The NSW Government is encouraging flood affected energy customers across the State to take advantage of available financial support and consumer protections.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said nobody facing hardship should have to worry about being unable to pay their energy bill or having their electricity or gas supply disconnected in the aftermath of the devastating floods.
“Our communities are doing it tough, and I want to make sure that energy customers that are having difficulty paying their bills are supported as they recover,” Mr Kean said.
“My message to customers is know your rights, and my message to retailers is know your responsibilities.”
All NSW energy retailers are required to offer residential and small business customers who indicate they are in financial stress a hardship arrangement or payment plan until 30 June 2021, under the current Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Statement of Expectations.
Currently, energy retailers are also forbidden from disconnecting the electricity supply of homes and businesses that have been in contact with their retailer to advise they are in financial distress, unless the customer requests supply be disconnected.
The NSW Government also provides financial assistance through the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme for customers in financial stress or an emergency, such as natural disasters.
“If you are having difficulty paying your current household energy bill, because of the floods, you may be eligible for emergency financial assistance via EAPA vouchers,” Mr Kean said.
“This financial year we have been able to support over 42,000 energy customers through the scheme, and I encourage anyone doing in tough to jump on the phone or online to be assessed for this bill support.”
The NSW Government has temporarily increased the funding threshold from $300 to $400 per assessment, twice per year, taking the combined available assistance for both electricity and gas to $1,600 per year. The increased threshold will be available until 30 June 2021.
Customers can submit an application to be assessed for EAPA vouchers online via ServiceNSW at: www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/energy-accounts-payment-assistance-eapa-scheme or over the phone on 13 77 88.