The past few months have been tough.
We have all been touched by the bushfires – no matter how far from the firefronts we may be, it is impossible to not be moved by the scenes spread across the news and on social media – and, for some, right on their doorstep.
The recovery and rebuild for affected people, families, businesses, and communities won’t be a short-term process – it will be a long journey. We know that our customers and our communities will need help, support, and understanding – not just now, but for months and in some cases, for years.
Support for our customers
AGL is putting support measures in place right now to help. We’ve estimated that more than 173,000 of our customers live in postcodes impacted by bushfires – and at a time like this, we know that energy bills are probably the last thing on our customers’ minds – and the last thing they want to think about. We’ve paused billing and suspended collections for those customers.
For those who have lost their homes, both AGL and Southern Phone are waiving any overdue balances and current bills. We’re also waiving reconnection and new meter costs for affected areas.
Southern Phone customers in affected areas – and those who are firefighters – will have their January bills waived. We’ve already credited more than 7,000 bills.
We’ve set up a dedicated bushfire relief helpline for those who have experienced significant loss to offer support and assistance – affected customers should call 1300 001 545.
Support for our volunteers
If it weren’t for the dedicated volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel, the scope of the bushfire disaster would be catastrophically worse. These volunteers are national heroes. In many cases, volunteers are still on the frontline, putting their lives at risk to help others.
In recognition of their efforts, we’re offering active volunteer firefighters and SES personnel a $150 credit on their AGL gas or electricity bill.
Additionally, for AGL employees who are emergency service volunteers, and Army reservists who are called to full time service in support of the bushfire effort, we’ll be supporting them with uncapped paid leave, releasing them for as long as Australia needs.
Support for our community
We have already contributed $200,000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund to provide immediate financial assistance to those impacted by the Gippsland bushfires and we’ll also be announcing support for other local community groups in areas where we operate.
This week, we also announced alongside Southern Phone a $100,000 donation to bushfire-affected communities on the South Coast, to be split between establishing a Eurobodalla Emergency Relief Fund, the South Coast branch of WIRES, and the RSPCA Bushfire Appeal. This donation is in addition to the more than $3 million AGL and Southern Phone has already committed to helping customers, firefighters and SES volunteers.
AGL is also matching all employee donations to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Wildlife Rescue Bushfire Appeal. So far, we’ve raised more than $50,000.
There’s still more to do
The recovery and rebuild is only just beginning in some cases – and it hasn’t even begun in others. We recognise that after the initial effort, there will still be more to do.
We’ll be continually be looking for ways to support our customers, people, and the communities to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.
If you have been impacted by the bushfires, you can call AGL’s dedicated bushfire relief helpline on 1300 001 545.