$2 million worth of energy debt waived in Tasmania

Tasmania’s largest power retailer has wiped $2 million worth of energy debt for customers struggling to pay their bills.

Aurora Energy announced it waived ‘bad debt’ for 78,000 Tasmanians who were on payment plans in 2020-21. This was a drop of 22,000 customers from the previous year where the company wrote off $2.6 million in energy debt.

Bad energy debt is money that has been allocated by a retailer to cover missed payments from a customer. This is usually a credit that has not been repaid to the business.

The news was announced at a local committee hearing last week where the Tasmanian government-owned company also stated it did not disconnect any customers for non-payment last financial year, according to Aurora Energy chief operating officer, Kane Ingham.

“Normally, disconnection is a process that prompts customers to contact us and for us to engage with them and then enter into a payment plan,” he said.

“Whilst those statistics might suggest that it’s been positive, customers have increased debt over that time and they have clearly struggled in the wake of COVID-19.”

It comes as Aussie households recorded an average 12 per cent rise in debt for both electricity and gas last year.

Mr Ingham attributed the drop in energy debt and payment plans to the retailer not disconnecting customers throughout 2020-21.

Furthermore, Aurora stated it has provided more than $2 million to Tasmanians through its COVID-19 customer support fund.

The COVID-19 Customer Support Program uses a $5 million fund to help residential and small business customers impacted by the pandemic to pay their energy bills.

More than 3,800 residential customers and almost 400 business customers have received assistance to date.

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Image credit: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock.com

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