Your right to get help
If you are having trouble paying your energy bill, there are rules which mean your energy company must let you know what help is available.
You should contact your energy company first and ask to speak to their Hardship Team. This team will be able to discuss your assistance options, such as paying smaller amounts more often or delaying payment of a bill. Anyone with a payment assistance plan in place, can’t be disconnected or be pursued for debt – so it’s vital that you reach out to your company if you are struggling to pay your bills.
To learn more about your right to assistance under Victoria’s nation-leading Payment Difficulty Framework, visit the Essential Services Commission
Take control of your energy bills
We know that energy bills can be stressful and confusing. That’s why we’ve developed this simple four-step guide to help you save energy and reduce your costs:
- check your energy concessions
- make sure you are on your company’s best offer or the Victorian Default Offer
- apply simple energy saving tips to keep warm and stay cool
- ask your company for help if you’re having trouble paying your bills
Visit the Energy Info Hub or learn more below.
The Consumer Policy Research Centre is delivering free online events to help you learn these four simple steps for reducing your electricity and gas bills.
These 35-minute events are led by independent energy experts who will show you how to cut down your bills, and answer any questions you may have about your energy costs.
To register for an event, visit the Energy Info Hub.
Caring for concession card holders
If you’re an eligible concession card holder, there are many discounts and rebates you can apply for to help with your bills. This includes the annual electricity concession and the winter gas concession, which each provide a 17.5% discount on energy bills. Help is also available for people with medical issues like life support and those needing medical cooling. There’s even the excess gas concession, which you may be able to claim if your winter bill is higher than expected.
If you are currently receiving Centrelink's JobSeeker payments, you would have been sent a Health Care Card and are eligible for energy and water concessions from the Victorian Government.
Eligible concession card holders are also entitled to a discount on their water and sewerage bills. Find out about water concessions or contact your local water corporation as shown on your bill.
Grants to help with overdue bills
If you live in a low-income household or are experiencing hardship, you may be eligible to apply for a grant to help with overdue electricity, gas and water bills under Victoria’s Utility Relief Grant Scheme. Grants of up to $650 are available for each electricity, gas or water utility in a two-year period, or $1,300 over two years if you only use a single source of energy, such as electricity. This applies to card holders as well as low income renters and homeowners.
Find a cheaper energy offer
You should check with your enegry company to make sure you're on the best offer available to you.
You can also compare this offer with deals from other energy companies by using the Victorian Government's energy price comparison site, the Victorian Energy Compare website. You could save around $330 on your energy bills in the first year by swtching to a cheaper deal.
The Victorian Default Offer is also available to you as a fair price for energy set by the government. Ask your energy company how this compares to their best offer. Find out more about the Victorian Default offer at Energy.vic.gov.au
Your right to good service
If you’ve complained to your energy company about the service they’re offering you and nothing has been resolved, you can lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) (EWOV) – and they’ll investigate. Phone EWOV on 1800 500 509 or visit EWOV
Need more support?
The Victorian Government has partnered with community organisations to deliver support programs for anyone who needs help with their energy bills. These programs are available online and over the phone.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence has launched a new energy support program to provide eligible Victorians with help and advice on their energy bills.
To find out more about the program and if you're eligible, visit the Brotherhood of St Laurence website or call 1800 830 029 (free call). Translated information for people from diverse backgrounds is also available.
Financial counsellors are also available to provide free, independent and confidential phone or face-to-face counselling sessions through the Financial Counselling Program administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria. This program provides support to people experiencing financial difficulty, including managing energy bills.
Find a financial counsellor near you by using the 'find a financial counsellor' map at www.moneysmart.vic.gov.au
You can also contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
Page last updated: 22/10/20