Customer Hardship Policy

We acknowledge that every customer's financial situation is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Disconnection is considered a last resort and is covered under this customer hardship policy, which was created to help keep the essential services of electricity and water connected.

This policy outlines our commitment on how we will support our residential customers experiencing financial difficulties and hardship, helping them get back on track.

We understand that from time to time, our customers may encounter financial difficulties. These may be temporary or ongoing and may be the result of any number of reasons.  You might experience hardship because of factors like:

  • death in the family
  • household illness
  • family and domestic violence
  • unemployment
  • reduced income.

We know that during these times, financial pressures can add stress. Being Territorians ourselves, we are committed to helping our customers and making a difference.

Who the policy applies to

This policy applies to residential customers living in the Northern Territory who find it hard to pay their:

  • Water or sewerage bills
  • Power bills where Power and Water is the electricity retailer. (Regions include Jabiru, Alyangula and Nhulunbuy).
  • Prepayment meters where Power and Water is the electricity retailer. (This includes Indigenous Essential Service customers).

If you need help with your power bill and live outside of these regions, please contact your electricity retailer to discuss available support. Your retailers’ details will be available on your power bill.
Registered electricity retailers in the Northern Territory

What the policy explains

This policy explains:

  • what we will do to help you manage your water or power services
  • how we consider your circumstances and needs
  • your rights as a customer in our hardship program
  • our Billing Relief Program
  • pre-payment meter support.

Prepayment meter hardship support

Power and Water is committed to supporting pre- payment meter customers keep their power connected during times of hardship.

Customers with Power and Water pre- payment meters can reach out to us via phone, email or through a person or agent acting on their behalf.

If you have a Power and Water prepayment meter and require support, please contact our Customer Service team for more information.

What we can do

  • Apply temporary hardship credit to a prepayment meter to keep the power on
  • Provide education advice on how to reduce the power usage.
  • Provide information on Government grants and concessions available.
  • Provide information and apply Electricity concessions (NT).

How we identify Pre-payment meter hardship

  • Pre-payment customers requiring hardship support can self-identify by contacting our Power and Water Customer Service team.
  • They can be identified by a Government agency eg Department of Housing.
  • Referred by an independent partner agency.
  • Through our daily reporting of prepayment meter systems, disconnections and reconnections.

Engaging a support person

You can ask a support person to contact us, such as:

  • a financial counsellor;
  • or someone who helps you manage your water or power services.

We need your permission to talk to your support person. As the authorised account holder, you can provide permission for us to talk to an authorised support person on your behalf by either:

  • giving us verbal permission over the phone, or
  • providing us with signed written permission.

We will engage your support person as we would with you, in line with your consent and instructions to us. It is important that you inform your authorised support person you have nominated them to act as your representative. They in turn must be willing and able to engage with us on your behalf.

Our Bill Relief program

Our Bill Relief program is here to help customers who have financial challenges. It helps keep the water and electricity (where Power and Water is the retailer) connected.

Being part of the program means you can avoid having your water restricted and or power ( where Power and Water is the retailer ) disconnected due to non-payment when you are entered into our Bill Relief Program.

The program offers support, including setting up interest free payment plans, providing information about relief and discounts and guiding customers to financial counselling services

If you join the program, the Bill Relief program can support you:

  • Negotiating flexible interest free payment plans;
  • Providing customers information regarding available concessions, relief schemes and utilities rebates;
  • Referring customers to free, confidential and independent financial counselling and support services;
  • Providing customers with educational resources to assist them in how to reduce their power and water usage;
  • Not charging late payment fees or interest charges for the duration that the customer honours the payment arrangement made;
  • Removing the worry of debt collection or legal action being taken against the customer;
  • Providing customers with the security of knowing that while participating in the Bill Relief program, Power and Water will not:
    • Have water restrictors applied due to non-payment;
    • Have power disconnected due to non payment (if the Power and Water is the retailer);
    • Take legal action against the customer for unpaid debts;
    • Charge late payment fees;
    • Charge additional recovery costs.
  • We use account authentication and code word protection to ensure a third party cannot access your account without your permission

