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

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:

  • First, work out an amount that you can realistically afford to pay by writing down your upcoming expenses and income.
  • Next, call your company and tell them that you cannot afford to pay the bill in full. Request a payment plan and advise them what you can afford to pay and when (e.g. fortnightly/monthly).
  • Ask to be referred to the company’s financial hardship department. All electricity, gas and water companies operating in Victoria are required to offer you certain types of assistance when you tell them you are in hardship. The company must:
    • offer a payment plan that takes into account how much you can afford to pay
    • provide information about concessions and other assistance (i.e. the Utility Relief Grant)
    • provide advice about energy efficiency
    • provide advice about the availability of financial counsellors.
  • If you need help completing a budget, a financial counsellor can help with this. You can search for a financial counsellor by calling the Financial Counselling Hotline on 1800 007 007.
  • If you have tried and are unable to agree to an affordable payment plan directly with your company, contact EWOV on 1800 500 509 or lodge your complaint online.

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