Support for customers impacted by COVID-19
Updated 30 October 2020
If you're an energy or water customer affected by COVID-19, find out what assistance you might be eligible for:
COVID-19 is having an impact on all areas of our lives. For some people, it will affect their ability to earn a living and pay their bills.
To support you in these uncertain times, we’ve put together some information on assistance available for energy and water customers.
Household relief package
The Queensland Government has announced a $300 million household relief package that gave Queensland households $250 off their utility bills. The latest $50 rebate was scheduled to appear on electricity bills from September. You don’t have to do anything to receive the rebate—it’ll be credited to your electricity bill automatically.
If you have not received your utility relief payment on your power bill, contact your electricity retailer.
Existing concessions and rebates
You may be eligible for a concession or rebate:
- Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS): a one-off payment to help people who are experiencing a crisis or unforeseen emergency and can’t pay their electricity bill
- electricity and gas rebates: rebates for eligible pensioners and seniors.
Energy provider assistance
All energy providers have existing payment assistance options for people struggling to pay their electricity bills (often known as hardship programs).
If you’re experiencing financial difficulty and having trouble paying a bill, call your electricity or gas company first to discuss how they can help.
The energy industry has responded to COVID-19 with commitments to customers experiencing hardship:
- The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released its Statement of expectations of energy businesses in March to ease the pressure on energy customers. In July, it extended this support in its updated Statement of expectations of energy businesses. The third update to the Statement of expectation of energy businesses was released on 30 October, extending support measures to 31 March, 2021.
- The Energy Council responded by reconfirming its commitment to helping energy customers experiencing hardship.
- In October, EWOQ hosted two webinars (one for south east Queensland and one for regional Queensland) in conversation with energy retailers and distributors to discuss how to support consumers affected by COVID-19. View the recordings here.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the AER expects energy businesses to:
- offer all households and small businesses in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement
- not disconnect customers in financial stress without their agreement before 31 March 2021 and potentially beyond
- defer referring any customer to a debt collection agency for recovery actions or credit default listing until at least 31 March 2021
- waive any fees for disconnection, re-connection and contract break for small businesses that have ceased operation, and daily supply charges to retailers, during any disconnection period, until at least 31 March 2021.
The Energy Charter has released a list of COVID-19 customer resources (PDF, 187KB) for further resources and support.
Water provider assistance
Water providers should also be able to assist you with payment plans or extensions.
Contact your provider for more information:
Critical works during COVID-19
Critical electricity and gas works are still happening to ensure the lights stay on and gas keeps flowing during the pandemic crisis. This fact sheet by Energy Networks Australia outlines what critical works are, what they mean for customers and why they will continue during this pandemic.
How EWOQ can help
Contact your energy or water provider first if you will have trouble paying your bill or have any other issue.
If you’re unhappy with their response or they can’t help you, contact us to make a complaint:
We can’t discuss complaints in person at this time, as our team is working from home.