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What support can I access if I’m struggling to pay my energy bills?

Find out more.

Many Australians are struggling under the pressure of rising electricity and gas bills as energy costs soar. We know times are tough, but you don’t need to go through this on your own. If you’re currently having trouble paying your bills, there are a range of support options open to you.  

Don’t wait until you can’t pay your bill. It’s best to seek help and act as soon as you know you will find it difficult to pay your energy bill. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can get a solution.  

Five tips if you’re finding it difficult to pay your energy bill  

1- Speak to your energy provider  

If you’re struggling to pay your electricity or gas bill, the first step is to speak with your energy provider and see what support they can offer you. Tell them you’re having a hard time and that you need support to pay your energy bill. You have a right to receive help. Under the Retail Law, all retailers must have a residential customer hardship program that explains how they can help you. Chat with your retailer as soon as you can so they can help straight away. 

While each program will look slightly different, some of the things your retailer might be able to help with include: 

  • Different ways you can pay your bill, including changing the frequency or timing of your payments. 
  • Finding out if you’re on the best energy plan for your home and your usage patterns. 
  • Payment assistance or payment matching.  
  • Suggestions on how to manage your energy use, reduce consumption, or become more energy efficient. 
  • Information on concessions, rebates, and relief schemes you might be eligible for.   

Your energy provider can’t disconnect you from your electricity or gas supply if you are in a hardship program and meeting its conditions.  

2- Find out what concessions you might be eligible for 

There are a range of concessions and rebates you might be eligible for from the federal, state, or territory governments. These often differ depending on your location. To be eligible for most rebates, you normally need to have a pensioner or concession card. You will need to check the requirements of each rebate to see if you are eligible.  

Important things to remember: 

  • If you’re a concession card holder, the energy bill must be registered in your name for you to be eligible to access the concession.  
  • If you move homes or switch energy providers, you’ll need to make sure the rebate has been applied to the new account.  
  • You may need to reapply for the rebates each year. 
  • If your household is registered for using a life support machine, you cannot be disconnected. 

We’ve developed a comprehensive list of energy concessions and rebates that federal, state, and territory governments are currently offering. Energy rebate and concession schemes change regularly. The options listed may not be an exhaustive list of all support available and are subject to change. For a full list of assistance available from the Australian Government and state and territory governments visit: https://www.energy.gov.au/rebates 

3- Check if you’re on the best energy deal for you 

You can access free and independent Government energy comparison services for households and small businesses to compare deals and make sure you’re on the best electricity or gas plan for you.  

  • If you’re in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, use Energy Made Easy or call 1300 585 165. 
  • If you’re in Victoria, use Victorian Energy Compare or call 1800 000 832. 

If this is confusing, you can often find a better offer simply by asking your current energy provider if you’re on the best deal. You can also check out our factsheet, “Am I on the best energy deal with my retailer?” for more tips.  

4- Contact the National Debt Helpline 

Your electricity or gas bill might be just one bill that you’re struggling to pay. If you need additional support to manage this, or other bills and debts, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak with a financial counsellor. This is a free, independent, and confidential service. They also have a range of step-by-step guides to get your finances back on track.  

5- Chat with your Energy Ombudsman 

If you have an issue with your electricity or gas provider that you haven’t been able to resolve with them directly, you can contact your energy ombudsman for free and independent support. They can also provide you with advice and guidance if you are having difficulty paying your bill.  

State or Territory Contact Details 
Queensland Queensland Energy and Water Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 662 837 
New South Wales NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 246 545 
Australian Capital Territory ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal 
Visit website 
(02) 6207 1704  
Victoria Victorian Energy and Water Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 500 509 
Tasmania Energy Ombudsman Tasmania 
Visit website 
1800 001 170 
South Australia South Australia Energy and Water Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 665 565 
Western Australia Western Australia Energy and Water Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 754 004  
Northern Territory Northern Territory Ombudsman 
Visit website 
1800 806 380 

Remember, if you are concerned about your energy bill, even if it’s only temporary, act now so you can get help as soon as possible.