Presentation on theme: "Power Problem Prevention Presented by: Funded by the Australia Government Department of FaHCSIA for the Financial Management Resource Unit Project, produced."— Presentation transcript:
Power Problem Prevention Presented by: Funded by the Australia Government Department of FaHCSIA for the Financial Management Resource Unit Project, produced by Matrix on Board
Overview »Importance of preventing problems with power »Principles around supporting clients to prevent problems with power »Process of supporting a client who is threatened with power disconnection / disconnected »Schemes to support clients; Rebates, Power Connect, Stay Connected, HUGS, HEPS
The importance of prevention Why educate to prevent problems with power? »Prices on the rise »Refer to Broome Advertiser Article – 18/3/10 pg 8 »Frequency of errors in reading meters and with bills »Lack of response to complaints and client enquiries »Reduce the need of clients returning for support
Money Management’s role in Power Problem Prevention Money Management teams may work with clients to raise awareness around consumption and the bill paying process, this involves a holistic approach beyond paying the current bill. It may include: »Education around power, water, gas usage »Practical solutions to reduce utility bills »Awareness of how the bill process works »Skills and confidence to contact utility companies directly
Principles of working with clients »Client-centred approach: the best interest of your client is your primary focus »Respect: Respecting the views of agency partners and the client in the process »Partnership: working cooperatively with your client, your team, Financial Counsellor, the utility company and other relevant stakeholders »Shared responsibility: MM workers and client to recognise their roles and responsibilities and agree to a process of addressing the current situation and preventing future occurrences.
Questions to consider »How much help can you give your clients? »What can you do to assist a client? »How do you encourage clients to be independent – seek their own information and documentation?
The 7-step Process Step One Assess the situation Step Two Discuss payment options Step 3 Contacting the utility company Step 4 Do the paperwork Step 5 Make lump sum payment Step 6 Ring the utility company back Step 7 Future contact with your clients Documentation
Step 1: Assess the situation »Is this an extraordinary bill? Why? »Is this likely to happen again? Happened before? »Who lives/stays with them? »How do they usually pay the power bill? »How urgent is this? (if they are not yet disconnected, someone could be on their way to disconnect as you talk) »What income and expenses do they have? »What other debts do they have? How much are they paying off? (Fines, car, personal loan, credit card etc.) »Do they have children, sick or frail people in the household? Is lack of electricity life-threatening to any member of the household (medicines, machines)?
Step 2: Discuss Payment Options »Centrepay with all adults in the household contributing »Initial lump sum payment to avoid disconnection/or arrange reconnection with Centrepay ongoing. »Help with lump sum payment – options include Emergency Relief, power company schemes and state government schemes, with Centrepay ongoing. We will discuss the options later.
Step 3: Ring the Utility Company »Explain that your client will start Centrepay and ask what their average bill has been over the past 12 months »Ask if your client is getting any possible rebates (low income, senior etc). These will be discussed later. »Discuss and agree reconnection/avoiding disconnection – what’s the minimum they accept? »Tell them you will ring them back once you have arranged the payment
Step 5: Make immediate lump sum payments »Make an ER payment if this is something you have agreed to »Your client will need to make any lump sum payment they agreed to, maybe by going to the Post Office (keep receipt) or by netbank.
Step 6: Ring the utility company back »Ask for the person you were last speaking to »Inform them of payments made or arranged, rebates applied for and Centrepay arrangements in place. »Get clear commitment about reconnection / cancellation of order to disconnect – note the name of the person giving you this.
Step 7: Future contact with your client »Encourage your client to come back if they have any more power bill issues. »If they are going to ask family members for Centrepay contributions, make an appointment (or tell them a good time to drop in) so you can fax off the signed agreement(s). »If they have some other debts they want to talk about you could arrange another appointment or refer them to a financial counsellor, depending on how many debts and the amounts involved
Power Payment Help Rebates Low income Seniors Thermoregulatory Dysfunction Life Support Equipment Subsidy
HUGS Generous scheme to help people with power disconnections (or to avoid them). Horizon Power need to make a referral to the financial counselling service - and some of the call centre staff are not very helpful. So it is important that Money Management workers advocate for their clients when they know that hardship exists. The funding guidelines make note of the role of “Third Party Agency Referral” - see flowchart. Once the referral to the financial counsellor is made the client will not be disconnected. If there is a delay in the appointment, a further extension can be made. If the financial counsellor is not available or very busy, the Financial Counselling Hotline can help.
HUGS Payments: »Minimum $100 »Maximum 85% of bill »Above 26 parallel – maximum $635. »In “exceptional circumstances of hardship” ie DV, illness etc. - maximum $1,015. »This is the client’s limit for a 12 month period, but clients must usually show evidence of engagement with the financial counsellor to qualify for a second payment.
HEPS »Scheme to provide home visits, assessment and help with cast of small items to improve the power efficiency of household. »No Kimberley provider last I heard – but this might change. »Ring Tony Roberts, the Horizon Power Financial Hardship Officer on (08) for updates. »He is keen to meet the Money Management teams and will visit the Kimberley over the next few months.
Thankyou To contact us: Matrix on Board Suite 5 1 Pavonia Place Nightcliff NT 0814 T: W: