We moved house in this last year, and when you move house, there is the whole utilities juggle. You know paying the old house’s electricity bill so you can get the new house connected.
In the process I neglected to connect the new house, our old home account was in my husband’s name and I needed him to move the account across. Well I forgot, then I ended up with no electricity and another bill to pay before I could get connected. You KNOW what I’m talking about right.
My husband, God bless him, agreed with Synergy that we would no longer get the bill in the mail but by email, and didn’t tell me. So I completely missed our February bill, and when I ‘found’ the April bill in my inbox, I nearly keeled over with the bottom line. I had to employ all the strategies I have been giving our clients over the years just so I could keep the electricity on.
Is it just me or has the cost of electricity really just sky rocketed. Like through the stratosphere.
I want to give you some guidelines, if, and probably should say ‘when’, you get stuck with an electricity bill that is so large, you hide it under at the bottom of the pile hoping that miraculously it goes away.
Did you know that Synergy has a ‘Financial Hardship Policy’ – no kidding – so I’ve read it (20 pages) and this is what they say.
“You will always be treated with fairness, dignity and compassion” remember this you may have to remind them.
You need to ring them (phone: 13 13 53) as soon as you are experiencing difficulties with paying the bill. If you’re like me, it’s as soon as you open the envelope.
They can, and should, then ask you some questions to ascertain the right level of help, these include your take home pay; your financial commitments; medical conditions or disabilities; family circumstances. Incidentally they didn’t ask me any of these questions. (more on that later)
They then can offer a number of options based on their assessment. They are 1. An extension of time to pay – up to 15 days, 2. A interest free and fee free payment plan – basically an agreement to pay x amount each week/fortnight for a period of time. 3. To prepay your bill 4. A reduction in fees, charges and debt on request, 5. Power On payment program, where Synergy makes financial contributions to an eligible customer electricity bills 6. Put you in touch with other organisations that may be able to help. 7. Utility Hardship Grant scheme eligibility (they don’t clarify what this is)
If you are assessed as having acute financial hardship due to illness or long term unemployment then you may also be able to receive additional assistance through Synergy’s ‘Keeping Connected’ program.
So I strongly suggest that you read their Financial Hardship Policy, familiarise yourself with it, then ring them. I didn’t do this and may have saved myself some stress if I had.