The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is introducing additional protections for households and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns in Orange City Council, Blayney Shire Council and Cabonne Shire Council.
The AER developed a standby Statement of Expectations for energy retailers in the event jurisdictions are subject to extended stay-at-home orders, generally for seven days or more.
The standby Statement expects retailers to:
- offer all residential and small business consumers who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement
- not disconnect any residential or small business consumers who may be in financial stress (including residential and small business consumers in an embedded network) without their agreement
- defer referrals of residential and small business consumers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions or credit default listing.
The AER will apply the standby Statement of Expectations in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.