A customer’s electricity was disconnected in error and off supply for two days (May 2016)

Energy disconnection and water restriction
Case Number 2016/7622
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms Y contacted EWOV on 8 April 2016 dissatisfied that her electricity had been disconnected on 5 April 2016 at around 7pm. Her account was not in arrears and she had received no warning of a pending disconnection. As a result of the disconnection, food had spoilt in her fridge and freezer and she had to pay to purchase meals and make calls to resolve the matter. She believed that she was out of pocket $250. She called her retailer and was advised that the disconnection was an error and the wrong apartment was disconnected. She was not reconnected until 8 April 2016. When she spoke with her retailer it offered to provide financial recognition of $150 but she was not satisfied with the amount offered and contacted EWOV.

The Investigation

Based on Ms Y’s complaint and previous contact with the retailer, EWOV skipped the Assisted Referral and Real Time Resolution processes and lodged an Investigation. In response, the retailer apologised for the inconvenience, confirmed that the disconnection had occurred in error and that there was a delay in the reconnection.

The disconnection had occurred because another customer had called in January 2016 to create an account for the apartment, but called back later that day to cancel this request (realising they had requested the wrong apartment). Unfortunately, this had cancelled Ms Y’s account and due to human error it was not reinstated. A final bill was sent to Ms Y in February 2016, and as the retailer’s system did not show an active account it started sending occupier notices. When it did not receive a response to start an account, it organised the disconnection of supply.

The Outcome

As a result of EWOV’s investigation, a new account was established in Ms Y’s name, and a credit of $250 was applied to the account in recognition of the inconvenience the matter has caused Ms Y. EWOV also completed an assessment of the disconnection to confirm if it complied with the requirements of the Energy Retail Code. The retailer confirmed that it did not comply with its requirements and as such as Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) of $1,000.35 was payable to Ms Y ($500 per day or part thereof).

This was paid because Ms Y’s account had been closed in error and therefore was not compliant with clause 112 (1)(c) of the ERC. Ms Y was satisfied with the outcome and the case was resolved.

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