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. There are two main providers in the ACT; they are ACTEW AGL 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).

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.

General complaints about utilities

From the ACAT website:

Utilities operating in the ACT are required to comply with the Utilities Act, associated Codes and customer contracts. Some examples of complaints against utilities are:

  • Failure by a utility to comply with its legal obligations in relation to billing, account payment, disconnecting supply, etc.
  • Failure to manage network operations appropriately, such as failing to make good any damage to your property, faulty meter readings, failure to give notice of planned outages and unauthorised entry to your property.
  • Problems arising from changing your electricity or gas supplier such as misleading marketing behaviour, billing problems, interruption to supply.
  • Charging an excessive capital contribution for connection to supply.
  • Failure to protect your personal information.
  • Disputes about the feed-in tariff.

If you have a complaint like this, or about any other issue to do with your utility provider, you should contact them directly first. If you are not happy with the response you can make a complaint about your utility provider directly to ACAT. More information on how to do so can be found here.

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 and referrals

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 Outreach Program

The Outreach Program provides assistance to low income households in the ACT to reduce their energy and water bills.

Belconnen Community Service  Ph: 6264 0200

Communities@Work  Ph: 6126 9000 or 6293 6500

Northside Community Service  Ph: 6257 2255

The Society of St Vincent de Paul  Ph: 6234 7424

YWCA of Canberra  Ph: 6173 7100

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.

Contact Number: 13 22 81

Reviewed: 3/12/13

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a free service to the public.

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.

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