Acceptance into the Bill Relief Program

Customers will be eligible to join the Bill Relief Program if they:

  • Are residential customers; and
  • Have
    • been identified as a hardship customer by an independent financial counsellor, or
    • an outstanding overdue account balance over 2 or more consecutive bills, or
    • in exceptional circumstances, have received a significantly higher than normal bill due to a water leak; and
  • Are willing to pay their outstanding debt through
    • the negotiation of a flexible payment plan and,
    • seeking available assistance and support from free financial support services (when applicable); and
  • Are willing to actively engage with the Power and Water.

Customers will not be eligible to join the Bill Relief program:

  • For debts relating to Commercial customers;
  • If they have been removed from the program due to non-compliance on two or more occasions in the last 12 months

What we will do to help you

We are committed to supporting our customers and we have created our Bill Relief program to do just that.

This program has been created to support customers experiencing financial difficulties to support them in getting back on track, while providing them with specialist assistance and advice.

Keeping you informed

We will tell you about our Bill Relief program if:

  • you tell us you are having trouble paying your bill
  • you are referred to our program by a financial counsellor or other community worker
  • we are concerned that you may be experiencing financial hardship
  • you inform us, or we become aware, that you are experiencing family or domestic violence.

We will recommend you speak to a staff member to help you join our Bill Relief program if you have:

  • a history of late payments
  • broken payment plans
  • requested payment extensions
  • received a power disconnection warning notice
  • received a water restriction warning notice
  • had your power disconnected for non-payment
  • had water restrictions applied due to non-payment.

We can also support you to join our Bill Relief program if you tell us:

  • you are eligible for a relief grant or other emergency assistance
  • you have personal circumstances where hardship support may help. For example, death in the family or job loss.

You may have trouble paying your bills for different reasons. Please contact us so we can discuss your individual situation. Our staff and contractors are specially trained to help you with hardship. Staff will:

  • ask you a few questions about your circumstances
  • work out if you can join the Bill Relief program.

We will assess your application for hardship assistance on the spot if we are speaking too you over the phone, or within 2 days of receiving a request in writing.

Our commitment to you

If you are accepted into our Bill Relief program, we will:

  • tell you about government concessions, relief schemes or any water or power rebates you may be able to receive
  • give you ideas about how to reduce your water and power use
  • talk to you about a payment amount and plan that suits you circumstances.

We can send you a free copy of our hardship policy upon your request.

We will work with you

If you have joined our Bill Relief program, we will not:

  • apply water restrictions due to non-payment
  • disconnect your power due to non-payment (if we are your electricity retailer)
  • charge late payment fees
  • require a security deposit
  • make changes to your personalised payment plan without your agreement. For example, we will not put you on a shortened collection cycle unless you agree first
  • take legal action.

Personalised payment plans

We will offer your a payment plan to suit your situation. This will include payments to cover:

  • what you owe, plus
  • an amount to cover your ongoing water/power use over an agreed period of time.

Once we agree to a payment plan, we will send you information including:

  • who you can contact for more help
  • how long the payment plan will go for
  • the amount you will pay each time
  • how many payments you need to make
  • when you need to make your payments
  • how we worked out your payments.

What we will do

When you are in our Bill Relief program, we will offer you a personalised flexible payment options to suit your individual situation. To make your payment plan, we will consider:

  • how much you can pay
  • how often you can pay (this is also called the frequency of the payments)
  • how much you owe
  • how much water/power we expect you will use in the next 3-12 months, based on the length of your plan.

This will help us figure out a payment plan that is right for you.

What you must do

As part of the Bill Relief program it is important that you tell us if your situation changes and you can no longer make the payments in your plan. We can then review your payment arrangements. It is also important that you tell us if your contact details change.

