If you are having trouble paying your gas or electricity bill, the first step is to speak to your energy company. All energy retailers in NSW have programs to help customers with financial difficulties to pay their energy bills. Your energy company's phone number will be on your bill.
Energy Accounts Payment Assistance scheme (EAPA)
You may also be eligible for financial help through the NSW Government's Energy Accounts Payment Assistance Scheme (EAPA). This scheme funds the provision of EAPA vouchers to people having trouble paying their energy bills as the result of an emergency or crisis situation. The vouchers are provided to participating community welfare organisations - including St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Anglicare, the Smith Family, Lifeline and some Indigenous, migrant, neighbourhood and community centres. The $30 vouchers can only be used to pay natural gas or electricity bills. Customers need to apply to one of these organisations which will consider their circumstances and, if appropriate, provide assistance. The organisation assesses the customer's situation and determines each case based on individual circumstances.
Click here for further information on the EAPA scheme (including a list of participating community welfare organisations), or phone the Energy Information Line on 1300 136 888.
The NSW Government has developed new requirements and a strengthened framework for retailers' customer hardship charters and payment plans.
Energy retailers are now required to develop, implement and publish detailed Customer Hardship Charters outlining ways to identify a hardship customer, and any suitable Government concessions that may apply, together with flexible payment options and appropriate financial counseling services.
A residential customer experiencing financial difficulties must now be provided with two offers of assistance under their retailer's payment plan in a year, instead of one, before being disconnected.
If you are having trouble paying your bill, contact your energy retailer and ask them about the most suitable payment plan option for your circumstances.