EnergyAustralia scraps paper bill fees

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One of the country’s biggest electricity and gas providers has scrapped fees for paper bills and over the counter transactions.

EnergyAustralia says it has listened to the feedback of customers in removing its charges of $1.69 per paper bill and $1.91 for paying at Australia Post.

The decision follows the recent abolition of paper bill and over the counter fees by the New South Wales government in late 2017. However, the change will apply to EnergyAustralia’s 1.7 million customers across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

The company says 60% of customers continue to receive paper bills.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from customers and the message is clear – people don’t like these fees,” said EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer Kim Clarke. “They were introduced to avoid passing on the cost of services many customers don’t use, but circumstances have changed.

“Over the past year retail energy prices have increased up to 20 per cent in some states and today, more than ever, every dollar matters for families. So, we’ve listened and are getting rid of charges for paper bills and over-the-counter fees.”

EnergyAustralia says the fees – introduced in 2016 – were passed through from third parties to customers and it did not make money from them. The charges never applied to pensioners, customers on standing offer tariffs, concession card holders, customers in financial hardship and customers receiving their final bill.

“We always encourage customers to choose e-bills and manage their accounts online,” added Ms Clarke. “Yes, it helps keep costs down but it’s also a better service because people can monitor their energy consumption and set payment reminders, so they don’t risk missing pay-on-time discounts. It’s an increasingly popular service because it saves customers time and money.”

Which energy retailers still charge for paper bills?

While the NSW government has banned paper bill fees, some energy retailers continue to charge for them in other states. Australia’s two biggest electricity and gas providers – AGL and Origin – both charge $1.75 for every bill received by post. However, exceptions are made depending on personal circumstances. Several smaller retailers also charge similar fees.

It’s also common for energy providers to offer their cheapest deals only to customers who agree to emailing billing, in addition to other conditions.

Details about billing costs and any other fees can be found in your retailer’s energy price fact sheets.

It’s thought paper bill charges are also being investigated by the Victorian and South Australian governments.

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