#BetterTogether – As times get tougher, Energy Charter retailers offer extra support to vulnerable customers

With the Federal Government’s JobKeeper coming to a close, many Australians are set to experience tougher times ahead due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. And at this critical time, Energy Charter retailers are offering extra support to assure customers that help is still available, putting Energy Charter commitments into action.

A number of Energy Charter retailers are continuing to offer support to their customers and communities impacted by COVID-19.

Aurora Energy, Tasmania’s largest energy retailer, is trialling a new payment support program as part of a broader “We can help” campaign to incentivise engagement with Aurora’s Your Energy Support (YES) hardship program. The YES program helps customers to get on top of their bills when they need it most, offering affordable payment plans, energy efficiency advice and protection from disconnection.

From March 2021, customers on Aurora’s YES program, who are meeting their payment commitments at their quarterly review, will now receive a credit to the value of their next instalment (up to $200). Effectively, Aurora will make one payment on the customer’s behalf each quarter for the next six months to help them get back on track.  

“We recognise that there are still challenging times ahead for homes and businesses in Tasmania due to the pandemic, and we’re committed to doing what we can to assist,” Chief Operating Officer, Kane Ingham said.

The extra support is being promoted alongside existing initiatives, including Aurora’s $5M COVID-19 Customer Support Fund with the key message being, “We can help”.

“The new payment support program is designed to help those customers who need it the most. It’s also a reminder to those who haven’t been in contact with us that support is available – all you need to do is ask,” Mr Ingham said.

This is how an agile business response puts the Energy Charter principles directly into effect for better outcomes for customers. To find out more about extra support available, please visit your energy retailer’s website.

#BetterTogether – COVID-19 Customer Vulnerability Insights – Wave 2, Q1, 2021

Supported by Energy Charter signatories Jemena, ActewAGL, Energy Queensland, Essential Energy and Powershop, together with Simply Energy, we are excited to share the Report and Placemat for the Wave 2, COVID-19 Consumer Vulnerability Research – Quarter 1, March 2021.

This research was conducted by Deloitte to understand the degree of customer vulnerability, as well as customers’ consumption and sentiment towards energy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic via survey between February 11th to February 21st 2021. It relevantly found:

  • 36% of people are optimistic about Australia’s economic direction
  • 50% of people agreed that COVID-19 had increased their stress levels
  • 41% of people on JobSeeker reported that financial stress keeps them up at night
  • 36% of people indicated that they are spending more on energy bills over the last 3 months
  • A range of survey responses are trending positively (when compared to Wave 1), pointing to signs of recovery
  • The pandemic has increased stress levels for many, and significant concern about the lasting impacts of COVID-19 will see that trend likely continue
  • The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt more significantly by vulnerable groups. But it is JobSeekers who are falling further into hardship
  • There is an upward trend in both those receiving and potentially needing support, in response to the increase in energy bills and the balancing of household spend

The snapshot Placemat and full Report are now available on Energy Charter website.

The Energy Charter March News Update

Message from the Incoming Chair of the CEO Council, Frank Tudor MD at Jemena, Q1 Customer Vulnerability Research CEO Insights Panel, Wendy Miller at QCOSS, National Customer Code Rocket Launch, #BetterTogether Better Landowner Engagement and Better Practice Customer Engagement Toolkit Read More