Support available from energy companies during coronavirus outbreak

Advertisement

As Australia battles the coronavirus outbreak, family budgets are expected to become even more strained, especially for those who work in industries most impacted by social distancing. And with more of us working from home, energy bills seem likely to rise. If you’re worried about your next energy bill, or just wondering what support is available should times get tough, Canstar Blue will keep this page updated with details.

We’ll seek guidance from the energy companies, industry regulators and state governments, so you know where you stand. And answer any other energy-related questions you may have relating to the current crisis. Plus, we’ll list some of the cheapest power deals on our database, so you can consider whether it’s the right time to switch and potentially save.

Find a cheaper power plan

If you think you could be getting a better energy deal, the table below lists some of the cheapest published deals on our database. Hit the right tab to see plans in your state.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Origin Energy Coronavirus Support

origin-energy-logo

Origin Energy is encouraging customers to make contact online, where they can also request a payment extension if they need to. Origin told us:

  • We are encouraging customers where possible to use Origin’s website or mobile app to manage their enquiries due to longer than usual wait times on our phone lines.
  • We are prioritising assistance for our most vulnerable customers including those with life support needs, and those who need their energy supply reconnected.
  • Customers who are experiencing difficulty paying their bills can request a payment extension online.
  • Our hardship program will continue to provide support to customers who are experiencing payment difficulty through things like tailored payment plans.

The energy giant has also said it is temporarily suspending disconnections for customers for non-payment.

AGL Coronavirus Support

AGL is encouraging financially vulnerable customers – both residential and small business – to get in contact to discuss their options. In a statement, AGL CEO Brett Redman said:

  • It is anticipated that the financial impacts could lead to increased numbers of people accessing AGL’s hardship assistance and he urged anyone struggling to pay bills to get in touch.
  • Customers on hardship programs will not be disconnected. Late fees and interest charges will be waived for customers on hardship programs.
  • We are also offering support for small business suppliers with our commitment to pay small businesses within 14 days to lend support as the economy is hit by the impacts of the coronavirus.

EnergyAustralia Coronavirus Support

EnergyAustralia logo

In light of COVID-19, EnergyAustralia has made some changes to the way it is operating, and is encouraging customers to get in contact online. An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said:

  • While we might currently have longer than normal call wait times, you can contact us via our digital channels.
  • EnergyAustralia continues to provide support through its EnergyAssist program for residential customers. The program allows for tailored payment plans, advice on reducing energy consumption, information on relevant government relief schemes and concessions, and making sure customers who are struggling to pay are on the best plan to match their needs.
  • We recognise that many small businesses may be impacted by difficult trading conditions due to the coronavirus. EnergyAustralia is working with these customers on a case-by-case basis.

With longer than normal call wait times, EnergyAustralia is encouraging customers to make contact online and via digital communication channels.

Alinta Energy Coronavirus Support

alinta energy logo

Alinta Energy is giving affected customers across Australia a range of support options during this troubling time. An Alinta Energy spokesperson said:

  • For customers experiencing hardship directly due to the impacts of COVID-19 or for any other reason, we can offer different payment options to help get them back on track.
  • Customers in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia can call us on 13 37 02 or email us at customer.service@alintaenergy.com.au
  • Victorian customers can call us on 1300 721 753 or email alinta.assist@alintaenergy.com.au
  • For any Western Australian customers experiencing difficulty paying, we are here to help. We have a Continuous Energy Program in place and our call centre is available to support customers through this challenging time.

Lumo Energy & Red Energy Coronavirus Support

Red Energy

Logo for Lumo Energy

Snowy Hydro-owned Red Energy and Lumo Energy have reminded customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to get in contact if needed. A spokesperson said:

  • Red Energy and Lumo Energy remain, as always, focussed on customer service and assisting those experiencing hardship. A range of measures are in place and will be reviewed regularly as the COVID-19 situation develops.
  • We would like to encourage customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to contact Red Energy and Lumo Energy’s Australian contact centre to discuss the options available to them through our customer hardship program.
  • We will also offer small businesses impacted by COVID-19 the option of payment plans, assistance with reducing usage and advice on how to access small business grants and support.
  • Customers can call the customer care team directly. Red Energy 1800 723 749. Lumo Energy 1800 989 321.

