Standard breathing space moratorium
A standard breathing space is a moratorium that provides you with legal protection from supplier action for up to 60 days.1DRS Regs An application is submitted via an online portal, effective the day after initial registration. The protections and prohibitions include a pause on most enforcement action, including:
•collecting or recovering arrears;
•commencing any legal action;
•obtaining a warrant;
•disconnecting fuel supply (unless on grounds of theft or illegally);
•taking steps to switch you to a prepayment meter to take payments;
•taking steps to collect payments through other means (such as deductions from a social security benefit);
•using a prepayment meter already installed to take payments, save for if you had agreed for the meter to be installed before the breathing space commenced.
•recovery action through a debt collection agency.
Generally, neither a creditor nor their agent may contact you about enforcement of a moratorium debt during a breathing space period, including demanding payment, but they may contact you:
•for reasons not related to the moratorium fuel arrears – eg, ongoing liabilities or consumption;
•to respond to a query or complaint;
•about any action or legal proceedings a court has allowed to continue during the moratorium.
You are obliged to continue meeting your ongoing fuel consumption and engage in debt advice for the moratorium period. You can enter into one every 12 months.
A debt respite moratorium is a useful short-term mechanism to suspend recovery or enforcement action when in fuel arrears and unable to pay. It is designed to afford you time to obtain advice on the debt solutions available to you and/or put an appropriate debt solution in place. You can only apply through approved debt advisers who have authority to complete the online application. To find your nearest debt adviser, contact your local free advice agency.
Note: the breathing space scheme also encompasses non-fuel debts and certain debts are excluded from the scheme altogether. See CPAG’s Debt Advice Handbook for further details.