COVID-19


Update – 3 August 2020

As an essential service provider, we are continuing to do what we can to support our customers within the COVID-19 environment.

Our full resources are available to sustain high electricity reliability while also minimising the impact of our works on customers.

We have also announced the extension of a relief package available for residential and small business customers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 situation.

As a result, we are ready to support our customers and communities in any relaxation of conditions and economic recovery.

We have released advice for customers on both how to prepare for power outages and the Victorian Government has issued advice on food safety.

More information on our response is provided here:

Critical works continuing

Protecting the health and safety of our people and communities

Financial relief for residential and small business customers

 

Critical works continuing

Since March 2020, we’ve seen a shift in how we mobilise crews to conduct critical works on our electricity infrastructure and this is minimising the impact on customers.

These works include:

  • addressing faults and urgent maintenance which can otherwise threaten the safety of customers
  • providing electrical services supporting infrastructure and construction projects which are sustaining vital jobs and economic benefits at this time
  • actions to sustain power quality and reliability for commercial and industrial customers
  • work under our bushfire management plan including asset inspections and replacements.

On a daily basis, localised power outages may be required to enable these works to be conducted safely.  We appreciate there is never a convenient time to have a power outage and understand that now more than ever, people are relying on the continuity of supplies to their home.

But after reviewing all our planned work, we are where possible, breaking work programs down into smaller packages with shorter duration outages or using generators or network transfers to provide back-up resources.

By doing critical maintenance now, we are reducing the risk of major disruptions caused by unplanned blackouts in the future.  We’re also ensuring we can sustain high levels of reliability to help customers through their daily challenges now and as we start planning for the 2020-2021 summer and the likelihood of more people at home.

For further information, our contact centre remains fully operational:

  • General enquiries:  1300 131 689
  • Service difficulties and faults:  13 20 99

Please respect our crews as they work to keep the lights on now and prevent the risk of major disruptions later.

Protecting the health and safety of our people and communities

Our full resources are available to support our customers. Please be assured:

  • Our field teams will be following social distancing practices as they work in your community and as a crew, have taken precautions so they can safely work together.
  • Please be assured that if our contractors need to come to your door, then they will be wearing Zinfra branded clothing and will have a photo ID with the Zinfra brand and UE Authorised Contractor.
  • Our other contractors who do work on our network, near or on your property, will have photo ID carry photo ID labelled with UE Authorised Contractor.
  • You will see new calling cards left in letterboxes when we are working in your area
  • Notifications of any necessary power outages will include details on how we are working to ensure the safety of our people and communities.
  • We will keep you advised by follow up SMS about plans for the work in your area.

We have released advice for customers on both how to prepare for power outages and the Victorian Government has issued advice on food safety.

If we need to work on your property, please advise if anyone in your household is self-isolated due to COVID-19, so our crews can take appropriate precautions for their own safety.

If you are a customer who relies on electricity to provide vital health support, then please ensure your contact details are updated with our Customer team via email:  info@ue.com.au 

We keep records of anyone reliant on life support systems to ensure we do not physically disconnect their power supply. We will also let them know of any necessary planned outages so that they can be prepared with a back-up plan.

Financial relief for residential and small business customers

We are supporting homes and small businesses impacted financially by COVID-19 by providing relief from network charges on their electricity bills.

There are two types of charges on your electricity bill.

  • A supply charge is a fixed daily cost for bringing electricity to your home or business. This includes our costs for operating and maintaining the poles and wires and meters that make up the electricity distribution network.
  • A consumption charge which is measured in kilowatt hours and varies depending on how much electricity you use and what tariff you are on, like off-peak, peak or fixed.

Because distribution networks like us manage your electricity meter, we provide the energy retailers (the company who sends your electricity bill) with the data on your consumption for billing purposes.

Now we are working in cooperation with energy retailers to administer a relief offer to make it as simple as possible for our customers.

Relief for household and small business customers

We are offering relief from network charges for customers experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.  The initial offer which commenced on 1 April 2020, has now been modified and extended until 31 January 2021.

The offer applies to households or small businesses  on a COVID-19 customer arrangement, payment plan, hardship arrangement or deferred debt arrangement with certain energy retailers.

If you are eligible, then contact your energy retailer directly to discuss payment and relief options .  Have a copy of your most recent bill handy so you can quote your account details.

You’ll then automatically receive the relief through your energy retailer’s normal billing cycle. This could include deferred payments for network charges from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.  This is applied to electricity bills issued between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021.

Please also be assured we are continuing to support retailers to not disconnect customers and prioritise the health and safety of customers.

Guidance for visitors to our offices and depots

Due to the Federal Government’s restrictions around public gatherings and when people should leave their homes, we have closed all receptions and front counters across our depots until further notice.

We are still open for business and customers can get in touch with us via our Contact Centre at the numbers below or via info@ue.com.au 

  • General enquiries:  1300 131 689
  • Service difficulties and faults:13 20 99

If you need to visit anyone at our offices, please contact them by phone to meet you outside reception.  Please ensure appropriate social distancing measures are used throughout your meeting.

Related information

Media statement: Network life package extended to support Victorian customers

Media statement regarding planned maintenance and outages

Media Release: New energy bill measures announced to support residential customers and small businesses

Media release: keeping the lights on for Melbourne’s South East and the Mornington Peninsula  

Facebook: posts on work being conducted and messages from our team

How to prepare for power outages

Food Safety advice