What’s inside the COVID-19 electricity and gas network relief package

Ceyda Erem

Friday 03 April 2020

To provide financial relief for small businesses and residents across the country, Energy Networks Australia has unveiled its new energy and gas network relief package. 

The package includes details for retailers by energy networks in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia on how to assist residential and small business customers, such as deferring or rebating network charges.

Network charges are the cost residential and small businesses customers pay to have electricity supplied into their homes or buildings. 

“Networks understand these are extraordinarily tough times for small business and energy bill relief will really help [and] will work with energy retailers to ensure the benefits of this package flow through to customers smoothly,” said, Energy Networks Australia, CEO Andrew Dillon.

Participating networks include CitiPower, Powercor Australia, United Energy, Australian Gas Networks, TransGrid, Endeavour Energy,  Ausgrid, Essential Energy, Jemena, SA Power Networks, Multinet Gas Networks ElectraNet and AusNet services. 

From 1 April to 30 June, 2020, eligible small businesses who consume less than 400MHw or 400GJ per annum and use less than 25% of the historical average during this period will have their network charges rebated.

Disconnection, reconnection and daily supply charges will also not apply for businesses who have had to close up shop. 

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The package will also support customers of both small and larger retailers who are experiencing financial hardship or have defaulted on their bill payments, due to COVID-19. 

Customers of smaller retailers will have their network charges rebated if they have defaulted on a payment and have been receiving government benefits from April 1. 

Households of larger retailers will have their network charges deferred, so long as they have entered a payment or financial hardship plan from April 1 or are receiving government benefits.

How Western Australia and Queensland are helping households 

More than two weeks ago, Western Australia became the first state to announce a stimulus package that targeted household expenses.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, announced that household fees and charges, including electricity would be frozen “for the first time in 16 years”. 

The Energy Assistance Payment, a rebate offered to concession card holders, was also doubled to $600 to help older Aussies keep up with their bills. 

The Queensland Government followed suit soon after, launching a $300 million package that would provide a credit of up to $200 for utility bills. 

If you’d like to find out more about what your energy retailer is doing to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, have a read of our guide

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