Each month during the coronavirus pandemic we are reporting on the number of customers who are receiving or applying for various forms of support from their water business.
Water customer support during the coronavirus pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, we are regularly requesting data from Victorian water businesses on the number of water customers who:
- are on payment instalment plans
- are in hardship programs
- have received a water business hardship grant
- have applied for the utility relief grant
- have their water supply restricted.
We are providing information about the data we receive on this page.
Each week data is reported by all 15 urban water businesses.
Key findings from our summary report covering data to end of May:
Victoria’s water businesses continue to provide additional support to customers during the pandemic
Water businesses have been proactive in reaching out to customers, including small business and other non-residential customers, to ensure they are aware of existing support programs as well as new support measures developed in response to the pandemic.
Weekly utility relief grant applications increased in May compared to April, and continues to increase in regional areas
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the weekly application rate for metropolitan customers has remained well above the pre-pandemic baseline and has continued to follow a pattern of periodical peaks and troughs. In regional Victoria, the average number of weekly applications has increased from 124 in April to 170 in May.
The total number of customers in hardship programs has increased in May
The total number of customers in hardship programs increased in May by 298 (1.1 per cent) to 28,313 at the end of the month. There was an increase of 259 in the number of metropolitan customers in hardship programs, bringing the total number to 22,269. The total number of regional customers increased by 39, to 6,044.
The number of customers receiving hardship grants each increased slightly in May compared to the April average
In May, the average number of customers receiving hardships grants each week was 496, four more than the weekly average in April. In metropolitan Victoria the weekly average increased by 21 to 226, while the weekly average in regional Victoria fell from 267 in April, to 250 in May.
The number of payment instalment plans decreased in May
The total number of payment instalment plans across the state decreased by 252 (0.2 per cent) in May, to 149,541 at the end of the month.
Water businesses have stopped restricting customers’ water supply
At the end of May 2022, 38 customers across the state currently have their water supply restricted, a decrease of two since April 2022 and down from 212 when we first began collecting this data in April 2020.
View the full May report
Adopting national coronavirus support principles into water codes
In August 2020 we also amended our water customer service codes to include national support principles for customers facing hardship due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
On 1 July 2021, City West Water and Western Water integrated to form Greater Western Water.