A tradesperson is billed by a gas distributor after damaging one of its pipes (September 2016)

Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Case Number 2016/19005
Outcome Conciliation

The issue

While Mr L was completing works for a client at their residential property he hit a gas distributor’s gas line while digging. The incident was reported to the gas distributor and it attended the property to repair the damage.

Soon after, Mr L was dissatisfied with the gas distributor after receiving a bill for $227 to cover the cost of the damage. He did not believe that he should be liable for the bill as the pipe was only 100mm underground, not the 450mm minimum depth required. He said that if the pipe had been buried deeper, he would not have struck it. He contacted the gas distributor to dispute the repair bill but this did not resolve the complaint. Unable to reach an agreed outcome directly, Mr L contacted EWOV on 31 August 2016 and an Assisted Referral was raised.

The investigation

The Assisted Referral did not resolve Mr L’s issue, so he recontacted EWOV on 5 September 2016 and the case was moved to an Investigation. As part of the Investigation, EWOV liaised between Mr L and the gas distributor to hear both parties’ version of events. EWOV also needed to consider its jurisdiction as some complaints involving the ‘cost of capital contribution’ are outside of EWOV’s jurisdiction under EWOV’s Charter. In this case, EWOV determined that Mr L’s complaint was actually about the depth of the pipe, not about the value of the repair bill. Therefore, we continued our Investigation into Mr L’s issue.

The outcome

As a result of the Investigation, the gas distributor offered to waive the $227 repair bill, without admitting liability, in order to facilitate a speedy resolution to the complaint. Mr L was satisfied with the outcome and the case was closed.

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