I grew up in a farming community.
When the producers in my home town of Camden did it tough, it hit everyone – not just the farmers, but the individuals, the families, and the businesses that support them and rely on them.
That story is playing out in farming communities all over Australia – farming communities just a few hours from our biggest cities, crippled by years without decent rains, as well as other natural disasters.
As a provider of essential services – as an Australian business – AGL has a role to play in supporting our customers through this hardship. It’s a role that I take incredibly seriously, and I know every person in AGL does too.
Working together to support those in need
AGL is proud to support News Corp’s campaign to bring much-needed aid to drought-affected communities across NSW and Victoria, as well as areas of Queensland recovering from floods.
AGL is working with the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, and the Courier Mail and schools across Australia to raise $800,000 to directly help farmers and their communities. This media campaign is called Adopt A Farmer and registered charity, Rural Aid will collect the funds.
What is AGL doing?
Complementing this initiative, next month AGL will formally launch our own $2 million package as part of the Farmers Assist program.
The package comprises two programs for eligible farmers affected by the drought, which can be applied for from the program’s launch next month:
- Drought debt relief: eligible farmers will be provided with up to $1500 financial support from AGL to reduce their outstanding gas or electricity balance, providing relief from the pressures associated with the drought.
- PPA & solar subsidy: eligible farmers will be able to purchase solar PV systems outright at a subsidised cost; if they do not have enough funds for an upfront purchase, they can enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) and will receive an upfront credit on their solar bill.
What else are we doing to help those in need?
- Automatic safety nets. In November 2018, we announced an expanded safety net for our customers, which will automatically discount bills for our standing offer customers.
- Cuts to energy prices: In July 2018, AGL cut electricity prices across NSW, Qld and SA, and from 1 January we rolled out gas and electricity price reductions in Victoria.
- $50 million in debt relief: In our FY18 results, we announced $50 million of debt relief for hardship customers.
- $6 million Energy Literacy fund to support and empower vulnerable customers.
- Tools and programs to help: We have instituted a range of tools and programs for those most at risk, above and beyond the various minimum regulatory frameworks, including our Here to Help tool to find any concessions, grants and assistance customers are eligible for.
- Measures to identify and support hardship customers. In November 2018, we announced a new hardship policy to help identify customers at risk of payment difficulty and proactively communicate support services, tailored payment plans, direct access to financial counsellors, energy efficiency advice, and payment incentives.
- Long-term plan to increase supply. We’re also taking a long-term view to improve energy reliability and affordability by increasing supply. We currently have $1.9 billion of energy supply projects under development – and another $1.5 billion is in the pipeline, currently being assessed for feasibility.
We’re in this together and we want to help and that’s why we’re embracing our responsibility to support those who support us.