Sydney Water has offered payment support to customers experiencing financial difficulties during the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sydney Water Managing Director, Roch Cheroux, said the programs were designed to help assist households having difficulty paying their bills amidst a period of economic uncertainty.
“A number of options are available to our customers that allow for flexibility and hopefully will reduce the amount of stress many people are finding themselves under at the moment,” Mr Cheroux said.
Flexible payment options allow for the extension of a customer’s bill due date in the short term. For ongoing difficulties, customers can be set up on a regular fortnightly or monthly payment plan.
Sydney Water is also working with Centrelink to allow for deductions to be taken directly from Centrelink payments to a customer’s Sydney Water account.
Those with an aged, disability or service pension may be eligible for a pension rebate on their quarterly bill.
For those in longer-term hardship, Sydney Water’s BillAssist program offers case management by community service staff, who will work with customers to manage long-term payment difficulties or growing bills and debt.
Emergency financial relief may also be provided through the Payment Assistance Scheme to customers unable to pay their water bills.
“Unforeseen events such as these can make it hard for customers to pay their bills on time. Sydney Water understands this, and remains committed to placing the customer at the heart of everything we do and supporting them through this time,” Mr Cheroux said.
Also accessible for those on Sydney Water’s BillAssist program is PlumbAssist, which facilitates plumbing services for customers who require emergency or essential plumbing work and are unable to afford it.
“Customers can simply head to our website to find the right option for them, or contact us on 13 20 92,” Mr Cheroux said.
Sydney Water said it understood there has been an increase in domestic violence as a result of social isolation.
The utility offered reassurance to its customers that if they are impacted by domestic violence and their financial circumstances change during this time, they can seek support through its assistance program, and their personal records will be protected.
Sydney Water will continue to function as an essential service during this period, providing Greater Sydney with ongoing water and wastewater services.