It’s important for customers experiencing financial stress to know that if they fall behind on their bills, they can easily access the right support. With the right help, they’ll be able to keep the lights on until they get back on track.
Over the past 12 months, Origin has increased the support we provide to customers in need, providing additional relief for customers financially impacted by COVID-19.
There’s support available for those who need it.
Keeping the power on
Origin’s ‘Power On’ program has been providing tailored support to customers experiencing financial hardship since 2003. Last financial year we spent $15 million on the program to support customers.
We currently support approximately 28,000 customers through Power On. Last financial year 33,000 customers completed the program as we helped them get back on track with their energy bills.
Our specialist team sets up tailored payment plans for customers, provides referrals to financial help and can organise energy-efficiency audits and upgrades to newer energy-efficient appliances. We also help customers access government support that’s available, including concessions and grants.
By listening to and understanding each customer’s needs and providing tailored assistance, we try to give customers both short-term relief and longer-term solutions to help with their financial situation so they can get on top of their energy bills – and stay there.
For customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and keep in touch with us about their payment difficulties, we continue to make sure that they’re not disconnected or default-listed.
Since March 2020, we’ve provided payment extensions to more than 360,000 residential customers, and provided additional deferrals for more than 100,000 customers.
Many small and medium-sized businesses were hit hard by the downturn in business due to the pandemic. Our support for these customers has included providing short-term payment extensions for more than 46,000 businesses, and deferring payments for more than 20,000 businesses.
We have also created a new 24-month payment plan for small business to allow them more time and greater flexibility to pay their bills, as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.
Helping our customers when they need it most
One of our customers, Kylie*, has done it tougher than most over recent years after several natural events severely impacted her operations and financial position. Kylie called us in early 2020 seeking help after her farm, already impacted by drought for the past six years, lost all its crops in the NSW bushfires. She then borrowed money and replanted crops only to lose them a week later in a flash flood.
We were able to waive the $1,400 balance on Kylie’s energy account, provide information about support available through financial counsellors, Lifeline and Service NSW’s drought support, and put her on a new energy plan that better suited her needs.
What our customers say
We know how much our customers value the support we offer when they are in need – because they tell us.
Our key customer satisfaction metrics have also improved significantly over the past seven months. This indicates our customers are more satisfied with Origin when we demonstrate our commitment to communities and those experiencing vulnerability.
What can I do if I need help with my bills?
Our Customer Advocacy team is here to help. There’s support available if you need it, and we encourage people to reach out and have a chat with us to discuss what help is available to them.
*not customer’s real name