Water businesses must let you know what help is available if you find yourself struggling to pay your water bills.
Difficulties paying your water bills
There are many reasons why you might find yourself struggling to pay your water bills.
Your water business can help you manage your bills and stay on top of things.
Staying on top of things
If you need help staying on top of your water bills, you can ask for assistance before things get out of control. At this stage, your water business must provide flexible payment plans according to your ability to pay.
Struggling to pay
If you are having difficulties paying your bills, your water business must offer additional help including:
- payment options such as flexible payment plans
- extension of the due date for some or all of an amount owed on your bill
- waiving or suspending interest payments on outstanding amounts in some circumstances (as advised by your water business)
- referrals to government funded assistance programs such as the Utility Relief Grant Scheme
- referrals to a free, independent financial counsellor
- advice on how to reduce your water usage.
If your payment difficulty is part of economic abuse you are experiencing, or other forms of family violence, your water business can also provide you with a number for a specialist family violence support service.
Supply restrictions and legal action
Water businesses cannot restrict your water supply or take legal action for unpaid debt if you:
- owe less than $200 and have paid a least one of your bills in full for the past 12 months
- are currently on a payment plan and meeting your payments
- are eligible for a concession card and have applied for a concession card and the application is outstanding
- are a tenant and the amount due is owed by your landlord
- have a pending claim against your landlord about your water bill at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal
- have an unresolved complaint with your water business about your water bill.
Your water business must also take your personal circumstances into account such as:
- the loss of employment
- family violence or relationship breakdown
- serious illness
- if you are affected by a natural disaster
- death in the family
- unexpected expenses.
Ask for help
Talk to your water business as soon as you know you may have trouble paying your water bills.
If you have a complaint that you are not able to resolve with your water business, you can call the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria on 1800 500 509.
If you have a question about how water businesses follow our rules, you can contact us.