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Extending customer support for energy through COVID-19

24 March 2021

The Morrison Government and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) are extending provisions to ensure energy companies support families and small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Statement of Expectations for energy companies will be extended by three months and will remain in place until 30 June, 2021.

The measures, originally put in place by the Government in March last year, set out strong but reasonable expectations of the support energy companies must provide to their customers impacted by the pandemic and in financial stress.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the extension of the Statement of Expectations ensures Australians who are experiencing difficulties in paying their energy bills are protected.

“These strengthened customer protections ensure Australians who are experiencing continued financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic have the support and assistance they need to get back on their feet,” Minister Taylor said.

“I urge anyone facing difficulties in paying their bills to contact their retailer as soon as possible to discuss the support that is available.

“However, it is also important that customers who can pay their bills continue to do so, in order for support to be provided where it is most needed.”

Key support measures the Government expects energy companies to provide include:

  • Continuing to offer all households and small businesses in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement;
  • Assisting customers to make existing payment plans sustainable, by re-calculating debt obligations using a lower cost plan if available;
  • Waiving disconnection, re-connection and/or contract break fees, along with daily supply charges for small businesses that have ceased operating;
  • Not disconnecting residential customers in financial distress who have made contact with their retailer or responded to communications; and
  • Not disconnecting small business customers who are adhering to a payment plan or payment arrangement.

Tips for reducing energy use and costs are available on the energy.gov.au website, while households and small businesses can use the Government’s free energy price comparison website Energy Made Easy to shop around for the best deal.

Media contacts:

Minister Taylor's office 02 6277 7120