As Aussies take refuge in their home to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus, many households across the country may be using the time to establish a new routine.
But with the news that many Australians may be at risk of losing their jobs, energy retailers are stepping up to take the pressure off financially struggling households.
So if you think your household may find it tough to keep the lights on in the coming months, find out what your energy retailer is doing to support affected households.
EnergyAustralia customers who are experiencing payment difficulties are able to seek financial assistance by requesting either payment extension for up to two weeks or a personalised installment plan.
Additionally, the retailer’s EnergyAssist Program helps customers apply for government grants they may be eligible for and puts them in touch with a financial counselor who is able to assist further.
Any AGL customer currently on financial hardship programs will not have to worry about being disconnected and will have any late fees or interest charges waived.
AGL CEO, Brett Redman has encouraged customers who are struggling to pay their bill to get in touch and explained that their Staying Connected hardship program provides personalised assistance beyond traditional measures.
Customers in Victoria will also have access to the Payment Support Victoria program.
“We acknowledge that many of our customers will be concerned about what’s ahead and, for some, these concerns will be about how they’re going to pay their bills,” Redman said.
“During the evolving Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we want to reassure you that we are committed to supporting our people, customers and the community.”
Origin Energy customers who believe they won’t be able to pay their bills are able to delay their payment with a payment extension or set up an appropriate payment plan online.
Their Power On program also helps customers with applying for government concessions and rebates, provides a referral for financial counselling and guarantees customers won’t have to worry about being disconnected for missing their bill due dates.
Simply Energy is assessing customer circumstances on a case by case basis to make sure the most appropriate outcome is achieved. Customers can request either a tailored payment plan or extension if they feel as though they cannot pay their upcoming bill.
Financial hardship programs are also available for customers who contact the Simply Energy customer service team.
Red Energy have asked customers who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus to get in touch ASAP. From there, the retailer will establish the best course of action, such as payment extensions or offering flexible payment options.
Red Energy’s EvenPlan program creates a personalised payment arrangement so that customers are in the loop on how much will need they will need to pay and when. This is done through either weekly, fortnightly or monthly direct debits.
If you’ve become unemployed or have had your income reduced due to the coronavirus, email Energy Locals so they can move you onto a better energy plan to help lower costs.
Customers may also be placed onto a Financial Hardship program if Energy Locals deems it appropriate.
Powerclub have acknowledged that Aussies start to spend more time in their home, their energy bills are only expected to increase. The retailer has asked customers to turn to their Powerwatch app to track fluctuating wholesaled prices as well as use recommendations on how to keep usage low.
Additionally, if a customer is experiencing payment difficulties, they are encouraged to get in touch with a Powerclub team member by calling or sending an email.
Powershop customers will have their prices frozen and be able to keep their existing rates until June 30 2020. Customers who also miss payment dates will not incur any fees or interest for doing so.
Customers who are experience payment difficulties are encouraged to participate in the retailer’s hardship program, Powershop On. This will not only help customers avoid disconnection, but will also give them the opportunity to request a payment extension or be placed onto a tailored payment plan.
If you’d like more information on how you can keep energy usage to a minimum during this time, have a read of some of our energy saving tips. Or if you’d like to find out what other kind of financial assistance you may be eligible for, check out our stimulus package wrap up.