Energy networks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have announced a suite of measures to provide support to customers enduring hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The electricity and gas network relief package complements other initiatives across the gas and electricity sector and will take effect from 1 April.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the comprehensive package was aimed at small business and residential customers and would help ensure energy retailers can better assist those facing hardship.
“Networks understand these are extraordinarily tough times for small business and energy bill relief will really help,” Mr Dillon said.
“For small businesses that are mothballed, electricity and gas network charges will not be applied from the start of April to the end of June 2020, if their consumption is less than a quarter what it was in 2019.
“Networks know it is in everyone’s interest to support small businesses through what is an extremely challenging period.”
The package also includes measures to support households by helping energy retailers provide further assistance to those who fall into hardship as a result of COVID-19.
“Networks will be deferring or rebating electricity and gas network charges for impacted customers,” Mr Dillon said.
“This assists impacted customers and helps energy retailers, who administer energy hardship programs.
“Networks and retailers realise it’s important the industry pulls together to support the many small businesses and households who will face growing challenges over the months ahead.
“Networks will work with energy retailers to ensure the benefits of this package flow through to customers smoothly.”
Governments have already announced various energy support measures for affected customers.
Mr Dillon said energy network crews across the country were continuing to do critical works during this crisis to keep the power on, the gas flowing and the energy system safe and reliable.
The number of planned outages for these critical works would be minimised and they would be as brief as possible.
This Energy Networks Australia video explains why critical maintenance is undertaken.