Each month during the coronavirus pandemic we are reporting on the number of energy customers who are on payment plans and enquiring about assistance with paying bills.
Energy customer support during the coronavirus pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, we are regularly requesting data from electricity and gas retailers on the number of energy customers who are:
- on payment plans
- enquiring about assistance with paying bills.
We are providing information about the data we receive on this page.
Data is reported by retailers on a voluntary basis and not audited by us.
Key findings: April 2021
During the week ending 25 April 2021, we received submissions from 26 energy retailers, covering 98 per cent of Victorian electricity customers.
- There were 1,951 electricity and 371 gas disconnections for non-payment between 1 and 30 April 2021 (residential and small-business customers), as reported by 11 retailers.
- There are fewer residential customers enquiring about assistance in April, compared to the figures in March.
- Average call waiting times increased and are at their highest levels since March 2020. This increase has likely been caused by closures over public holidays in April and lockdown restrictions in countries where call centres are operating for certain retailers.
- The overall number of residential customers receiving tailored assistance has decreased in April. We note that:
- the number of customers on tailored assistance who cannot pay for their ongoing usage decreased in April from the previous month. Although the number of customers has decreased, the average arrears of these customers remained unchanged and at its highest level in April for both electricity and gas.
- the number of customers on tailored assistance who can pay for their ongoing usage decreased in April. The average arrears of these customers also decreased for the first time since April 2020, but still remains high.
- The number of small business customers on payment assistance remained steady in April and is at a similar level to July and August 2020. The average arrears for small business customers increased for electricity in April but is lower compared to the peak in late November.
- The number of other residential customers with arrears (excluding those receiving payment assistance and deferrals) was the highest in March 2021 for electricity and in December 2020 for gas. This was a decrease compared to the previous month and is lower compared to the peaks. The average arrears for these residential customers are currently at similar levels to mid-July 2020.
- The number of missed bills for residential and small business customers decreased compared to the previous month but remained high compared to levels in 2020.