Energy retailers are continuing to provide support to households and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Energy Council said today.
The AEC’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said: “We know that energy bills are one of the top cost of living concerns at this time.
“Help is available by approaching your energy retailer for a confidential discussion.
“We recognise that not everyone may feel confident about doing that, which is why retailers launched a campaign to remind customers that support is readily available and a confidential conversation with your retailer can help you to understand your options.”
Ms McNamara said retailers offered a range of assistance measures on request.
“If you are concerned that you may not be able to afford to pay your bills as they fall due, contact your retailer as soon as possible.
“Retailers will work with customers to find the best way to manage debt levels.
“But an extended period of financial stress and customer support also means retailers, who carry all the risks of non-payment in the market, will have limited scope to recover costs.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts we can expect to see increasing bad debt levels, which will also mean increased financial stress on retailers and a greater risk of retailer failures.
“A priority has to be to ensure that retailers can remain viable and keep assisting as many customers as possible during this pandemic,” Ms McNamara said.
About the Australian Energy Council
The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in the competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia, sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses, and are major investors in renewable energy generation.
The peak body for energy retailers, the Australian Energy Council, energy companies and a broad range of consumer advocates have undertaken a unique collaboration to develop Best Practice for Energy Retailer Assistance .
An independent report has predicted power bills will continue to fall as new generation capacity enters the National Electricity Market.
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