For community workers
We offer advice and resources to support people who work with vulnerable clients.
We can work with you to help your clients by:
- arranging a hold on a disconnection or negotiating a reconnection
- checking a provider has followed the disconnection rules
- investigating high bills
- helping to negotiate payment plans
- investigating default listings
- providing information on rebates, concessions and financial (hardship) assistance.
If your client has a complaint about an electricity, gas or water provider, you can contact us on their behalf—you just need their verbal or written permission first.
Ask your client to download and submit our Authority to act form.
Before you contact us, you or your client need to contact the energy or water provider to discuss the problem and give them a chance to fix it. A lot of problems get fixed quickly this way.
If your client can’t pay a bill or is being disconnected, they should contact their provider as soon as possible to discuss their options, stop the debt increasing and ensure they stay connected.
They don’t have to tell the provider why they’re having financial problems, but it might help when they’re organising a payment plan.
Ask your client to keep any letters, emails and bills and make notes each time you or they contact the provider.
By law, all energy and water providers must have policies to help people in financial difficulty (hardship policies) and provide a copy if asked.
Most offer access to:
- payment plans based on a customer’s ability to pay
- energy-saving information and audits
- information about financial assistance, including the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS).
Contact the retailer to discuss the programs or assistance they may have.
Read more about concessions on the Queensland Government website.
There are rules about when energy providers can and can’t disconnect a customer’s supply.
They can’t disconnect a customer’s electricity and gas supply if:
- someone living at the customer’s residence is registered for life support equipment
- the customer is meeting their payment plan
- the customer has told their provider they’ve applied for a rebate, concession or relief assistance, and they’re waiting on a decision
- it’s Friday, the weekend, a public holiday, the day before a public holiday, between 20 and 31 December, or before 8am or after 3pm on any other day
- the amount the customer owes is less than the minimum amount they’d need to owe to be disconnected
- the customer has made a complaint with us about the reason for the proposed disconnection.
Note: Water can’t be disconnected, but the supply can be severely restricted.
Read more about disconnection rules:
If a customer doesn’t pay their energy or water bill, it may be recorded on their credit report if it’s $150 or more and at least 60 days after the due date.
Contact us for more information about when defaults can be listed with a credit reporting agency.
Read more about credit reporting on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.