Powershop Coronavirus Support

Powershop

Australia’s greenest power company, Powershop, is recommending household and small business customers to get in touch if needed. Powershop CEO, Jason Stein, announced how the company will be offering support below:

  • We are immediately freezing all residential and small business customer prices until 30 June. This means residential and small business customers will keep existing rates until 30 June 2020 at which time we will review in line with regular processes.
  • Customers will not incur late fees or penalty interest if they miss a payment date.
  • Customers impacted by COVID – 19 who register and participate in our Powershop On program will not have their power disconnected for non-payment.
  • Extended and tailored payment plans and terms for all impacted customers participating in the Powershop On program.

Simply Energy Coronavirus Support

Simply Energy logo

Simply Energy is urging customers to get in contact with the retailer for any financial assistance queries they may have. Here’s what Simply Energy told us:

  • We understand that COVID-19 measures, while necessary, will disrupt our customers’ household routines, change when and how much energy they use, and may introduce financial challenges for some.
  • At Simply Energy, we also recognise our responsibilities as an essential service provider and our place on the frontline, to understand and respond to our customers’ energy needs on behalf of the energy industry.
  • If Simply Energy customers need to delay paying their accounts for any reason, they can request a payment extension, set up a payment plan or access our hardship and financial support programs.
  • We’re working closely with the entire energy supply chain on a coordinated response to keep the lights on, and make sure customers are supported in the right way through these extraordinary circumstances.

Amaysim Energy & Click Energy Coronavirus Support

click-energy landscape

Amaysim Energy and Click Energy customers in need of support can refer to the Financial Hardship Policies found on their respective websites. A spokesperson stated:

  • Amaysim Energy and Click Energy are committed to working with customers that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. We have a number of key policies in place to assist people during times of difficulty, including where unemployment or reduced income affects someone’s ability to pay for essential services.
  • Please keep in mind that like any business, disruptions to our staffing levels may impact our ability to respond as quickly as normal as we look to manage our resources in line with various government imposed restrictions (both here and abroad). That said, Amaysim and Click, are engaged in positive dialogue with both industry and Government about what else we can do to support our customers in these difficult times.

Energy Locals Coronavirus Support

Like some of the other retailers, Energy Locals is recommending affected customers get in touch via its website’s online portal. Founder and CEO of Energy Locals, Adrian Merrick, said in a statement:

  • Manage your account online, if possible. Our online self serve portal has a lot of tools that can help you resolve queries yourself.
  • Need customer service support? Emailing us at hello@energylocals.com.au will help us to ‘smooth out’ the flow of requests and mean we can keep our service performance strong.

Energy Locals is also welcoming customers who know of any small businesses in need of support to get in contact for a shout out on the retailer’s social media channels over the next month.

Enova Energy Coronavirus Support

Enova Energy is asking customers in financial hardship to get in contact to discuss their options. An Enova Energy spokesperson said:

  • Importantly, at this time, we are not seeing any indications of any interruptions to your electricity supply. If you do experience financial hardship we have a financial hardship policy and you are welcome to call us to discuss your situation, so that we can assist you.
  • If you have any questions about your energy account or renewable energy and energy in general, or if we can be of assistance, feel free to give our friendly team a call and they’ll be more than happy to speak with you, on 02 5622 1700 or email us at info@enovaenergy.com.au

Aurora Energy Coronavirus Support

aurora_energy_logo

Tassie retailer Aurora Energy is following the advice of the Tasmanian Government and relevant health authorities to provide support to its customers. An Aurora Energy spokesperson said:

  • Our focus is to ensure energy supply for all our customers and priority will be given to those needing a connection.
  • We understand that these are uncertain times financially. That’s why we have a range of payment options and hardship programs.
  • For the moment, TasNetworks has suspended meter reads to keep customers and their crews safe. This means quarterly bills will be estimated.

