Energy industry’s plan to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and support customers
The energy sector is working together to ensure secure and reliable energy supplies during this pandemic.
Networks, generators and retailers are taking steps to ensure critical infrastructure and personnel can continue to operate in a rapidly changing environment.
Energy networks have announced a range of measure to support customers facing hardship during these unprecedented times.
Financial support for customers
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 networks in these states are predominantly privately owned so the measures are designed to complement other government initiatives and announcements.
Relief measures for South Australia, NSW and Victoria include:
- Network charges will be rebated for small business customers experiencing financial stress and who are mothballing as a result of COVID-19.
- For small retailers, network charges will be rebated for residential customers that go into default as a result of COVID-19.
- 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.
- We will 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.
- We will support retailers in not disconnecting any large business customer, without their agreement, before 31 July 2020, and potentially beyond, if that customer is on-selling energy to residential or small business customers (for example, in residential parks or retirement villages).
Frequently asked questions
Facilitated by Energy Networks Australia, participating network providers are working with retailers to finalise the detailed criteria and implementation. Networks are also liaising with customer representatives.
Network engagement with retailers on the network relief package is being assisted by the Australian Energy Council, who represent many retailers.
Other relief measures by governments
As the networks in these states are government-owned, support measures have been included in other government announcements.
The Tasmanian government has announced measures including energy price caps, freeze on disconnections due to hardship, waiving of the first quarterly bill after 1 April for small business customers. The Government will also establish a support fund to assist residential and small business customers through payment plans, freezing debt, bill relief and waiving fees and charges.
The Queensland Government has announced a $200 rebate on electricity and water bills for households, which will be provided through electricity bills and a freeze on disconnections. All small businesses who consume less than 100,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) will receive a $500 electricity rebate. There will also be a freeze on disconnections due to hardship.
The ACT Government has announced a one-off rebate for residential utility concession holders of $200 to help with their power bill.
The Western Australian Government has announced a range of stimulus measures including a freeze on household electricity fees and charges.
The Northern Territory Government announced a freeze on increases to household fees and charges until 1 July 2021. Businesses impacted may be eligible to receive 50% off their utility bills for the next six months.
What will change?
As an essential service, energy networks are currently exempt from certain operational restrictions put in place by governments around the country. However, there may be changes to certain activities.
If you are under isolation, have been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19 and require a network crew to attend your property, please contact your network provider so appropriate steps can be taken.
Visit the website of your local network via the tool below for more information.
There is a need to continue critical maintenance to protect lives, prevent damage to properties and keep the power on for the future.
Referred to as a planned outage, this critical preventive maintenance is needed to ensure customers continue to receive a reliable supply of energy. It means that the supply of electricity or gas will sometimes be temporarily interrupted so the work can be done safely and efficiently.