AGL CEO Brett Redman has reassured customers that there will be help for those in need as Australians face difficult financial times due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to more than two million customers, Mr Redman acknowledged there are “difficult times ahead” for the country and urged any AGL customer experiencing difficulties paying their bill to get in touch.
As Australia’s largest generator, Mr Redman said AGL takes its role as an essential service provider seriously and has plans in place to manage potential issues across its power stations.
“We acknowledge that many of our customers will be concerned about what’s ahead and, for some, these concerns will be about how they’re going to pay their bills,” Mr Redman wrote.
“This is exactly what our hardship programs are there for.”
It is anticipated that the financial impacts could lead to increased numbers of people accessing AGL’s hardship assistance and he urged anyone struggling to pay bills to get in touch.
Customers on hardship programs will not be disconnected.
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Late fees and interest charges will be waived for customers on hardship programs.
The Staying Connected hardship program provides residential customers in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia with personalised assistance that goes beyond traditional payment plans.
For Victorian residential customers, support is available under AGL’s Payment Support Victoria program.
“We are also offering support for small business suppliers with our commitment to pay small businesses within 14 days to lend support as the economy is hit by the impacts of the coronavirus,” Mr Redman said.
AGL’s generation sites continue to operate normally and Mr Redman outlined the company’s preparations in the letter to customers.
“AGL plays an essential role in keeping the lights on for Australians and we take that responsibility seriously,” he wrote.
“Every day our people work tirelessly to make sure the energy that cooks your dinner, cools or heats your home, or powers your business is provided. We are proud of the work we do and the trust you place in us.
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“During the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, we want to reassure you that we are committed to supporting our people, customers and the community.
“We are well-prepared.”
AGL is also taking a series of precautions across its corporate offices, with employees who are able to work from home are being encouraged to do so.
Non-essential international travel has been banned and avoidable domestic travel has been postponed.
AGL call centres also have strong business continuity plans but AGL is also expanding the capability for some of its operators to work from home.