The impact of bushfires across NSW has been devastating and our thoughts are with those affected.
Consumers and small businesses impacted by bushfires will need assistance with a range of issues, potentially including energy and water problems. For instance, they may need:
- additional time to pay their bills
- a break in a current payment plan owing to their changed circumstances
- help with reconnection of supply or meter replacement.
Energy provider assistance
Energy retailers and networks have confirmed a range of support measures to assist affected customers, including:
- the suspension of collection activities for affected customers while emergency warnings are in place.
- waiving outstanding debts, meter replacement charges and reconnection fees for homes or small businesses lost as a result of this natural disaster.
- assistance for volunteer and emergency services worker
These measure are in addition to retailers’ existing hardship programmes. Contact your retailer or distributor directly to find out what assistance is available.
Information about reconnection of supply is available on energy distributors’ websites:
- Sydney's Greater West, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands the Illawarra and the South Coast - Endeavour energy outages
- All other areas of regional NSW - Essential Energy outages
Water provider assistance
Water providers may also offer payment extensions and other assistance to bushfire victims. Please contact the relevant provider directly to discuss how it can help.
How we can help
Residential energy customers, small business operators and government or community workers assisting those affected by bushfires, can contact us at any time for advice. If you have already contacted the relevant energy provider or water providers in our jurisdiction and are not satisfied with its response, you can contact us to lodge a complaint.
Contact us for enquires and complaints related to water members in our jurisdiction. These include the large water providers Sydney Water, Hunter Water, Shoalhaven Water and Water NSW. See the full list of our water provider members. Complaints about the service offered by other water providers such as local councils can be directed to the NSW Ombudsman.
We will prioritise enquires and complaints related to the bushfires.
We can also provide targeted outreach to affected communities. Government and community workers who feel their community could benefit from face-to-face assistance should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government and community support
The National Bushfire Recovery Agency website includes information on bushfire recovery assistance, support for individuals, small businesses and other relevant information.
The NSW Government has announced a range of support services for people and businesses impacted by the bushfires. Visit the Service NSW Bushfire Customer Care Service for more details.
If you need urgent help with living expenses, including electricity and gas bills, there are community organisations that can help. The Australian Financial Complaints Authrity (AFCA) has also launched a support hotline to ensure priority service for people impacted by the Australian bushfires. The AFCA Bushfire Support Line is 1800 337 444.
If you need legal help, Legal Aid's Disaster Response Legal Service can help you with everyday legal problems including insurance claims and disputes, financial hardship, tenancy and Centrelink.
If you speak a language other than English, the Rural Fire Service has translated factsheets with information about bush fires.
Support for small business
Service NSW have collated a list of business support for bushfire-affected communities. The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has also collated details of bushfire assistance for small and family businesses.