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The role of the AER in regulating compliance with the hardship protections in the Retail Law and Retail Rules requirements is important for people living in poverty and in households at risk of poverty. It is essential that retailers have policies, and more importantly practices, that provide support to people who struggle to pay energy bills. Alleviating the impost of the cost of energy bills through effective programs can positively impact on many aspects of people’s lives.This submission responds to the Australian Energy Regulator's Hardship Policy Guideline Issues Paper.