Customer’s capacity to pay not assessed before disconnection (July 2014)

Energy disconnection and water restriction
Case Number 2014/28851
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

The customer’s electricity supply was disconnected on 18 February 2014 for non-payment of arrears. He owed $1,692 at the time of the disconnection. He contacted the electricity company about the disconnection in May 2014 and was asked to pay $800 in order to have the supply reconnected, which he advised was not affordable.

Dissatisfied with the company’s request to pay 50% of the account balance to be reconnected, the customer contacted EWOV on 19 June 2014.  EWOV raised an Investigation due to the complexity of the issue. The customer’s electricity supply was reconnected on the same day as a result of EWOV’s Same Day Reconnection Policy.

The Investigation

During the Investigation, EWOV reviewed the customer’s billing and identified high usage during the winter months had contributed to the accumulation of arrears. EWOV also reviewed the circumstances of the disconnection and the electricity company agreed that it did not assess the customer’s capacity to pay before it disconnected supply. Therefore, a Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) of $3,500 was applicable. The WDP amount was capped at 14 days ($250 per day) as the customer did not make contact with the company about the disconnection until May 2014.

The Outcome

After the company applied the WDP to the customer’s account, it had a credit balance of $1,857.88. The customer elected to leave the credit on the account to pay future bills. EWOV also provided the customer with a graph of his usage to assist him to understand his electricity consumption and ways to reduce it. The customer was satisfied with the outcome and the case was closed.

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