Customer Support Policy

Policy statement

Gippsland Water (GW) recognise that at times our customers, may experience financial difficulty and/or require additional support.

All customers regardless of their circumstances, will be treated without judgement with understanding, dignity and respect.

This policy compliments our Customer Charter.


The purpose of this policy is to outline the support and assistance we will provide to customer experiencing payment difficulties and/or vulnerabilities.


The scope of this policy is to assist residential and small business customers experiencing financial difficulty and/or vulnerabilities.

Policy details

Need help paying your bill, we’re here to help

We understand that every customer’s situation is different.

We’ll work with you to understand your needs and challenges, and tailor a support plan that best suits your needs.

1. Early identification and proactive engagement

We’re committed to reaching out early to customers at risk of falling behind on their bills.

Our team are trained to recognise the early indicators that a customer maybe experiencing payment difficulties, we will utilise a number of mediums to inform customers of the assistance available to them.

We will work to identify and proactively reach out to customers where there are indicators that they may be experiencing financial difficulties, including where;

  • an account remains unpaid after the issuance of payment reminder notices including a final notice
  • a flexible payment plan has been cancelled, due to scheduled payments not being maintained
  • we identify higher than normal water usage, that indicates there may be a leak
  • a customer has left the Customer Support program, as we have been unable to engage with them.
  • a final account balance remains unpaid and the balance has been transferred to a new property account.

2. Customer Support

We have a number of assistance options available, including;

  • ensuring you receive any concession discounts you’re entitled to
  • setting up an affordable and flexible payment plan, within your capacity to pay
  • setting up an affordable and flexible payment plan, within your capacity to pay
  • the option to extend the due date for some or all of an amount owed
  • providing advice on how to save water and reduce the cost of your bills
  • referring you to financial counsellors and community services support where needed
  • checking in with you regularly to see if the support we’re providing continues to meet your needs

Where eligible, we can also

  • assist you to apply for government funded grants such as the Utility Relief Grant Scheme
  • register you in our payment matching program
  • register you for government funded programs to assist you to save water and reduce your bills
  • waive interest charges accrued before you reached out to us for support.
2.1 Assessment Criteria

We understand that every customer’s situation is different. The assessment criteria for the Customer Support program is assessed on a case by case basis.

We’ll work with you to understand your needs and challenges, and tailor a support plan that best suits your needs.

We recognise family violence as a potential cause of payment difficulties. Customers experiencing family violence are eligible for assistance under our Customer Support Program.

We may refer you to an external body such as an independent accredited financial counsellor, who with your consent, can assist us to gain a better understanding of your individual circumstances and needs.

2.2 Advocacy and support

You can nominate a representative or support person to communicate with us on your behalf. We can also redirect your bill to another person if they agree in writing.

2.3 If you are experiencing family violence

If you let us know you are experiencing or being impacted by family violence, we will assign a case manager from our specialist Customer Care team who will assist you to manage your account. We will also place additional protective measures on your account to protect your privacy, safety and confidentiality.

Please refer to our Family Violence Support Policy for further details.

2.4 Protecting your privacy

We appreciate the importance of protecting your personal information.

We are bound by the Information Privacy Principles under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) “Privacy Legislation”

We will not sell your debt to another party.

2.5 Your commitment to us

We will do our best to assist you to manage your account and to work with you to tailor an assistance plan to meet your needs.

In return we ask that you:

  • stay in contact and keep us informed of any changes to your circumstances
  • let us know if you are experiencing difficulties in meeting the arrangements that are in place for your account

Whilst you remain in our Customer Support Program, we will not instigate debt recovery including water supply restriction, legal action and additional debt recovery costs including interest.

2.6 If you don’t make payments or stay in touch

If you do not make agreed payments or communicate with Gippsland Water, or the agencies who work on our behalf, we will take reasonable endeavours to get in touch before commencing debt recovery, this includes one of the following;

  • a phone call inside business hours;
  • a phone call outside business hours; or
  • a site visit to the service address.

