Energy networks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have announced a suite of measures to provide support to customers enduring hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The electricity and gas network relief package complements other initiatives across the gas and electricity sector and will take effect from 1 April.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the comprehensive package was aimed at small business and residential customers and would help ensure energy retailers can better assist those facing hardship.
“Networks understand these are extraordinarily tough times for small business and energy bill relief will really help,” Mr Dillon said.
“For small businesses that are mothballed, electricity and gas network charges will not be applied from the start of April to the end of June 2020, if their consumption is less than a quarter what it was in 2019.
“Networks know it is in everyone’s interest to support small businesses through what is an extremely challenging period.”
The package also includes measures to support households by helping energy retailers provide further assistance to those who fall into hardship as a result of COVID-19.
“Networks will be deferring or rebating electricity and gas network charges for impacted customers,” Mr Dillon said.
“This assists impacted customers and helps energy retailers, who administer energy hardship programs.
“Networks and retailers realise it’s important the industry pulls together to support the many small businesses and households who will face growing challenges over the months ahead.
The Key objectives of the package fall into 4 parts;
1. Tariff relief for small business customers impacted by COVID-19 – Network charges will be rebated for small business customers experiencing financial stress and who are mothballing as a result of COVID-19
2. Incentivising all retailers to offer affected customers payment plans – Network charges will be deferred for residential customers of large retailers who go on payment plans or hardship arrangements put in place as a result of COVID-19
3. Ensure viability of small retail businesses – For small retailers, network charges will be rebated for residential customers that go into default as a result of COVID-19
4. Support retail competition
They will also support retailers in not disconnecting any residential or small business customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement, before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond.
Disconnection and/or reconnection fees will not be applied for small businesses that have temporarily ceased operation. During this period of disconnection, small businesses will not pay the daily supply charges.
For more information please contact your energy provider directly to discuss your circumstances.