As an employer delivering critical services to communities across NSW and parts of southern Queensland, our response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is focusing on:
- protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees, the community, our contractors and suppliers and their families
- minimising the risk of our workplace being a potential source of infection into the broader community
- maintaining the safety and reliability of the electricity network.
Across our network area, we are continuing to undertake planned maintenance and fault and emergency work, with COVID-safety risk assessments and protocols in place.
Some planned outages for network maintenance may be delayed as we balance the need for social distancing with the need to maintain a safe and reliable power supply.
COVID-safety protocols include:
- Reviewing all planned work on a case-by-case basis to assess the risks for the community, staff and contractors. Additional controls such as site exclusion zones and extra protective clothing may be required, depending on the nature and location of the work
- Extending timeframes for customers to have defects on private assets rectified
- Ensuring all employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms do not come to work, are tested immediately and self-isolate
- Supporting employees, particularly office-based staff, to work from home
- Minimising the movement of employees between depots and offices across our network
- Limiting interactions between employees when they do need to attend offices and depots, and ensuring social distancing and personal hygiene protocols are adhered to
- Requiring all employees and visitors who attend offices and depots to ‘check-in’, to support contact tracing if needed
- Increasing the use of videoconferencing and telecommunications technologies to limit the number of face-to-face meetings.
Financial hardship support
If you are facing financial stress or hardship, please read our Customer Support Policy, for information about support options. You may also call our Customer Contact Centre on 132391 to discuss options. We also encourage you to contact your energy retailer to discuss your circumstances with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if my power supply is interrupted during the COVID-19 situation?
Our crews remain available to respond to fault and emergency work. If your power goes out report an outage or call 132080. View all current outages and read our helpful hints and tips for what to do during an outage.
I am self-isolating and there is a planned power outage in my area – can the outage be delayed?
If you are self-isolating and will be affected by a planned outage, please call our Customer Contact Centre on 132080 to discuss your situation. We are assessing risks for planned work on a case-by-case basis and implementing additional controls or delaying work.
Why are Essential Energy crews still working in the community?
We are working to balance the need for social distancing with the need to maintain a safe and reliable power supply. Our crews remain available to respond to fault and emergency work. We are assessing risks for planned work on a case-by-case basis and implementing additional controls or delaying work.
Watch this short video from Energy Networks Australia to learn more about why it’s important for electricity network companies to keeping working to keep the network safe and reliable during the COVID-19 crisis. They've also created this fact sheet with information about planned outages.
I am a Life Support customer – what does this mean for me?
Our obligations in relation to Life Support customers have not changed. See our information for Life Support customers.
I lost my income and can’t pay my bill. What can I do?
Essential Energy recognises that there are members of the community who experience financial stress – we also recognise that electricity is an essential service. Our Customer Policy seeks to minimise disconnections from the network and protect public safety. See our Customer Support Policy page for more information. We also encourage you to contact your energy retailer to discuss your circumstances with them.
What safety protocols do meter readers follow, and why have you recommenced reading meters now, given you previously suspended the practice?
We have developed specific protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic for meter reading to help ensure the safety of our communities and our teams.
Together with our meter reading service provider, we have completed a comprehensive risk assessment and developed appropriate protocols for accessing a customer’s property. This includes but is not limited to; the supply of additional PPE, updated hygiene controls, not reading meters at identified COVID-19 hot spot locations, and notification to customers via SMS of an upcoming scheduled meter reading.
Readings will only be taken when:
- Safe, unhindered access to the meter is available. With dogs being safely secured away from the meter location and the meter box being clear of obstructions such as rubbish and vegetation.
- The meter reading can be taken without contact with residents, and the meter reader can maintain a social distance of at least 1.5m at all times.
How long will meter readers stay at my premises?
Meter readers are generally at premises for less than two minutes. Readers may spend longer at rural properties as a result of metering points being at the end of via long driveways or behind multiple gates.
Will meter readers need to access inside my house or other parts of my premises?
Meter readers will follow appropriate protocols when required to read meters that are inside any residential dwelling and will only do so if confirmation can be made that the dwelling is safe to enter.
For customers with industrial/large sites, if you have updated access instructions due to COVID-19, please contact us on 132391 to let us know.
What should I do if I don’t want my meter read?
Please call 132391, select Option 6 and advise the Customer Service Operator that you do not wish to have your meter read.
Please note that not having your meter read will result in an estimated read for your next bill. You may wish to provide a self-read to your retailer - see Reading your own meters for more information.
My neighbour got a text from you, but I didn’t. How can I register for text notifications?
Please contact your retailer and update your mobile contact number with them. They will then provide this to us. This will ensure your receive SMS messages in future from Essential Energy about power outages and other critical information.
Please note that your retailer provides customer contact details to us.
Can I visit Essential Energy depots, offices and worksites?
If you have a need to visit an Essential Energy site please contact us on 132391.
What if my streetlights go out during the coronavirus situation?
What if I notice trees or bushes growing too close to the electricity network during the coronavirus situation?
- NSW Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
- Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- World Health Organisation Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
- Healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222 – free health information and advice 24/7 in Australia