Electricity suppliers may not be able to disconnect customers

Energy suppliers could soon be banned from disconnecting customers with unpaid bills of less than $300 under new proposals from the Australian Energy Regulator.

From July 1, power companies could be required to cut off a gas supply only after electricity or offer payment plans are in order to make sure the debts are settled.

Customers who choose to sign up for a payment plan will potentially be protected from disconnection regardless of how much they owe, reports the Australian.

Clare Petre, chairwoman of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association, said that it seems disproportionate to disconnect customers for small amounts given how much electricity prices have risen.

She pointed out that there is a new generation of people who do not benefit from any financial flexibility.

"The car breaks down or somebody gets sick or their hours at work are cut back or interest rates or the rent goes up, and they literally cannot find another few dollars a month," Ms Petre commented.

The government is currently doing what it can to improve energy efficiency throughout Australia through a series of new programs that will reward people for using clean energy.

Posted by Charlie Moore