Over the past few weeks, Aurora Energy has been working with the Tasmanian Government to identify ways they can support customers. According to Aurora Energy, the Tasmanian Government has approved a price cap for 12 months on energy bills and  100% waiver for all small business customers on their next bill after 1 April 2020.

ReAmped Energy Coronavirus Support

Online retailer, ReAmped Energy, has requested customers to reach out online if they are experiencing any financial difficulties. A ReAmped Energy spokesperson said:

  • I’m sure you can appreciate that this situation with COVID-19 has affected our customer service teams. However, we are online and available 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday (AEST) and 9am – 12pm (AEST) Saturdays via Live Chat, email and call backs.
  • We acknowledge that these are difficult times and that people may have problems paying their electricity bills. If customers are having trouble they can contact us to talk about a Payment Plan, or Payment Extension. Additionally, they can also access our Hardship program.
  • Customers can contact us via Live Chat (for an immediate response), email or call back request to discuss any of these options. We are here to help!

Powerclub Coronavirus Support

New retailer Powerclub has asked customers to be watchful of wholesale energy prices, particularly for those working from home. Powerclub Chief Marketing Officer, Renée Mariette, said:

  • To help you save your energy through self-isolation and keep a lid on your energy expenses, download Powerwatch to monitor wholesale energy prices, and avoid excessive usage between 5pm – 9.30pm. By tracking wholesale prices, you can choose when the best time is to use high-consumption appliances such as heating and cooling, washing machines and dryers.
  • If you’re concerned about the current situation, you can talk to one of our team members on 1300 294 459 or shoot us an email on: info@powerclub.com.au

Amber Electric Coronavirus Support

amber-electric

New kid on the block, Amber Electric, is taking a page out of most retailers’ books by encouraging customers to get in contact if they are struggling to keep on top of bills. Co-Founder of Amber Electric, Dan Adams, said:

  • Amber customers that are at home during the day due to COVID-19 should save significantly as wholesale prices are typically lower in the middle of the day when there is more cheap solar power available in the grid.
  • We encourage any customers who are facing financial hardship to get in touch with us to discuss their bill.

Nectr Coronavirus Support

Nectr has assured customers that its Australian-based team will continue its level of service to help answer customer enquiries. Chief Marketing Officer, Karren Challoner-Miles, said:

  • At Nectr, our Energy Specialists (in our Sydney-based Customer Care team), who help customers manage their energy usage, billings and account queries, continue to be contactable regardless of whether they are working in the office or remotely as our systems are set up to manage both scenarios.
  • We have invested in remote working technology so that we can stay connected with each other and our customers, while also allowing us to quickly scale our Customer Care team as required.

Nectr’s Hardship Policy can be found at the bottom of its website.

Energy watchdogs monitoring retailers to protect customers

Energy regulators around Australia have launched a joint effort to collect data from retailers allowing them to closely monitor customers struggling to pay bills as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Australian Energy Regulator (AER) Chair, Clare Savage, has urged energy providers to cooperate with state and federal watchdogs.

In a statement, Ms Savage said:

“When people have lost their jobs or business through no fault of their own, it is only fair to expect that they be given any and all help possible, and that includes from their energy providers.

“We are asking retailers to provide more timely information to us about matters such as hardship, payment plans, disconnections and credit collection so we can monitor how customers are being supported during this time.

“This information will also give us the ability to respond quickly and appropriately to early warning signs of energy customers experiencing distress.”

What should I do if I can’t afford my energy bill?

If you’re having trouble finding the cash for your next energy bill, the most important thing is that you don’t bury your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. All energy retailers have hardship programs to support customers who are struggling financially and will be able to organise a payment plan with you.

Will my power be cut off if I don’t pay my bill?

As long as you communicate with your energy retailer and make an effort to manage your bills, your power will not be cut off. In most cases, households will only have their power disconnected if they do not pay their bills and do not engage with their retailer to explain the problems they are having and to organise a payment plan.

Is bill smoothing a good option?

Bill smoothing can be a good way to effectively manage your power bills over time, given that you’ll pay an agreed amount each billing period, usually for 12 months. This means you’ll avoid the peaks and troughs that come with seasonal energy usage, allowing you to better-manage your budget.

Share this article

Advertisement