The Australian Government is extending protections for households and small businesses experiencing hardship with energy bills due to the pandemic.
The Statement of Expectations for energy companies will be extended by three months until 30 June 2021.
Key support measures the government expects energy companies to provide include:
- not disconnecting residential customers in financial distress who have made contact with their retailer or responded to communications
- not disconnecting small business customers who are adhering to a payment plan or payment arrangement.
Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Chair Clare Savage said the regulator expects retailers to contact customers with energy debt. Those customers should be placed on sustainable payment plans or hardship arrangements.
‘While we have been very pleased with the way the energy sector has supported customers through the pandemic to date, we will not be afraid to take enforcement action if necessary,’ Ms Savage said.
The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, 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.’