UTILITIES

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

What’s changed?

Telecommunications providers have a issued a joint statement outlining measures to keep people connected through the pandemic. 
 

The measures include:

  • financial hardship assistance including the waiver of some late fees, interest charges and collection charges, and flexibility with modifying hardship plans if the person’s circumstances have changed

  • not disconnecting people in agreed repayment arrangements

    This page last updated on 01/06/20

  • not referring people in an agreed payment plan to a debt collection agency

  • Acknowledging the need to ensure everyone, including vulnerable people, remains connected.

  • Priority should be given to connections, service restoration, repairs and connection for those who need it most, such as Priority Assist customers.

Telecommunications providers have offered assistance for customers financially impacted by COVID-19.

Telecommunications providers now have 15 days instead of 10 days to respond to complaints.

The ability of providers and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) to provide assistance is affected because many of their employees are working from home. 

THE JOINT STATEMENT

The full details of the Joint Statement can be found here

  • The measures will be reviewed on 30 June 2020

  • It is recommended you refer to the Joint Statement when negotiating repayment arrangements for clients affected by COVID-19

  • Many of the commitments
    in the Joint Statement
    are already in the 
    Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

Telecommunications providers have also committed to making sure there are no significant service interruptions as a consequence of the pandemic.

 

ENERGY

What’s changed?

The Australian Energy Regulator has issued a Statement of Expectations for energy businesses. 

This page last updated on 03/08/20

The National Cabinet announced hardship provisions for energy on 9 April 2020. The principles (which are based on the Australian Energy Regulator Statement of Expectations) include:

  • Offering flexible payment options to all households in financial distress

  • Not disconnecting or restricting supply to those in financial stress

  • Deferring debt recovery proceedings and credit default listings

  • Waiving late fees and interest charges on debt

  • Minimising planned outages for critical works and for households and businesses to be given as much notice as possible during a planned outage

Many energy providers have published details of the assistance on offer. Check the website of your client’s energy provider. A list of assistance offered by providers is here.

Each State and Territory provides energy rebates, concessions and allowances. This assistance should be accessed if needed.

 

WATER

What’s changed?

The National Cabinet announced hardship provisions for water on
9 April 2020. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

This page last updated on 01/06/20

The principles include:

  • Flexible payment options available to all households in financial distress

  • Not disconnecting or restricting supply to those in financial stress

  • Deferring debt recovery proceedings and credit default listings

  • Waiving late fees and interest charges on debt

  • Minimising planned outages for critical works and giving households and businesses as much notice as possible of a planned outage

Many water providers have published details of the assistance on offer. Check the website of your client’s provider.
A list of assistance offered by providers is available here for comparison.

Each State and Territory provides rebates, concessions and allowances. This assistance should be accessed if needed.

TOLLS

A number of tolls in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland are managed by Linkt (a trademark of Transurban).  Originally due to end 30 September 2020, the Toll Credit Support Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2020 for Linkt toll road customers hardest hit financially by Covid-19.

 

The Toll Credit Support Scheme will provide eligible customers with up to three months of toll credit.  The toll credit applies to one vehicle per customer and will be applied directly to the eligible customer’s account for travel during the support period. Customers need to apply to participate in the scheme.

 

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for financial counsellors only. It is general information only. Financial counsellors must still tailor advice to their client’s individual circumstances. 

Copyright © 2020 Financial Counselling Australia. All rights reserved.​

FCA sincerely thanks Kat Lane. Liz Minter and Melinda Rene for their outstanding work in putting this site together.