If that doesn’t work, and we are not able to have a conversation with you, we’ll make at least three additional attempts to contact you, using two or more additional methods, including but not limited to the following types;

  • by phone inside hours;
  • by phone outside business hours;
  • site visit to the service address;
  • regular mail;
  • registered mail;
  • email;
  • SMS.

We will also send a final notice.

2.7 Dispute resolution

In accordance with our Customer Charter we will provide information about our dispute resolution process and your right to lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria (EWOV) if you’re not happy.

2.8 Communicate with us

We recognise experiencing payment difficulties can be extremely stressful. Our priority is to make sure you get the right support that will assist you as quickly as possible.

You can get in touch to ask for our support by;

Visiting our financial support web page 


Phone 1800 050 500

Mail PO BOX 546, Traralgon VIC 3844

If you need assistance to communicate with us

If you contact us we can also assist you connecting to these service.

2.9 Response times

We recognise experiencing payment difficulties can be extremely stressful. Our priority is to make sure you get the right support that will assist you as quickly as possible, and will work to the following timelines:

  • Acknowledge your request (verbal or in writing) within 3 business days
  • Respond to your request verbal in writing within 5 business days.
2.10 Employee and staff training

Training is delivered to all customer contact employees, including our Contact centre, Collections & Affordability, Customer Care, as part of the induction program, which is supplemented by regular refresher sessions. The training provided is reviewed regularly and updated to ensure it remains current, relevant and appropriate.

Training is also provided to agencies that work on behalf of Gippsland Water for customer contact, debt collection and customer care to other customer facing teams at Gippsland Water including Priority Plumbing, Customer Resolutions, Faults & Emergencies, Connections and field services.

2.11 Continuous improvement

This policy and its associated programs will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that these adequately meet and reflect the changing needs of our customers and employees.

This approach is to ensure that our support remains flexible and can adjust to meet the needs of the community. Recognising that customers and employees may need a variety of support and information, Gippsland Water is committed to diversifying its approach on a continuous basis.

In this respect, we’ll work closely with peak bodies and customer committees to develop appropriate, customer focused support for customers experiencing payment difficulties and/or vulnerabilities.

3. Guaranteed Service Levels – Restriction & Legal Action

If we restrict your water supply or take legal action against you, prior to taking reasonable endeavours to contact you, to provide information about the help and assistance that is available to you, and you are experiencing financial difficulties, we will pay compensation of $300 per day off your bill to a maximum of $900 until your service is restored.

4. Definitions

For purposes of this policy, unless otherwise stated, the following definitions shall apply;

Customer Support Program

Gippsland Water’s customer support program that aims to provide assistance to customers identified as experiencing financial difficulties and/or vulnerabilities.

Customer Care team

A specialist team trained to assist customers experiencing financial difficulties, vulnerabilities or family violence.

The Customer Care team does not provide counselling services but can provide a range of practical support options that are tailored to your needs.

Assisted customer

A customer who wants to pay, but can’t pay everything, is experiencing short or long-term difficulties paying their bill and in need of support.

Payment Difficulties

A customer at risk of being unable to meet their ongoing financial commitments, seeking payment assistance.


A customer who needs special care, support or protection.

Gippsland Water Customer

The owner or occupier, including tenants, of a dwelling used for residential and non-residential purposes

Community agencies and financial counsellors

Gippsland Water refers customers to community agencies and financial counsellors who provide free and confidential financial counselling to customers who require support with other creditors

Policy review and approval

It is recognised that, from time to time, circumstances may change leading to the need for minor administrative changes to this document. Where an update does not materially alter this document, such a change may be made administratively without requiring approval of the approving body. Examples include only a change to the template, name of a position or department, or a minor update to legislation which does not have a material impact.

Responsible Officer

Review Frequency

Approving Body

Manager Customer Services

2 year

Executive Leadership Team