You may be removed from the Bill Relief program if you:

  • stop making payments under your agreed payment plan, or
  • if you do not tell us when your contact details change.

If you have had two payment plans cancelled in the last 12 months because you did not follow your plan:

  • we do not have to offer you another plan;
  • we might apply water restrictors or disconnect your power (whichever is relevant to the overdue account);
  • we may list your debit with a credit reporting agency and proceed with legal action.

Other supports to help you pay for services

The Northern Territory offers a range of other supports to help you pay your water and power services.

What we will do

We will tell you about other ways you can get help to pay your water and power bill, such as

  • Government relief schemes
  • Water or power rebates
  • Concession programs
  • Financial counselling services

What we need you to do

If you find out you are eligible for these programs, let us know as soon as possible so we can help you.

Other programs and services

As our customer, you can access a range of programs and services to help you.

The below programs are offered to eligible customers

What we will do

We will consider your individual situation to find the right programs (e.g. concession programs) or services that meet your needs.

Payment options

There are different payment options available to our customers, including:


You can choose to use Centrepay, if you are eligible.

Centrepay is a free service you can use to help pay your bills. Centrepay can automatically take an amount of money from your Centrelink payments to go toward water and power bills and expenses.

For more information regarding Centrepay visit Centrepay - Services Australia

Direct Debits

To help you take the hassle out of managing your payments you can set up a direct debit from your nominated bank account in line with your personalised payment plan.

You can set a Direct Debit up online or call us on 1800 245 092

If you are unable to meet an agreed payment

If you are unable to make a payment in line with your payment plan, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible before the due date.

If you miss a payment and we haven’t heard from you we will contact you by phone to see if you need help, and to remind you to make a payment. This contact will also provide us the opportunity to touch base with your to ensure that your personalised payment plan is right for you or whether amendments are required.

We can assist you in using less water and power, which will save you money.

Using less water and power can save you money. We can give you tips to use less water and power.

Our top tips for saving power include

  • Switch off your air-conditioners or heaters when you are not using them
  • Try running your air conditioner between 24°C and 27°C in summer
  • Switch off electrical appliances at the power point when you are not using them, rather than leaving them on standby mode
  • Switch to energy saving LED light globes. Energy efficient globes can save you up to 75% off your lighting costs
  • Remember to switch lights off when you leave the room
  • In good weather, hang clothes outside instead of using a dryer. If you have to use a dryer, set it on ‘warm’ rather than ‘hot’. It takes a little longer but uses less energy.
  • For more power saving tips check out Saving power

Our top tips for saving water include

  • Install water efficient fittings and appliances in your home
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load
  • A front loading machine is more efficient than a top loading washer, as they use about 50 per cent less water
  • Keep an eye out for water leaks and fix them quickly if you find any Garden irrigation leaks are a common way we loose water undetected
  • Water your garden early in the morning
  • Limit your shower time to four minutes
  • For more water saving tips check out the below:

Additional information

Domestic and family violence policy

At Power and Water we recognise that some of our customers may be impacted by domestic and family violence.

We understand is a very complicated and personal issue, it takes a lot of courage for someone to disclose their situation.

If you are experiencing family or domestic violence, refer to our Domestic and family violence policy for more information on how we can support you.

Contact us

If you're a Power and Water customer and require support, please contact our Customer Service team .
Phone1800 245 092


Power and Water are committed to supporting our customers and working with them to improve our services and support programs.

For more information on how we receive and handle complaints go to our Complaints and disputes resolution page.

Should you wish to provide us with feedback, or raise a complaint you can do so through this channel.


Power and Water is committed to the protection of your personal information.  We handle all personal information in accordance with the relevant Commonwealth and Northern Territory privacy laws, including the Information Act 2002 (NT) and Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Acts).

For more information on how we collect, store, use and disclose personal information you can find out Privacy Policy at our privacy policy

Power and Water Customer Hardship Policy  |  Version  1.0  |  Approved by the Utilities Commission 14 March 2024