14 January 2020

Southern Phone waives January usage fees for customers in fires affected areas

| Elka Wood
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Moruya residents leave for Batemans Bay due to fire.

In the South Coast’s darkest hour, Moruya-based Southern Phone is helping residents stay in touch. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

In a disaster, it’s difficult to remember the life-admin that needs to happen like renewing licences and car registration, enrolling kids in school and, perhaps especially, paying bills.

Many people’s incomes have been abruptly cut off during the fires and for some, it’s unknown when their means of income will return.

In a show of support for its local customers during the bushfires which have affected the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley regions, Moruya-based company Southern Phone has announced that it will waive all mobile and home phone usage fees and charges for the month of January.

“This will impact around 6,500 customers in NSW and around 600 customers in Victoria. Southern Phone will automatically credit the accounts of all customers, firefighters, and SES volunteers involved in the bushfire disaster,” says CEO David Joss.

David acknowledges that the bushfires have been a period of extreme phone and internet usage as families call loved ones, keep up to date and seek essential services, and that many people have been without power and phone services throughout the disaster.

These delays in service have been unavoidable due to fire damage.

“We’re a community-focused company, and our headquarters is in Moruya on the NSW South Coast. Many of our employees and customers work and live in areas that have been devastated by these fires. It has been heartbreaking to watch the scenes unfold in communities across the South Coast and right around the country,” David says.

David and his team have been inspired by the heroic efforts of volunteer firefighters whose efforts have prevented further destruction and by the tireless work of SES volunteers.

“As a way of supporting residents in these communities and our volunteers, we are automatically waiving service charges in January and providing a range of other services to assist. And for our customers who have experienced property loss, we will also waive their current bill including any accrued or outstanding costs,” he says.

If your home service isn’t working due to damage, Southern Phone will provide free call diversion services to mobile or fixed lines, as well as offering payment extension services for anyone experiencing financial hardship due to the fire disaster.

“We hope that these measures provide some relief for our customers who have been impacted by this tragedy and our wonderful firefighter and SES volunteers who we have so much to thank for. Clearly, the rebuilding effort will take significant time and we will continue to provide support services to our customers as this process continues,” he says.

For more information, please visit Southern Phone.

Original Article published by Elka Wood on About Regional.

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