More Canberrans have requested to energy companies that they be placed onto payment plans as a result of the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19.
Social service groups have said the number of people on payment plans was expected to rise even further in coming months, as energy bills for the winter period arrived and JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments were reduced.
In the third quarter of the 2019-20 financial year, the ACT had a 42 per cent increase in the number of people on payment plans for their electricity bills, compared to the same quarter in the previous financial year.
An even larger increase for payment plans was recorded for gas bills, which rose by more than 54 per cent in one year.
Figures from the Australian Energy Regulator recorded a modest rise in the number of ACT energy customers on financial hardship programs, rising by just 3 per cent, while those on hardship for their gas bills decreased by almost 8 per cent.
Chief executive of the ACT Council of Social Service, Emma Campbell, said as the coronavirus crisis went on, financial hardship for some of Canberra's most vulnerable was only expected to worsen.
"The period from September to December is of particular concern as winter bills will arrive and the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments will be reduced," Ms Campbell said.
"It is widely expected that there will be a significantly higher number of people struggling when their winter energy bills arrive over the next few months, especially for those who have been spending more time and using more energy at home due to COVID-19 restrictions."
From September, the federal government's JobKeeper payments will drop from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight for full-time employees, while those working fewer than 20 hours a week will earn $750.
Those on JobSeeker will have the support payments drop from $1100 a fortnight to $800.
"Financial counsellors have seen an increase in referrals of clients from migrant and refugee settlement services and on temporary visas and single parents," Ms Campbell said.
"More recently, they have started seeing clients who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are now running out of savings."
Despite the large number of people now seeking payment plans in recent months, the ACT's electricity price is expected to fall this financial year.
Average electricity costs are set to drop in the ACT in the 2020-21 financial year by 2.6 per cent, due to the growth in renewable energy in the territory, according to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission.
However, the commission warned many Canberrans would still struggle to pay their electricity bills due to the economic conditions brought on by COVID-19.
A spokeswoman for ActewAGL said the electricity company had strengthened support measures in response to the pandemic.
"This includes expanding our hardship program to also include small business customers, as well as offering energy support vouchers, flexible payment arrangements and extensions," the spokeswoman said.
"Supply will remain connected for any customers who are experiencing financial stress as a result of COVID-19 and have contacted us to let us know."
Director of Care Financial Services Carmel Franklin said energy support vouchers had proved to be even more important this year to customers in the wake of the pandemic.
"Despite a slight decrease in price this year, the coronavirus pandemic has placed significant pressure on households," Ms Franklin said.
"Many workers have spent a considerable amount of the winter working from home and will have higher energy bills as a result."