Trouble paying a bill

Issue

Trouble paying a bill

If you’re having trouble paying a bill – or if you’re experiencing ongoing financial difficulty – there’s help available.

What to do if you can't pay a bill

If you get an energy or water bill that you can’t afford to pay, don’t ignore it – contact your company as soon possible. Explain the situation and ask how they can help.

If you are having more severe or long-term financial problems, ask to speak to someone about the hardship program. All energy and water companies must have a hardship program to help customers who are having a lot of trouble paying bills.   

How your company should help

By law, energy and water companies have to offer help. They might:                                                             

  • give you more time to pay the bill
  • work out a plan to pay over time in instalments you can afford
  • check that you’re receiving government concessions and grants you’re entitled to
  • refer you to a free, independent financial counsellor for advice
  • give you energy or water efficiency advice to help reduce your bills
  • let you pay bills through Centrepay – smaller fortnightly payments taken directly from Centrelink payments.

How EWOV can help

If you’ve spoken with your company but can't get the assistance you need, call EWOV. We can help you and the company to negotiate an affordable payment plan and other assistance.

Read, download and print: simple fact sheets about trouble paying a bill

Fact Sheet 7

Energy and water payment difficulties

Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, High bills
Information about what you should do if you can't pay an electricity, gas or water bill, and the assistance that may be available to you
Fact Sheet 8

Disconnection and restriction for debt

Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill
Helping residential customers understand their rights and responsibilities and the assistance which may be available to them

How we've helped others: case studies about trouble paying a bill

Case study

Family violence and financial hardship leads to disconnection (March 2017)

Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill
Case study

An incorrect multiplier leads to a $7,000 catch-up bill (December 2016)

Trouble paying a bill, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes

Hot topic articles about trouble paying a bill

Hot topic

Credit repair agents and credit defaults (March 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings
A credit default on your personal credit file can limit your ability to access credit and apply for a loan. It can also be a barrier when signing up for an electricity or gas account with some retailers. So is it worth using a Credit Repair Agent?
Hot topic

Financial Difficulty: What to do if you can’t pay a bill on time (November 2013)

Trouble paying a bill
It is common for customers to have the desire, but not the capacity to pay one or more of their bills in full, by the due date. If this is you or someone you know, check out EWOV’s top tips to ease the stress of the situation and help manage a water or energy debt.

Trouble paying a bill

Concessions and grants

Customers on low incomes can often get concessions [PDF, 808 KB] – government discounts that make your energy and water bills quite a bit cheaper. If you’re entitled to concessions but haven't been receiving them, they can be backdated for up to a year – sometimes longer. If you're not sure if you're receiving your concessions, call your company to check.

If you can’t pay because of a temporary financial crisis, you may be able to get a Victorian Government Utility Relief Grant (URG). The URG is a payment of up to $500 for energy or water bills (including LPG, diesel or petrol, heating oil, firewood or carted water). You apply for the URG through your company, so ask them for information and an application form.