Many of the families that visit us at this time of year have difficulty in paying their energy or water bill. We attempt to provide information for them regarding their options.

Companies must assist you- By law, all retail energy and water companies operating in Victoria must have programs to help people who can’t pay their bills. Ring your company and ask to be put through to the customer assistance or hardship team.

Paying by instalments – If you’re not able to pay your bill, the company should offer you a plan so you can pay by instalments. In working out your payment plan, the company must consider how much energy or water you use and what you can afford to pay. You could also think about putting aside some money between bills to help when they arrive.

Most companies offer Centrepay. This is a way that you can arrange through Centrelink – or your company – to have some of your Centrelink payment taken out fortnightly before you get it. Most energy and water companies also have payment cards – you can use these to make small regular payments towards your bills at the post office. This is often called ‘Easyway’.

Facing Disconnection? Here’s what you need to do:
Ring the company that sends your bills straight away. Ask what you have to do to be reconnected – or avoid being cut off or restricted.
You will probably be asked to pay part of what you owe. If you can’t afford to pay the amount the company wants, ask about its hardship program and ask for a payment plan.

You should be able to work out a payment plan, but the company will probably want you to pay part of the bill first. Setting up a payment plan may be harder if you’ve had payment plans before and they haven’t worked.

As a rule don’t let the debt become too large before approaching the company for a payment plan.