The Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOV) recently released its final 2017 quarterly affordability report, highlighting the challenging work they do when people cannot pay their electricity or gas bills.
From 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017, EWOV closed 512 credit cases flagged for high arrears – bills where customers owed more than $3000. Almost all of these cases related to electricity (63 per cent) or gas (32 per cent).
When a case is flagged as high arrears, EWOV opens an investigation immediately, bypassing its usual Assisted Referral process. The largest debt during this quarter was just over $18,000, indicating that some customers approach EWOV only when their energy or water debt has reached extreme levels.
The report notes, without naming them, that some companies account for a disproportionate number of high arrears cases, suggesting that those companies could do more to prevent debt build-up.
EWOV is optimistic that Victoria’s new payment difficulty framework, due to come into effect next year, may achieve its aims of limiting both disconnections and the growth of unmanageable arrears.
To read more see EWOV Affordability Report.