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Affordability biggest issue for Broken Hill residents

The majority of complaints the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW receives from Broken Hill residents are about affordability, including payment difficulties, disconnection and high bills.

“Twenty per cent of complaints my office received from Broken Hill in the 2015/16 financial year were about payment difficulties,” Ombudsman, Janine Young, said.

Janine Young has a key piece of advice for consumers and small business owners trying to manage bills.

“Call your retailer and make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. Chances are if you are on a standard market contract, you’ll be paying more than you need to - and if you’re having trouble paying your bills and can’t work out a suitable arrangement with your supplier, call EWON on 1800 246 545.”

To compare offers, consumers should visit The Australian Energy Regulator’s free comparator website www.energymadeeasy.gov.au where they can view offers from electricity and gas retailers.

”The complaint trend in Broken Hill is consistent state-wide, with a growing number of customers seeking our assistance when they can’t pay their bills. This visit to Broken Hill gives me the opportunity to listen to the community and learn more about the issues they’re facing,” Janine Young said.

The Ombudsman will be Broken Hill between 1 and 5 August to present at a range of NSW Fair Trading events and attend an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Tenant Forum.

A high proportion of Broken Hill residents also contacted EWON after their power was disconnected.

“People facing disconnection should contact their supplier and ask about their financial assistance program, payment options or emergency assistance. If they cannot work out an arrangement with their supplier, they should contact my office for help,” Janine Young advised.

The Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW provides free, independent dispute resolution service for all electricity and gas customers and some water customers in NSW.