A gas leak was left unrepaired for three months (March 2017)

Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Case Number 2016/28715
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr B was dissatisfied with his gas retailer after receiving high bills after experiencing a gas leak. He initially discovered a leak at his meter in March 2016 and contacted his gas retailer. After reporting it, he assumed the retailer would come out to fix the leak and left it at that. However, in July 2016 the distributor visited the property to replace the gas meter as it was scheduled to be replaced. The distributor identified a leak and Mr B contacted the gas retailer again. He also arranged his own plumber to inspect the issue the next day.

The retailer insisted the bills were correct and they had to be paid in full. Mr B believed they were higher than they should have been because of the gas leak, but paid the $800 bill for the period of April 2016 to June 2016. However, the bills from June 2016 to October 2016, totalling nearly $1,800, remained unpaid and Mr B consequently missed the pay-on-time discount.

Because of the ongoing dispute with the retailer, Mr B contacted EWOV in December 2016, believing the retailer contributed to his high bills due to its lack of action.

When lodging his gas complaint, he indicated he was looking to have the pay-on-time discount re-applied to the unpaid bills and have the gas retailer reduce the April 2016 to June 2016 bill by 50%.

The Investigation

EWOV raised an Assisted Referral and contacted the gas retailer to escalate the complaint to a higher-level contact at the retailer to make contact with Mr B to resolve the issue. Unfortunately Mr B recontacted EWOV again and the complaint was progressed to an Investigation.

As part of this Investigation, we reviewed all available account information and relevant communication between Mr B and his gas retailer.

The retailer confirmed that Mr B had called in March 2016 to report the gas leak. It indicated that the leak was on the customer’s side of the meter. Because of this, it said it was Mr B’s responsibility and the higher charges were justified.

The retailer also said that the leak discovered in July 2016 by the distributor was on the distributor’s side of the meter, and because of the gas flow, it would have been impossible that this leak was causing higher bills.

In response to this, Mr B stated the leak in July 2016 was the same leak he reported in March 2016, which meant the leak was not fixed. In response to a request for additional information, the distributor confirmed it attended the property in July 2016, but had no record of attending the property at an earlier date. There was also no evidence of a previous leak.

EWOV requested the call recording between Mr B and his retailer to confirm what was discussed and agreed on, but the retailer was unable to locate it. Mr B also provided the plumber’s invoice, showing the plumber attended his property the day after Mr B contacted his retailer in July 2016.

The Outcome

In an attempt to resolve the issue and because the call recording could not be located, the retailer applied a $700 credit to the disputed bills, re-applied the pay-on-time discount, totalling over $420, and offered to discuss a payment arrangement with Mr B on the overdue bills.

Mr B was happy with the outcome and the case was closed. He was also given a direct contact at his retailer in case there were any further issues.

More information: wrong bills and faulty meters

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