AGL commits $70m to ease cost of living pressures

Power meter reading shows electricity usage (prices)
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AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has announced a commitment to increase customer support funding for the next two years to at least $70 million, as part of a package of measures designed to assist customers with cost of living pressures.

The funding will provide direct and indirect support to customers including direct financial support through debt relief and bill credits, proactively contacting those showing early signs of hardship and improving information to make it easier for customers to understand and manage their energy use and access appropriate assistance.

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AGL will continue to focus on customers enrolled in its hardship program, Staying Connected, which currently supports 19,500 customers experiencing vulnerability.

AGL chief customer officer Jo Egan said as an essential services provider, AGL is committed to supporting customers who are struggling to stay on top of their bills or are already experiencing vulnerability.

“AGL understands that rising energy prices for customers, alongside broader cost-of-living pressures, will be difficult for households and businesses. To ensure customers can get the right support at the right time, we’re investing more in our customer support programs,” she said.

AGL expects that the number of customers needing support to grow over the next two years.

“We encourage customers to get in touch with us early if they are finding it difficult to pay their bills. We are committed to working with customers and we know from past experience that seeking help early can make an enormous difference.”

Egan said as part of this, AGL is ramping up the early predictive solutions for the hardship program, which utilises data-led insights to identify when customers are showing warning signs of hardship.

“Through predictive analysis, we can contact customers to notify them of support that is available to help them to manage their energy bills.

“There’s a lot we can do for customers to help keep them on track, including looking at whether they are on the right plan to suit their circumstances, whether they would benefit from altering the size and frequency of their bill payments, helping them access government grants, concessions and rebates and helping find ways to safely reduce their energy use.”

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AGL will increase its investment in customer support to at least $70 million over the next two years to improve energy affordability and support customers experiencing vulnerability, with funding proposed for:

  • Targeted payment matching and debt relief for eligible customers experiencing hardship to assist them with graduating off the Staying Connected program and focus on their on-going consumption.
  • Targeted bill credits as part of proactive customer support campaigns and for eligible customers on the Staying Connected program to further assist with cost-of-living pressures.
  • Launching a fund to install solar panels for eligible customers experiencing hardship to assist them to electrify their homes and help reduce their energy bills. Customers will be proactively assessed for eligibility.
  • Reviewing customer communications to make them easier to understand, including targeted support for culturally and linguistically diverse audiences and specialist support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers, which will help customers know where and how to get help to manage their energy use and access available assistance.
  • Increasing situational awareness training to enhance AGL’s capability to proactively identify customers needing support and appropriately guide them through to assistance.
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