs). Support measures differ between retailers, but include payment extensions, payment plans and help accessing grants and concessions.
These programs have now been enhanced to help support customers during these very tough times.
The new measures follow the release of the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Statement of Expectations in March 2020. The Statement defines 10 expectations that energy retailers must meet during this time including:
- offering affordability assistance to all customers in financial stress
- deferring disconnection of any residential or small business customers in financial stress until at least 31 July 2020
- deferring referrals to debt collection agencies, or credit default listing until at least 31 July 2020
- waiving disconnection, re-connection and/or contract break fees and daily supply charges for small businesses that have ceased operation, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020.
EWON has already received complaints from customers impacted by COVID-19 and as a result, worked with energy retailers to establish financial assistance for those customers. These include billing disputes relating to estimated bills as distributors restrict site visits, complaints relating to retailers not meeting the AER’s expectations of support and an increase in complaints involving customers with affordability issues resulting from COVID-19.
If you’re having payment difficulties or are at risk of disconnection, contact your retailer first. They can help. If you’re not happy with their response, contact the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW. We offer a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service and can also provide advice on how to save energy and get the best energy deal. Visit our COVID-19 energy support information page.