Financial Relief for Customers

May 13, 2020

We are supporting homes and small businesses impacted financially by COVID-19 by providing relief from network charges on their electricity bills.

 

There are two types of charges on your electricity bill.

  • A supply charge is a fixed daily cost for bringing electricity to your home or business. This includes our costs for operating and maintaining the poles and wires and meters that make up the electricity distribution network.

 

  • A consumption charge which is measured in kilowatt hours and varies depending on how much electricity you use and what tariff you are on, like off-peak, peak or fixed.

 

Because distribution networks like us manage your electricity meter, we provide the energy retailers (the company who sends your electricity bill) with the data on your consumption for billing purposes.

 

Now we are working in cooperation with energy retailers to administer a relief offer to make it as simple as possible for our customers.

 

Relief for residential customers

 

We are offering relief from network charges for customers experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.

 

To be eligible, you will be a customer who since 1 March 2020, has received relevant government benefits or entered a payment plan or hardship arrangement with your energy retailer.

 

If you are eligible then:

  • contact your energy retailer and let them know you are experiencing financial hardship at this time and find out how they can help
  • have a copy of your most recent bill handy so you can quote your account details.

 

You’ll then automatically receive the relief through your energy retailer’s normal billing cycle. This could include either deferred payments or rebates (depending on your energy retailer) for network charges from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.

 

Please also be reassured, we will not disconnect any residential customers who may be having financial difficulties without their agreement before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond.

Rebates for small business customers

If you own or operate a business that has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions then you may be eligible for relief from network charges which are one of the costs itemised on your electricity bill.

 

Rebates for network charges incurred between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 are offered to businesses which:

  • were on a small business network tariff with their energy retailer as of 1 April 2020
  • consumed less than 40MWh in total over the 12 months to 1 April 2020
  • have used less than 25% of their historical average consumption between 1 April and 30 June.

 

If you are eligible for the rebate then:

  • contact your energy retailer and let them know you are experiencing financial hardship at this time
  • have a copy of your most recent bill handy so you can quote your account details.

 

Rebates will be processed in arrears of monthly invoicing. So that means you keep paying your electricity bills under the normal billing cycle but will see a rebate on subsequent bills received up to the end of September 2020.

Other ways we are supporting small business customers are by:

  • agreeing with energy retailers to not disconnect any small business customers who may be in financial stress without their agreement before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond
  • deferring referrals of customers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions, or credit default listing until at least 31 July 2020
  • waiving disconnection, reconnection and/or contract break fees for small businesses that have ceased operation, along with daily supply charges to retailers, during any period of disconnection until at least 31 July 2020.

 

In these ways, we aim to support businesses as they experience trading constraints as well as during the months when hopefully they’ll be getting back to business.

We estimate there are more than 40,000 small businesses in the CitiPower network and 88,000 in the Powercor network that are potentially eligible for the rebate offered.