"We explored customer debt and the related issue of the Payment Difficulty Framework in a major investigative report, released in December 2020, called Missing the Mark."
Our case numbers dropped in the last quarter of 2020, down 20% from the previous quarter, despite expectations of higher cases due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Predicting rises or falls in overall case numbers has proved difficult during the pandemic, as the community’s response, combined with government support and the response of the regulator, have changed significantly during this period.
We did see a rise in backbilling complaints in the final quarter of the 2020 calendar year, up 20% compared to the previous quarter – reflecting a high proportion of overall cases, considering overall case numbers are down. Backbilling reforms began on 1 January 2021 and the rise in complaints is likely related to these measures.
Disconnection cases spiked in the lead-up to Christmas. While disconnections overall are low, due to regulatory expectations set during the pandemic, we remain concerned about the possibility of a future surge in disconnections, particularly in response to the amount of customer debt in the sector.
We explored customer debt and the related issue of the Payment Difficulty Framework in a major investigative report, released in December 2020, called Missing the Mark. We hope this report starts some valuable discussions in the sector.
We delve into this and more in the latest edition of Reflect. As always, you can find more data relating to our casework in the Data Hub.