Q. What is the Payment Difficulty Framework?
A. The Payment Difficulty Framework is available to Victorian residential customers who are finding it difficult to pay their energy bills.
Q. What are the key objectives of the Payment Difficulty Framework?
A. The key objectives are:
- Help Victorian residential customers avoid getting into debt with their energy retailer
- Alleviate the difficulty for Victorian residential customers associated to paying for their ongoing energy use, repaying their debts for any missed bills and to generally lower their energy costs.
- Ensuring Victorian residential customers are only disconnected for non-payment of a bill, as a last resort.
Q. What help is available to me if I find it difficult to stay on top of my energy bills?
A. Victorian residential customers can access any three of the following payment options under standard assistance:
– pay smaller amounts more often
– change how often you pay
– delay payment of a bill (this can only be done once a year)
– pay in advance if you have the available funds
Q. What help is available to me if I find I have an unpaid bill of $55 or more?
A. If you have an unpaid bill for $55 or more and you are a Victorian resident, you can access tailored assistance consisting of:
– a plan to pay off your bills (for up to two years)
– information on your energy use and how to lower it
– advice on other assistance (including utility relief grants and energy concessions)
Q. What help is available to me if I find I can’t afford my ongoing energy usage?
A. If you can not afford your ongoing energy usage you must be offered additional help including:
– a pause on your debt payments for at least 6 months
– to pay less than the full cost of your energy use (this may be added to the amount you owe later)
– advice on other assistance including utility relief grants and energy concessions
– the best price that works for you
– practical help to reduce your energy bills (i.e. information on the use of energy efficiency products)
Q. Who can I talk to about the Payment Difficulty Framework?
A. Please call your energy retailer to discuss anything relating to the Payment Difficulty Framework.
Q. Where can I find a copy of my retailer’s hardship policy?
A. You can find a copy of your energy retailer’s hardship policy on their website.
If, once you call your energy retailer, they can not help you, you can call the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) on 1800 500 509 (free call).