Around 100 people from Victoria have joined EnergyAustralia’s efforts to help respond to the substantial increase in households reaching out for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EnergyAustralia’s Executive for Residential, Mark Brownfield, said the new recruits were chosen from a pool of 3500 applicants to join the customer service and hardship team to help provide tailored assistance to people struggling to pay their power bills.
“Since the beginning of March, EnergyAustralia has set up more than 176,000 payment plans and 118,000 payment extensions for residential customers and have referred thousands to government grants,” said Mark.
“Our frontline is instrumental to our EnergyAssist program that guarantees people won’t be disconnected if they reach out to us in times of hardship,” he said.
“We’ve effectively doubled our EnergyAssist team since July and they have been busy helping to create tailored plans that ensure customers’ lights are kept on and debt doesn’t spiral out of control.
“There are many heartening stories of customers being extremely relieved that their energy bills can be managed in what is an anxious and uncertain time for many of them.”
“We know that COVID-19 continues to cause significant challenges to households across Australia with many people facing unemployment, reduced hours or fewer career opportunities. If anyone is struggling with their power bill, our message is to please get in touch - our team is ready to support you.”
EnergyAustralia’s EnergyAssist program supports around 22,000 residential customers in financial distress across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Assistant measures under the program include payment plans and extension arrangements, protection from disconnection, advice on government grants and assistance schemes, energy-saving tips and access to financial counsellors to help manage personal finances.
EnergyAustralia is also helping small business customers navigate their way through COVID-19 with its hardship program, Rapid Business Assist.
Since the COVID outbreak, specialist business advisors have devised 12,426 payment extensions, 724 payment plans, helped 1070 businesses with cash flow and provided advice on lowering energy consumption and guidance on government energy relief subsidies.
“Both our residential and business customer service specialists are doing a great job and we’re conscious that for some, their own circumstances have been challenging throughout this time,” said Mark.
“Not only is it unusual to start a new job working remotely to comply with social distancing restrictions, many of our new people have been hit hard by the coronavirus themselves and join us from industries such as travel, tourism, sport and hospitality,” he said.
For more information about EnergyAssist and Rapid Business Assist, visit https://www.energyaustralia.com.au/home/energyaustralia-covid-19