Many people are or will be affected by the restrictions implemented as a result of COVID-19.
The Australian Energy Retailer (AER) have released their expectations for how energy businesses should be protecting residential/small business customers facing financial hardship.
The 10 principles released are have been released to ensure the protection of customers and the market during COVID-19.
The principles are as follows:
- Offer all residential and small business customers who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement, regardless of whether the customer meets the ‘usual’ criteria for that assistance.
- Do not disconnect any residential or small business customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement, before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond.
- Do not disconnect any large business customer, without their agreement, before 31 July 2020, and potentially beyond, if that customer is on-selling energy to residential or small business customers (for example, in residential parks or retirement villages).
- Defer referrals of customers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions, or credit default listing until at least 31 July 2020.
- Be prepared to modify existing payment plans if a customer’s changed circumstances make this necessary.
- Waive disconnection, reconnection and/or contract break fees for small businesses that have ceased operation, along with daily supply charges to retailers, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020.
- Prioritise the safety of customers who require life support equipment and continue to meet responsibilities to new life support customers.
- Prioritise clear, up-to-date communications with customers about the issues addressed in this Statement, including by keeping website, social media and call centre waiting and hold messages up to date, so customers can readily access updates when they need them and relieve some pressure on affected call centres.
- Prioritise clear communications with customers about the availability of retailer and other supports, including the availability of payment plans, energy efficiency advice and fault repair.
- Minimise the frequency and duration of planned outages for critical works, and provide as much notice as possible to assist households and businesses to manage during any outage.
SAS Financial Hardship
Silver Asset Services understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the Australian community and our clients. SAS know that customers sometimes need help to get things back on track.
Our hardship policy aims to help those customers that are in need of assistance with their utility account and details your rights and responsibilities as a customer and what we will do to help.
To view our hardship policy please click here.
If you are facing hardship, contact Silver Asset Services. We are here to assist you during this time.
Call Us: 07 3010 5560