East Gippsland Water recognise that at times throughout our lives, our customers may experience hardships and require additional support. East Gippsland Water have a range of customer support measures it offers to ensure a fair and consistent approach in managing vulnerable customers; and a framework to support customers on a case-by-case basis who are affected by family violence and/or who are experiencing difficulty in paying their accounts.
Customer, Community and Communications Team
Our Customer, Community and Communications Team live in Eastern Victoria and work from our Bairnsdale Office. They understand our region and the challenges our customers can experience.
Our Team has an extensive understanding of hardship and family violence issues, including training on the following.
- Government funded programs (e.g. Utility Relief Grant Scheme, Community Rebate Program, etc.)
- Internal financial assistance options (e.g. flexible payment plans, Pay’n’Save, etc.)
- Internal water efficiency programs
- Support and assistance available for customers experiencing Family Violence
- Our legal responsibilities including the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) and the Essential Service Commission – Water industry Standards requirements; and
- Understanding of our customers experiencing financial hardship.
Customer Support Policy
East Gippsland Water have a Customer Support Policy, which outlines the commitments and responsibilities that East Gippsland Water provide its residential and non-residential customers (incl. small business) to ensure a fair and consistent approach in managing customers in need of assistance; and a framework to support customers on a case-by-case basis who are affected by family violence and/or who are experiencing difficulty in paying their accounts.
With an individual case-by-case approach, we ensure that each customer’s needs are addressed sensitively, respectfully and confidentially.
If you wish to nominate a support person or other representative to communicate with us on your behalf, contact us and we’ll record their details on your account. Your nominated support person or other representative can be changed or removed at any time.
We understand that customers cannot always afford the minimum payment amounts required to manage their account. When a customer experiencing hardship contacts us, we will inform them of the support available to suit their situation. Some of these options include flexible payment plans, payment extensions and negotiating arrangements based on what customers can reasonably afford to pay. Once support and arrangements are in place, these customers are shielded from legal action and additional debt recovery costs while they continue to make payments according to an agreed schedule of payments; or an agreed altered schedule of payments.
East Gippsland Water recognises that family violence is a serious issue that poses substantial risk to the health and wellbeing within our communities.
East Gippsland Water has developed a comprehensive process to support our customers that are experiencing family violence and acknowledge that customers may or may not choose to directly disclose their current or previous experience of family violence. It also acknowledges that some customers might provide indications that family violence may be occurring during interactions with our staff, particularly in relation to bill payment
East Gippsland Water will treat customers in a respectful and sensitive manner, with a focus upon the customer’s safety and wellbeing, and providing support with any East Gippsland Water related debt and payment difficulties.
Customers are encouraged to contact our Customer Community and Communications Team to discuss support available to customers experiencing family violence, regardless of their current financial capacity. Furthermore, we seek to create a supportive environment where customers are comfortable in requesting assistance for family violence related concerns and are aware of the support available to them.
Privacy will be paramount for all concerned regardless of whether they are an employee or customer.
East Gippsland Water can quickly provide information or refer customers who are experiencing financial hardship and/or family violence to free independent counsellors and/or other specialist support networks.
Financial counsellors are able to provide detailed information on your rights and those options available to you in a private and confidential manner. Customers can discuss with the financial counsellors and/or other specialist support networks any matters that may be causing difficulty or distress.
East Gippsland Water also have a ‘Guide to Support Services’ form available for customers upon request.
Please contact us for further information.