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Energy hardship assistance made available for small business and households

The Australian Energy Regulator has outlined financial assistance measures for householders and small businesses struggling to pay their energy bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not an easy time for small business,” says Energy Minister Angus Taylor, announcing the new measures on Afternoons with Deborah Knight.

“They need to be able to get relief on their electricity and energy bills, and that’s what this will allow.”

Hardship arrangements, previously available only to households, will now be an option for struggling small businesses – and it won’t affect your credit score.

“That means no disconnections, no late fees or interest charges, and no debt collection.”

The regulator’s Statement of Expectations sets out a range measures, including:

  • Waiving any disconnection, re-connection and/or contract break fees for small businesses which have gone into hibernation, along with daily supply charges to retailers, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020;
  • Offering all households and small businesses who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement;
  • Not disconnecting customers without their agreement before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond;
  • Deferring referral of any customer to a debt collection agency until at least 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond; and
  • Minimising the frequency and duration of planned outages for critical works, and providing as much notice as possible to assist households and businesses to manage during any outage.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview