​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Electricity, gas, water and phone bills

This page has general information about utility debts, including electricity, gas, water and p​hone bills.

    ​​

    AlertIf you ignore​ a bill, the utility company or a debt collector may chase you for the outstanding debt and may start a court case against you. You may also have to pay late fee​s.

    Applying for hardship​

    If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, the first step is to contact the service provider and try to negotiate a payment plan. You can do this by phone or by letter. 

    You should tell your service provider:

    • you are in financial hardship
    • how much you can afford to pay
    • you want to work out a payment plan.

    If you apply over the phone, you should keep a record of who you spoke with and get a reference number.

    If you need help with calculating what you can afford to pay, you should see a free financial counsellor. Financial counsellors provide free assistance for people in financial difficulty. 

    Sample: Sample letter to utility provider.

    For more information on electricity and phone bills, go to the Financial Rights Legal Centre website. 

    AlertYou should ask your service provider about applying for a rebate or voucher to help you pay your utility bills. Services such as the Salvation ArmyExternalmay offer emergency relief in some cases.

    Paying your bills through Centrepay

    If you receive Centrelink payments, you can pay your utility bills through a free and voluntary service called 'Centrepay'.  

    Centrepay allows you set up regular deductions from your Centrelink payment for utility bills, rent and other household costs. For more information, go to the Human Services​ website.

    Complaining to an Ombudsman service

    If you are unable to resolve the problem with the utility provider, you can complain to an Ombudsman service. It is free to lodge a complaint with an Ombudsman service.

    The Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWON) handles complaints about energy, gas and some water providers. You can complain to EWON within 12 months from when you first became aware of the problem.

    The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is a national independent dispute resolution scheme for complaints about phone or internet issues. You can complain to TIO within two years from when you first became aware of the problem. 

    To complain to an Ombudsman service, you will need to provide:

    • ​your contact details
    • the name of the utility service provider
    • a description of the complaint
    • a copy of any relevant letters, bills, invoices and receipts.

    The Ombudsman service will try to resolve your complaint with your service provider. A decision made by the Ombudsman is binding on service providers but not on consumers. If you are not satisfied with the result of an investigation, you can ask for a review of the decision.

    AlertIf you don't think you owe to debt in full, you should get legal advice​ or complain to the relevant Ombudsman.

    Get legal help 

    ​Further Informa​t​​ion​

    ​​​​Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWON)

    Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)