Ask your electricity or gas company about assistance
If you think you’re going to have trouble paying an electricity or gas bill, you need to ring your retailer to talk about this early on and work out a payment plan.
It’s important to understand that you’re expected to make contact with your retailer if you want help and, if you’re a domestic customer accepted into its hardship program because your financial situation is more severe, you’ll be expected to work with the retailer to meet your obligations and therefore ensure continuity of your energy supply.
If you’re a domestic (residential) customer, the Energy Retail Code sets out certain things your electricity or natural gas retailer must do to help you, if you tell the retailer you don’t think you can pay a bill by the due date. These things include assessing your capacity to pay, offering you payment assistance, providing you with information on concessions and other available assistance, and giving you advice by phone about energy efficiency and the availability of an independent financial counsellor.
If you’re a domestic (residential) customer with financial problems that are likely to affect more than one bill, ask your retailer about its hardship policy—each electricity and natural gas retailer operating in Victoria must have one of these. Check for a copy of your retailer’s hardship policy on its website. Your retailer doesn’t have to offer you all the options covered by its hardship policy, but it must provide you with equitable access to the options appropriate to your individual circumstances.
LPG retailers in Victoria aren’t required to have a hardship policy. But they are required to offer you payment assistance, inform you about local financial counsellors and available concessions and provide energy efficiency advice.