Yarra Valley Water (YVW) have developed industry-leading programs to support their vulnerable customers and those facing financial hardship.
Project implemented: Ongoing
To provide programs to support vulnerable customers and those facing financial hardship.
This project is important to Australia because it supports vulnerable customers and those facing financial hardship.
Financial hardship threatens 42 per cent of Victorian residents. In 2013, the Essential Services Commission allocated 5.25 million to the retail water utilities in Melbourne to assist customers who are financially vulnerable and to manage the impact of rising prices. YVW used that funding to create WaterCare — an initiative that reduces the risk of vulnerable customers falling into serious debt, and helps customers already experiencing financial hardship get back on track.
WaterCare has been recognised as best practice by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria, the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) and the Essential Services Commission in Victoria and won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships. It has produced significant improvements in the number of YVW customers accessing government support, meeting their payment plans, and transitioning back to mainstream bill payments.