Utilities urged to help, not punish, strugglers

Utility companies should abolish late payment fees and waive reconnection charges for customers cut off after being unable to pay their bills, Fairfax Media reports.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre recommends the utility companies show compassion to customers experiencing hardship.

The report, Cut Off III, found that 44 per cent of people whose utilities were cut off in NSW last year were in paid work but struggling with bills. Almost one in four owed more than $1000 to utility companies, with most owing $300-$1000.

More than half the customers offered a payment plan by a provider said the plan was not affordable.

”As utility costs rise they become a higher percentage of people’s income, especially people in the lower income bracket,” she said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/utilities-urged-to-help-not-punish-strugglers-20130413-2hs7g.html#ixzz2QNiagAYv

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