Customer seeks assistance with arrears from previous account

Isobel, a sole parent with a toddler not receiving child support, was living in a private rental while on the waitlist for public housing. She came to a bills support event in Blacktown looking for help in managing a debt (arrears) from a closed account connected with her previous address. Her provider would not allow her to pay less than $50 per fortnight but she said she would struggle to pay this much.

Outcome: We found that her concession details had not been applied to the closed or current account, even though this had been given to the provider. We called her provider on the day and it confirmed it would add her concession and backdate it.

We also advised Isobel she had two options with the debt from her previous address:

  1. Transfer the debt to her current account and then apply for Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) to be applied to that account. 
  2. Apply for debt relief – this requires a letter of recommendation from a financial counsellor, doctor or social worker.

Isobel decided on the second option and made an appointment with a social worker at Centrelink to organise debt relief.

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, contact your provider first to discuss your payment options. Read more about where to get help paying bills