Media Contact
Carl Kitchen 0401 691 342
Jul 28 2020

Energy support available for customers

As households and businesses continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, energy retailers say a broader government and energy sector consideration is needed.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said: “Energy retailers stand ready and willing to help customers experiencing financial difficulties, but there is a critical need for government, regulators and all participants in the energy supply chain to consider what further steps may be needed in coming months.

“Retailers can help when households and businesses are having trouble paying their bills. Our members have committed to supporting their customers with tailored assistance if they are unable to afford their energy bills.

“Customers should be reminded that their retailer can provide different kinds of support – from short term payment plans to longer term hardship assistance.

“Customers should contact their retailer as soon as they become concerned about their ability to pay their bill. Engagement will ensure customers are not disconnected for not being able to afford their energy bills.

“There is also a wide range of concessions and emergency relief available for customers receiving JobSeeker and other Government payments. Retailers will help customers to access these rebates, and they are providing a range of other measures for customers doing it tough.

“But we need to be mindful that the Australian Energy Regulator’s Statement of Expectations and these customer support measures mean retailers, who carry all the risks of non-payment in the market, will see increasing debt levels with limited scope to recover costs.

“We can expect to see increasing bad debt levels, increased financial stress on retailers and a greater risk of retailer failures.

“Retailers cannot control costs from other parts of the energy supply, such as the fixed costs recovered by network businesses to maintain the poles and wires.

“A network package to defer charges announced earlier this year provided some initial relief but it was limited in time and scope. That relief package was also released before the full impact of COVID-19 on households and businesses emerged.

“For that reason, we need a collaborative response from all parties to find ways to share costs across the sector and avoid the growing risk of future financial contagion amongst retailers.

“The priority has to be to ensure that retailers can keep assisting as many customers as possible during this pandemic,” Ms McNamara said.

About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 22 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.

Related News


Five Year Plant Closure Rule Change

The Australian Energy Council (AEC) notes the proposed change to the National Electricity Rules to extend the notice period for generator closures from 3.

Apr 07 2022

Plant Emissions at Five-Year Low: NPI Data Shows

The release of the latest NPI data again reveals a drop in emissions from coal-fired generators. An Australian Energy Council spokesperson said analysis of NPI emissions data for coal-fired power plants shows that over the past five years there has been a fall in NOx, SO 2 , particulate and mercury emissions (see table below and trend graphs ).

Apr 03 2022

International electricity price comparisons

Australian retail household electricity prices in the National Electricity Market are the lowest they have been for eight years and are the 10th lowest of the 38 OECD countries, according to analysis undertaken by the Australian Energy Council.

Feb 03 2022
Do you have a question or comment for AEC?

Send an email with your question or comment, and include your name and a short message and we'll get back to you shortly.

Call Us
+61 (3) 9205 3100