COVID-19 – Manage Your Energy Bills

With another cold winter around the corner and the household electricity usage rising to combat the chill; we wanted to share some information on regulations that all gas and energy providers must abide by, and energy bill relief schemes that the NSW Government has introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regulatory Information:

Under Retail Law in NSW, electricity & gas energy retailers must implement customer hardship policies for their residential customers.

The purpose of a retailer’s customer “hardship policy” (or similarly named policy) is to identify customers experiencing payment difficulties (due to hardship) and to assist those customers to better manage their energy bills.

Hardship factors cover items such as

  • death in the family,
  • household illness,
  • unemployment &
  • reduced income (the last two of which are most presently applicable).

Energy retailers have a requirement to ensure customers can access hardship support when needed. provides essential information for billing and payment help in the first instance:

  1. If you or your business are having trouble paying your bill you should call your electricity or gas provider. Their phone number is on your bill.
  2. Ask about what hardship support they can offer you. They have staff trained to assist.
  3. Ask to go on a payment plan to pay your bill over a longer time or make small regular payments.
  4. Stay on the plan to protect yourself from disconnection, interest payments and late fees.
  5. Ask if there are government concessions or rebates to help you at home or at work.

They also provide tips and tricks on how to save energy for your household or business.

As a result of the financial pressure that COVID-19 is causing to thousands of residents, many energy retailers are acknowledging the difficult times ahead and urge customers experiencing difficulties paying their bills to get in touch with their supplier.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman in your jurisdiction may also be of assistance and they encourage you to contact your energy or gas provider for information about their affordability programmes. In addition to energy retailers’ support, you may be eligible for government support.

Energy Accounts Payment Assistance Scheme:

Households struggling to pay their energy bills during COVID-19 now have access to additional financial support directly through Service NSW and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, thanks to a $30 million boost to the government’s emergency support Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme.

For ease of access, residential energy customers can now apply for EAPA vouchers directly through Service NSW and will be called for an assessment without having to leave the home.

During the assessment for EAPA vouchers, NSW Government representatives will also contact energy retailers with customers to assist with getting customers onto hardship plans, which will further protect customers during this extraordinarily difficult time.

If you’re having difficulty paying your household energy bill because of a short-term financial crisis or emergency, such as unexpected medical bills, or reduced income due to COVID-19, you could be eligible for Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) $50 vouchers.

EAPA vouchers are sent electronically to your energy retailer and used to credit your home electricity or gas account. EAPA vouchers can’t be used to put your energy account into credit.


To meet the requirements for EAPA vouchers you must:

  • have an electricity or natural gas account for a NSW residential supply address, which is your primary place of residence
  • be the electricity or natural gas account holder (your account and bill must be in your name)
  • be experiencing a short-term financial crisis or emergency that has impacted your ability to pay your current residential energy bill (in full or in part) due to financial hardship.

You’re not eligible if you:

  • use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) bottles for your gas supply; however, you may be eligible for gas rebates
  • are residing in embedded networks (e.g. some strata plans, retirement villages and residential parks)
  • have already paid your energy bill. You can apply for EAPA vouchers if you’re still experiencing a short-term financial crisis or emergency when you receive your next energy bill.

For more information on NSW Government concessions, rebates, and assistance visit: