Where can I get help with paying my utilities (gas, water, electricity) bills?

Contacting your utilities company

If you are having trouble paying your utilities bills, the first step is to call your utilities provider and speak to them about the available options for paying your bills. You may be able to set up a payment plan or participate in their internal hardship program. The major providers in the ACT are ACTEWAGL, Origin and Energy Australia.

You can access the ActewAGL website here. Or call 131 245.

You can access the Energy Australia website here. Or call 133 466 (Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm AEST).

You can access the Origin website here. Or call 13 24 61.

If you are not able to reach a realistic agreement with the utility provider directly, you can make an application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal – Energy and Water Division. More information on doing that can be found here.

A brochure about Hardship Applications at ACAT is available here.   ACAT also has a list of other Resources inclduing:

  • hardship assistance
  • regaulators

General complaints about utilities

From the ACAT website:

ACAT functions as the energy and water ombudsman for the ACT, and deals with complaints relating to utilities.

Before you contact us, you must first raise your issue with your utility company.

When contacting your utility company, write down details of the conversation (including the name of the person you spoke to, time of the call and reference number). You should tell the utility company what the problem is and how you want it fixed.

If this does not resolve your issue:

        • ask to speak with a senior officer, manager, or be referred to the utility company’s complaints resolution team
        • put your complaint in writing, either by email or mail, so that the utility has a detailed record of your complaint that you can both refer to later.

If you are not able to resolve your complaint with the utility, you can refer your complaint to ACAT.

The ACAT website has a comprehensive amount of information about the process for complaints.

Note that the ACAT cannot consider complaints against telecommunications utilities such as Telstra, Optus or Transact. These complaints should be directed to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058.

Energy efficiency information, referrals and Resources

There are a number of programs in the ACT designed to provide people with information and education about energy efficiency. Some of these programs provide home energy audits which may assist you to discover ways you can save energy and keep your utilities bills down.

Home Energy Assessment Program

The ST Vincent de Paul Outreach Program provides assistance to low income households in the ACT to reduce their energy and water bills.  The Home Energy Assessment program assists low income households with education and support to reduce their energy bills.  An Energy Efficiency Outreach Officer visits people in their homes and provides a free assessment to determine the best ways to reduce their energy bills and make their household environment more comfortable. This can include help to seal gaps which allow heat to escape from the home, providing heated throw blankets to use instead of heaters, or encouraging the use of clotheslines or indoor clothes drying racks as opposed to dryers. Where appropriate, the program has also assisted in the replacement of old fridges with newer, more efficient models.  For more information – info@svdp-cg.org.au, or Ph – 6234 7408

ACTSmart

ACTSmart is a one-stop-shop for ACT Government rebates and assistance that will help you save energy and water, reduce waste and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Go to the wesbite, email – actsmart@act.gov.au or ph – 13 22 81

Reviewed: 28/6/19

 

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Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a free service to the public. Please note that the information on this site is only relevant to renters in the ACT. This website provides information about the law designed to help users understand their legal rights and obligations. However legal information is not the same as legal advice (the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances). Although we make all efforts to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult the Tenants Advice Service for advice specific to your circumstances. You are also free to consult an independent solicitor for a second opinion. Please note that this website is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions and the transmission of this information is NOT intended to create a solicitor-client relationship between the Tenants’ Union ACT and members of the public. Tenants’ Union ACT makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.  Please also note when the page was last updated, as the law may have changed.