Strengthened Retail electricity customer hardship policy guidelines draft Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC lodged a submission in response to the AERs draft hardship guidelines. PIAC supports the process to strengthen customer hardship protections, by updating the guidelines and ensuring that they are applied more consistently by making them enforceable by the AER.
However, PIAC does not think the draft guidelines provide adequate direction to retailers, or put in place strong enough objective criteria to ensure that people get offered the assistance they need, early enough for it to be of the most benefit.
PIAC contends that the frameworks for providing assistance to people experiencing payment difficulty and hardship require comprehensive reform, to ensure that they facilitate more effective, more accessible and more consistent assistance from retailers. In the interim, PIAC recommends that the finalised guidelines more closely align with the recently implemented Victorian Essential Services Commission Payment Difficulties Framework, which represent a more appropriate and objective response to supporting peoples ongoing, affordable connection.