Training of staff
Frontline employees who assist customers having difficulty paying their outstanding charges are trained and are assessed for competency in relation to:
- the range of payment options and methods available
- our Financial Hardship Policy, procedures and work instructions including delegated authorities that relate to credit management practices
- government funded concession entitlements
- government and community programs/services available including:
- Referrals to financial counsellors
- key cultural and social issues for significant customer groups and communication skills for engaging with customers in financial hardship;
- water efficiency information and advice
- the Water Assist scheme.
To ensure this process is maintained to the desired standard, staff performance is assessed through monitoring of calls for Call Centre staff and qualitative audits. Credit Management staff who case manage individuals experiencing financial hardship have comprehensive training on a range of social and community issues to improve their understanding of the issues that affect people in financial hardship. In addition we will:
- engage with stakeholders in the development and review of training programs
- provide training to new staff and schedule refresher courses where appropriate.
The customer’s commitment to us
We will do our best to assist customers experiencing financial hardship. If you are experiencing financial hardship, we would like you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation. We can offer you a payment plan, free of interest, over an extended period of time, if you agree and maintain the arrangement.
We also offer a range of schemes/arrangements such as Water Assist and may suggest HUGS for eligible customers who need additional help.
In return, we ask that the customer:
- agree and maintain a suitable payment arrangement
- keep us informed of any changes in their circumstances
- contact us to request an alternative arrangement if they are having difficulty maintaining the agreed payment plan
- contact a financial counsellor or relevant consumer representative if requested. It is important for a customer in Financial Hardship to meet with a person from a relevant consumer representative organisation to discuss their financial situation and consider the options available.
We will ensure that there are appropriate escalation procedures in place to deal with customer complaints regarding this policy.
If you have a complaint, please contact us first. Our contact details are included below.
If you are not satisfied with the way we handle your complaint, you may refer your complaint to the Energy & Water Ombudsman. The Energy & Water Ombudsman will investigate your complaint and may mediate the dispute between you and us.
The Energy & Water Ombudsman contact details are:
Address: Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia, PO Box Z5386, St Georges
Terrace, Perth WA 6831
Phone: (08) 9220 7588 or 1800 754 004 (toll free for country callers)
For further information on the Energy and Water Ombudsman complaint process and matters they can and cannot investigate please visit www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/energyandwater
Availability and accessibility
We will be proactive in providing potential hardship customers with timely, transparent and accessible information including:
- An invitation to contact us to discuss alternative payment arrangements on all accounts and recovery notices.
- Information about concessions eligibility, other government funded assistance programs such as HUGS, flexible payment options, Water Assist Program, water efficiency and our hardship policy.
- Making the policy readily available to customers at no charge and in a range of formats.
- Provision of all customer information in alternative formats on request including large print, audiotape, computer disc, email and Braille at no charge.
- Access at no charge to the Translation and Interpreting Service (TIS) to assist customers from non-English speaking backgrounds.
- Offering the use of the National Relay Service for people who have a hearing or speech impairment.
- Proactively promoting awareness of the financial hardship policy to customers, financial counsellors and key stakeholders.
- Maintaining a policy feedback mechanism.
Approval and review
Our policy was approved by the Economic Regulation Authority of WA.
This policy will be reviewed biennially to ensure it meets the needs of customers experiencing financial hardship. The review will incorporate the views and recommendations of our stakeholders.
We will ensure procedures and work instructions are reviewed and maintained to ensure hardship customers are dealt with in a sensitive manner according to the guidelines set in this policy.
Our contact details
You can contact us at:
Address: 240 Balcatta Road, Balcatta WA
Phone: 13 13 85 Account enquiries (8am-5pm weekdays)
National Relay Service - 13 36 77 (for customers with hearing or speech difficulties)
Translating and Interpreter Service - to arrange an interpreter call us on 13 13 85.