A community hall, booked for a function, has its electricity disconnected in error (May 2015)

Billing mistakes
Case Number 2015/901
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mrs G, the representative of a community hall committee, contacted EWOV about an electricity disconnection that occurred at the hall several months earlier. The disconnection was discovered on 13 September 2015, a Saturday, when Mrs G arrived at the hall to oversee the setup of a previously booked function. To ensure the function went ahead despite the disconnection, Mrs G hired generators and booked an electrician, which cost $540.

Power was reconnected to the hall on 15 September 2015, a Monday, after a reconnection fee was paid. The electricity company advised that it had an incorrect street number for the hall, and when another person called to say they were vacating their property, the hall was disconnected by mistake on 11 September 2015.

Mrs G also advised that the hall had solar panels, and missed out on several days of solar generation due to the disconnection. 
Due to the complexity of the case and the fact that a Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) assessment was warranted, the case was escalated to an Investigation.

The Investigation

In order to resolve the complaint Mrs G sought a customer service gesture of $540 to cover the costs of the electrician and generators that were hired to ensure the function could go ahead, and reimbursement for the lost solar generation income.

We put Mrs G's requests to the company, and also asked it to outline how it complied with the relevant codes and guidelines before the disconnection took place.

The company said that because the hall was disconnected in error and did not comply with the Energy Retail Code, a WDP was payable and a credit of $998 would be applied to the hall's account. Additionally, the hall's solar panels generated an average of 3.45kwh per day, so a credit of $10 would be applied to the account to compensate for the four days of lost solar generation.

The company said it was willing to compensate Mrs G for the costs of the generators and electrician, but would need to see receipts and full details of the booked function. After receiving the relevant documentation the company questioned why it took four days for the disconnection to be noticed and why the provided invoices were dated in November, rather than September, when the services were used.

Mrs G said the booked function was the only event to take place during the four days, and that no one was using the hall earlier than the Saturday, so the disconnection went unnoticed. She said the President of the Hall Committee made a call to either the distributor or the company (she was not sure) and was advised that nothing could be done until Monday, which is why they waited to call the company on Monday morning. Regarding the invoice dates of November rather than September, Mrs G said it was most likely due to the companies' billing cycles.

The Outcome

The company agreed to a WDP of $998 for the disconnection in error, to apply a credit of $540 to the hall's electricity account to cover the costs of the generators and the electrician, and to apply a credit of $10 in light of the lost solar generation.

Mrs G was satisfied and the case was closed.

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