A fallen branch leads to a higher than expected repair bill (October 2014)

Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Case Number 2014/40337
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

A customer was told by his electricity distributor that he needed to remove two dead trees in his front yard as they posed a safety risk to the power lines. While removing the trees, the contractor that he had employed noticed the power line supplying the property was damaged. The damage was not caused when the contractor was removing the trees. The customer notified the distributor and it promptly repaired the damaged power line. However, soon after the incident, the customer received a bill in the amount of $562 for the repairs from the distributor, which he didn’t believe was responsible for. He contacted the distributor but was dissatisfied with the distributor’s response to his complaint and contacted EWOV.

The Investigation

EWOV opened an Assisted Referral and the complaint was referred to a high level contact at the distributor. However, this did not resolve the issue and the customer re-contacted EWOV and an Investigation was opened. The customer advised EWOV that to resolve the dispute he wanted the distributor to waive the repair charge.

During EWOV's Investigation, the distributor explained that it had attended the property after receiving a call from the customer about a low service line that was lying on his neighbour’s roof. The service crew re-sagged the service line to the correct position but reported that the overhanging service line was damaged by a branch. In this case, even though the issue wasn’t caused during the tree removal, a fallen branch had damaged the service line. The distributor advised that maintaining a property’s vegetation, and ensuring that trees don’t overhang service lines, is the responsibility of the property owner.

The Outcome

Although the distributor had followed the correct procedure, it offered to apply a financial credit of $200 as a gesture of goodwill. This reduced the repair bill to $362. The distributor also provided a direct contact in case the customer required any further information. The customer was satisfied with the resolution and the Investigation was closed.

Related content

Fact Sheet 39

Switching for customers in embedded networks

Getting connected and changing energy company, Meters, poles, wires and pipes
What to do if you are an Embedded Network customer and want to switch retailers.
Hot topic

Hot Topic − Fair and reasonable (August 2018)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings, Outages, brownouts and power surges, High bills, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes