Open mobile menu

Community workers and advocates

Representing your client: what information do I need?

You will need to get verbal or written authority from your client in order to discuss their account with the retailer or EWON. In most cases your client can give this permission by phone or by filling out an authority to act form.

Making a complaint to EWON on behalf of your client

You should try to sort out your client's problem with the supplier before you contact us. If you are unable to resolve the issue you can lodge a complaint with us, at which point you also need to submit an EWON Authority to Act Form. Please note this is separate from the Authority to Act Form that you will need to complete when dealing with suppliers.

Dealing with suppliers on behalf of your client

A new standard Authority to Act form is now available for use by community workers where verbal authority with a client's energy or water supplier has not been possible:

Sensitive information should only be provided with your client’s consent (eg if they are having difficulty paying their bill due to serious illness or unemployment).

Energy companies must offer customers who are scheduled for disconnection the option to enter a payment plan as an alternative to being disconnected.

Your client cannot be disconnected:

  • on a Friday, a weekend, a public holiday or the day before a public holiday, or before 8am or after 3pm any other day
  • if they have an appointment to be assessed for EAPA vouchers
  • if someone in their house runs a life support machine and this is noted on their account
  • if the supplier has not provided them (in writing) with the option of entering into a payment plan
  • if the debt is for less than $300, so long as the customer has agreed with the retailer to pay that amount.

In addition, for customers in financial hardship, retailers must offer two payment plans in the twelve month period before disconnecting supply.

Disconnection: what can I do?

If your client is facing disconnection or having trouble getting reconnected:

  • contact the company to discuss a payment plan
  • ask the retailer about their customer assistance program
  • check that your client is receiving the appropriate rebates, eg the Low Income Household Rebate
  • help your client locate EAPA (the retailer cannot disconnect your client if they are waiting for an appointment for EAPA assessment)
  • refer your client to a financial counsellor to help work out an affordable payment plan.

If you are unable to locate EAPA distributors, or if you cannot negotiate a reasonable and affordable payment plan with your client’s provider, contact us for help.

Disconnection: what can EWON do?
We can check that the retailer has followed the disconnection rules and request a hold on an impending disconnection while your client locates assistance (such as EAPA) or a realistic payment plan is negotiated. If your client has been disconnected, we can try to negotiate reconnection based on an agreed payment plan.

My client has missed payments: can they be disconnected?
If your client enters a payment arrangement then misses a payment, they risk being disconnected or facing debt collection action. It is important for them to contact and notify the company if they can’t make a payment or keep to their payment plan.

Customer assistance programs: how can they help?

Energy companies are required to provide an assistance program to help customers in financial difficulty. These programs are sometimes called hardship programs and can:

  • protect your client from disconnection
  • offer tailored payment plans based on your client’s capacity to pay and energy usage
  • review your client’s account
  • provide energy saving information and audits.

Learn more about customer assistance programs here.

EAPA vouchers

Not enough EAPA vouchers: where do I get more?
If your agency is starting to run low on EAPA vouchers, contact the number on the EAPA vouchers.

Unused EAPA vouchers: do they need to be returned?
Yes. It is important to return unused EAPA vouchers to your organisation’s head office or to the address on the EAPA vouchers.

Tenants

Share houses: who is responsible for the bills?
If your client’s name is on the account they may be liable for any amount owing, not just what they believe is their share. A person cannot be held responsible for an account in someone else’s name. However, if the account holder moves out your client can be held responsible for energy usage from the date the account holder moved out.

Your client has left the property: can they be billed?
If your client was the account holder they can continue to be billed if they did not close their account before they left the property. However, they are only liable for consumption up until it can be shown that another person moved into the property.

Backbilling: how far back can they bill?

If the company has made an error and undercharged your client or not sent them a bill, they can only issue a backbill for a maximum of 9 months. The company must also give your client an equivalent time to pay if requested. For example, if they are backbilled for six months usage, your client is entitled to six months to repay the debt. This extension is not automatically provided by a supplier, but the extension must be provided if requested by the customer.

Energy contracts and marketing: what if your client has signed?

Some customers have experienced difficulties managing their accounts after they have signed an energy contract. We have received complaints about limited methods of payment, delayed billing and problems with transfers.

We have also received complaints about misleading marketing and pressure tactics by marketers. If your client is experiencing problems with their contract, they should contact the company in the first instance. If they are not satisfied with the company’s response, they can contact us to make a complaint.

Hot water systems and high bills: who do they contact?

Some tenants have complained about receiving high bills because of a faulty hot water service. While we are able to investigate the accuracy of high bills, we have no jurisdiction in disputes between landlords and tenants.

If your client has a dispute with their landlord over a high bill resulting from a faulty hot water service, they will need to contact NSW Fair Trading on 133 220 or a Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service.

Your client should continue to make payments towards their account or set up a payment plan with the company. If they cannot negotiate a realistic payment plan with the company, they can contact us.

Your client disputes an account: what should they do?

 

If your client disputes a bill or account they should contact the company to discuss the problem. If they are not satisfied with the outcome or the company’s response, they can call us.

Some disputes may take time to resolve. Your client should continue to make some payments towards their account or set up a payment plan with the retailer until the matter is resolved. If they can't negotiate an affordable payment plan, contact us.

Contacts for customer assistance programs

*For advocates and customers on the program only. Customers enquiring about the program should phone the company’s call centre.

Energy retailer
Dedicated Community Welfare Organisation
Hardship unit number
General inquiries

ActewAGL

 

Staying Connected
1300 138 574

131 493

AGL


 

Staying Connected
1300 659 925

131 245

Australian Power & Gas


 

Hardship Program
1300 478 760

133 298

Country Energy (Origin Energy)

 

Country Support Program
1300 651 705

132 356

Dodo Power & Gas

 

Hardship Program
1300 374 733

1300 374 757

EnergyAustralia (ex Ausgrid)

Dedicated CWO
1300 309 016

Energy Assist Program
1300 723 492

131 535

EnergyAustralia (ex TRUenergy)

 

Hardship Program
1800 558 643

133 466

Lumo Energy

 

EASE Program
1800 989 321

1300 115 866

Momentum Energy

 

Keeping Momentum
1300 415 375

1300 662 778

Origin Energy

Community Liaison Team
1800 626 320

 

132 461

PowerDirect

 

Staying Connected
1300 659 925

1300 307 366

Redenergy

 

Customer Care
(03) 9425 2728

131 806

Sanctuary Energy

 

 

1800 109 099

Simply Energy

 

Bill Assist
1800 094 121

13 88 08