A move to provide immediate bill relief across three states to small businesses and households struggling to pay electricity and gas bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been welcomed by one of the country’s largest energy infrastructure businesses.
Multinet Gas Networks (MGN) and Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), which supplies over two million customers across Australia, said the measures would help soften the blow for customers being stressed by indefinite business uncertainty and loss of household income related to COVID-19.
MGN and AGN, as part of AGIG, have been working closely with the energy bodies and stakeholders in implementing this relief package.
AGIG’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Wilson, said the challenging virus-related hardships were not selective in who was impacted.
“This makes it critical that Australia’s energy supply chain provides support to energy retailers to deliver specific bill relief to these key customer sectors to enable them to survive this crisis and emerge as part of the future post-virus economy and community,” Mr Wilson said.
“Small business are not only the backbone of Australia’s economy but fuel the household spend at a grassroots level.
“These two sectors particularly are suffering enormously already because of virus impacts with the situation exacerbated by uncertainty over how long the impacts will last.
“Within this environment, Australia’s whole energy supply chain has a role and responsibility to step up and ensure some easing in energy bill payments.”
A suite of energy networks across the three states has agreed that for small businesses that are mothballed, electricity and gas network charges will not be applied from the start of April to the end of June 2020, if their consumption is less than a quarter what it was in 2019.
The package also includes deferral and rebating measures for households suffering energy bill hardship and will be administered through energy retailers.