Each year, the Essential Services Commission reviews the ways that metropolitan water businesses help customers experiencing financial hardship. The Commission produces annual hardship reports that assess customer use of a water supplier’s hardship program, applicable concessions, instalment plans and additional allowances.
To collect information for this report, water businesses report to the Commission on a number of quality and quantity based measures, such as:
- whether customers are aware that assistance is available
- the number of customers in hardship programs who are meeting their payment plans
- feedback from customers who are supported by hardship programs
The most positive results from the results related to payment extensions (22 per cent increase), instalment plans (20 per cent increase) and Utility Relief Grant applications (82 per cent increase). All metropolitan businesses now offer payment terms that are more likely to reflect a customers’ capacity to pay.