Power bills assistance at Bega ombudsman expo

Complaints about the ever-increasing cost of energy continue to rise, but an expo in Bega next week is planning to assist residents to bring bills under control.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) will hold a Bring Your Bills day for consumers in Bega on Wednesday, November 14, to assist them with energy issues.

Residents are urged to head along, power and water bills in hand, for help with concessions, rebates,  billing errors and energy saving tips.

Also take along any letters from your retailer, Centrelink Health Card if you have one and any concession cards.

Energy and Water Ombudsman Janine Young said affordability is a key issue for people in the South Eastern region of NSW.

Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW Janine Young

Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW Janine Young

“Complaints about energy affordability, including payment difficulties, debt collection, credit default listings and disconnections increased by 25 per cent and factored in 24 per cent of all complaints we received from the region in the 2017/2018 financial year,” Ms Young said.

“There were 43 complaints per 10,000 people – the fifth highest number of complaints from any region in NSW.”

EWON will be joined by Bega Valley Shire Council, Bega Women’s Resource Centre, Service NSW, NSW Fair Trading, Revenue NSW, Seniors Rights Service, Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre, Lumo/Red Energy, Origin Energy, Konekt Employment Bega, St Vincent de Paul, the Office Environment and Heritage, the Australian Energy Regulator and more.

“Customers can get help setting up payment plans, having rebates applied to their account if eligible, accessing emergency payment assistance and dealing with outstanding fines and legal issues,” Ms Young said.

Ms Young encouraged people in Bega and surrounding areas to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with EWON, energy providers and other services while they are in the region.

“We find that meeting with customers face-to-face makes a big difference to everyone involved and often leads to problems being resolved much quicker than they would otherwise be.”

Meanwhile, EWON will also be holding a forum for community workers in Bega as part of its annual Anti-Poverty Week activities.

The forum aims to raise awareness of energy and water issues and the assistance available for people experiencing affordability issues.

It will feature speakers from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, the Australian Energy Market Commission, Seniors Rights Service, Revenue NSW, as well as energy providers.

“I am really looking forward to talking to customers and community workers to find out more about the issues people in the region are facing,” Ms Young said.

Event details:

Anti-Poverty Forum

  • Where: Civic Centre, Zingel Place, Bega
  • When: Tuesday, November 13
  • Time: Registration 9am for a 9.30am start - 3pm. Morning tea and lunch provided.
  • Bookings are essential: Email community@ewon.com.au or call 02 8218 5241 to reserve a place.

Bega Bring Your Bills Day

  • Where: Civic Centre, Zingel Place, Bega
  • When: Wednesday, November 13, 9am – 1pm
  • No bookings necessary.
This story Power bills assistance at Bega ombudsman expo first appeared on Bega District News.