This submission responded to the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW’s (EWON) Prepayment Meters Discussion Paper. The submission noted that retailers need to significantly improve their practices in various areas, including the levels of debt consumers are accumulating. PIAC noted that while prepayment for electricity had the potential to reduce accumulation of debt, there are also significant negative aspects to electricity prepayment meters, including automatic disconnection. The submission stated that prepayment will be a good option for some consumers but that such arrangements are effectively offered by many retailers currently through bill smoothing and Centrepay arrangements. Finally, the submission emphasised that the broader roll out of prepayment arrangements must be accompanied by appropriate protections, including programs to allow prepayment customers to access energy rebates.
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