A delay in a new electricity connection causes a customer to lose money (February 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company
Case Number 2016/22629
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr T purchased land in June 2016 and engaged his builder to start construction of his new home in September 2016. In mid-September 2016, the builder attempted to start work but found that the electricity was not connected despite a prior request to do so. The builders needed to hire generators to commence the works and passed the $250 per week cost on to Mr T. 

Mr T had contacted his local council and it advised that a letter of compliance was received from the electricity distributor in May 2016 and the expected connection date was meant to be within three weeks. Mr T contacted his electricity distributor about the issue but was unable to resolve the complaint. Mr T contacted EWOV on 12 October 2016 and an Assisted Referral was raised.

However, the Assisted Referral did not resolve Mr T’s concerns so he recontacted EWOV on 7 November 2016 and the matter progressed to an Investigation.

The Investigation

EWOV requested documents about the new connection, including the application forms, compliance certificates and other information to build a timeline of events. The customer provided substantiation of his financial loss due to the connection delay. The customer was claiming $2,000 in losses. The electricity distributor in return offered only $1,000 for interest charged on a loan. The customer was not initially satisfied with this amount, so EWOV sought industry practice advice to find out what other electricity distributors would offer to resolve the complaint. This consultation found that two other electricity distributors would offer a credit of $1,000 in similar circumstances, while another would not offer any compensation.

The Outcome

The electricity distributor confirmed that the electricity supply was connected and a meter was installed at Mr T’s premises on 25 November 2016. Due to the delay with the new connection, the electricity distributor offered a $1,000 credit in recognition of the inconvenience experienced. EWOV considered the distributor’s offer, Mr T’s substantiation of loss, a timeline of events and other documentation in our assessment of what was fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the complaint. Based on this assessment, EWOV advised Mr T that the offer of $1,000 appeared to be fair in this instance. Mr T was satisfied with the outcome and the case was closed.

You can read more about getting connected and changing your energy company in our issues section. We also have a fact sheet about moving in and out of a property [PDF, 250 KB] and changing your energy retailer [PDF, 252 KB].

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