I'm having trouble paying my bills, can you help me?

I'm having trouble paying my bills, can you help me?

If you're facing energy-related hardship there are a range of options we can look at to help you.

Ask about concessions card/s.

Concession cards considered: Centrelink Health Card, Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card, DVA Pensioner Concession Card not considered Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Victorian Senior Card, DVA Dependent.

If the participant is entitled to a discount or concession not previously applied, address this with the retailer and backdate it for 12 months

Discuss options for entering a hardship payment plan agreement with their retailer.

 If you are eligible for concessions – you need to confirm with your retailer every 12-months that the concessions are being applied. Each concession that you are eligible for is applied in addition – you may be eligible for multiple concessions. For instance:

·       Energy concession - DVA / Health CC / Pensioner (saving of about $80 quarter);

·       Medical cooling concession;

·       Life-support concession;

·       Firewood / bottled gas concession.

A pay-on-time-discount is separate from a concession. Check your bill.

If you are struggling to pay – inform your retailer – see retailer hardship policies

https://www.aer.gov.au/retail-markets/energy-retailers-customer-hardship-policies/aer-approved-hardship-policies

Brokerage service

Before starting with the comparison, customers have option to a 10 question Energy Quiz to understand and familiarise themselves with the language used (including units of measure), and the details that will be asked (https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/energy-quiz). It is important to determine if participants are familiar with terms such as kWh, MJ, NMI, MIRN, c/kWh, c/MJ. Walk the participant through what each means if they are not familiar.

The information required to fill in the form on the website includes:

  1. Access to the internet and a device to access the internet
  1. Information about your household
  1. Your past billing information
  1. Smart Meter data
  1. 1.  enquiries). Also could visit https://www.energy.gov.au/rebates/home-energy-efficiency-advice
To receive energy advice, customers will be taken through the following steps:

Step 1 – Initial information

  1. Are you looking for electricity offers, gas offers, or solar saving?
  1. Type of property: residential or business
  1. Can you provide the energy bill: yes, or moving home (no energy bill)?
  1. Postcode
  1. Do you receive a concession: concessions accepted by VEC are Annual Electricity Concession (17.5% discount off your bill), Winter Gas Concession (17.5% discount off your winter gas bill) and Service to Property Concession (reduced supply service charge to your usage charge, applicable for households with very low energy use)
  1. Do you have solar panels?
Step 1* If you are selecting “I have a bill” you will be prompted to provide the bill details: bill period and the average daily usage in kWh. You can add gas bill details at Step 3 when you can view gas offers as well.

Step 2 – Your energy profile

  1. How many people and how many rooms (all rooms not only bedrooms)?
  1. How many refrigerators (exclude stand-alone freezer units)?
  1. Is your house powered by: gas / electricity / solar?[PA1] 
  1. Do you have a pool?
  1. How do you heat and cool your house (select all that apply)?
  1. Do you have a clothes dryer?
  1. Which type of hot water system do you use?
Step 3 – Explore available offers
  1. A list of retailers is provided with the top offer at the top based on the information provided
  1. Customers have the option to further filter the list by certain features (payment details, has incentives, only show green offers, show only offers with demand, show innovative offers, show offers with custom eligibility, only show Victorian Default Offers) – hover over “i” button for additional explanation about the feature.
  1. Specific details (view offer) are provided when selecting the offer including features, offer details, offer rates and details, contract terms and discount and fees. There’s an option to print the generated information
  1. At this step you also have the option to compare gas offers and calculate solar saving without returning to the main page
  1. For calculating available offers for gas based on information already provided, customers will be asked an additional question: how long you run your has heater in winter
  1. For calculating solar saving the information you’ll need to provide is peak, off-peak and shoulder tariffs and your daily supply charge. You have the option of adjusting the size and the cost of the solar system you want. There are multiple details provided to you including return on investment, annual savings and estimated usage
Step 3* You can compare the suggested offers with your current offer based on further details of your current plan. Click on “What am I paying” where you can either upload a PDF version of the bill (unlikely) or enter the rate details manually. (similar details for gas) The information required includes:
  1. Electricity bill period
  1. Do you have off-peak tariff?
  1. Peak (and if applicable off-peak) rate for electricity usage (in c/kWh)
  1. Service to property/ supply charge total for the billing period (usually between $24.30 and $177.45)
  1. Do you have any discounts?
Step 4 – Compare offers
  1. Can select different retailers from the provided list and compare their offer. You can navigate back using the back arrow in your browser to return to the offer’s page.
Step 5 – Contact the retailer
  1. Selecting Contact retailer VEC will provide you with quote information you should give to the customer service operator when you are calling to switch. It includes the offer name, offer ID and postcode
  1. VEC is also providing a list of questions you should be asking your retailer
All the details provided can be emailed, downloaded or exported for later access. Once you have the offer ID provided you should contact the retailer as soon as possible.