PIAC responded to the AER’s Issues Paper on new retailer hardship policy guidelines. PIAC supports the development of enforceable hardship policy guidelines but considers the AER’s scope of the hardship guidelines could be widened to better support the intent of the rules.
PIAC reiterates our previous input, and that of a range of other consumer representative organisations, that the recently implemented Victorian Payment Difficulties Framework provides a clear example of an appropriate and effective mechanism for specifying consistency in retailer responses.
PIAC highlights the purpose of Hardship policies – to help retailers identify residential customers experiencing payment difficulties due to hardship and assist those customers to better manage their energy bills on an ongoing basis – and the minimum retail requirements in the NERR and NERL as important considerations in the development of hardship policy guidelines and the standard statements giving effect to them.
PIAC reiterates key principles for developing standardised statements and hardship policy guidelines provided in our submission to the AER’s Standardised statements for use in customer hardship policies Issues Paper from 5 December 2018.