A customer’s gas supply is disconnected following a transfer error (August 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Billing mistakes
Case Number 2016/25836
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr X contacted EWOV on a Monday morning after having no gas over the weekend. The day before the disconnection, he opened letter from Retailer 1 addressed 'to the occupier'. It asked him to call Retailer 1 to avoid disconnection, so he did. He told it that he believed Retailer 2 was his retailer. Retailer 1 disputed this and advised that it was the retailer to his property and had been for four months. It said it would place a note on the account to stop the imminent disconnection.

Nevertheless, the disconnection proceeded, so Mr X called Retailer 1 again. He had several conversations with it, yet his supply was not reconnected. Retailer 1 criticised the retailer 2 for not processing a retrospective transfer request.

After four days without supply Mr X called EWOV. EWOV arranged for a same day reconnection of his gas supply. Due to the numerous phone calls Mr X had with Retailer 1 and the delay for supply reconnection, the complaint proceeded to an Investigation.

The Investigation

EWOV asked Retailer 1 for the full account history for Mr X’s property. EWOV confirmed that Retailer 1 had the billing rights to the property and had issued a single bill for $131 in the name of ‘the occupier’. There was no transfer objection or transfer pending from any other retailer.

Retailer 1 advised that it could only transfer Mr X back to Retailer 2 if it receives the correct retrospective transfer request from it.

EWOV also assessed whether a Wrongful Disconnection Payment was due. We also confirmed the disconnection and reconnection dates and times with the gas distributor.

The Outcome

Mr X’s gas supply was reconnected on the day he contacted EWOV. Retailer 1 advised that it would work with Retailer 2 to process a retrospective transfer to return the billing rights to his gas supply. The $131 bill would be cancelled. Mr X was given a direct contact at Retailer 1.

Retailer 1 agreed to pay $1,975.69 to Mr X as a WDP. The disconnection did not comply with clause 107(2) of the Energy Retail Code because it was aware before disconnecting the supply that it had obtained the property’s billing rights in error. Rather than disconnecting supply, it should have raised a retrospective transfer with Retailer 2.

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