Customer disconnected in error when her neighbour moved out (January 2015)

Energy disconnection and water restriction, Billing mistakes
Case Number 2014/54403
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

The customer’s electricity supply was disconnected on 23 December 2014. She thought there had been a supply interruption. However, when she contacted her electricity distributor, she was advised that there was no supply outage and that her retailer had requested de-energisation of the property. The customer’s neighbour, who was also with the same retailer as the customer, had just moved out around the time of the disconnection and so she believed that there may have been a cross-metering issue. The customer contacted her retailer several times on 24 December 2014. She was advised by her retailer that it would arrange for reconnection to occur and it said it would send her a claim form. The customer’s electricity was reconnected at 10.30am on 24 December 2014, but because of the amount of time the disconnection lasted, perishable food items in her fridge were spoiled. Dissatisfied, the customer contacted EWOV on 24 December 2014.

The Investigation

The case bypassed the Assisted Referral and Real Time Resolution processes due to the disconnection and the number of customer contacts. EWOV’s investigation included a search and review of the customer’s metering details in the national electricity database – the Market Settlement and Transfer Solution (MSATS). The MSATS search confirmed that the customer’s address and metering information were correct. The retailer acknowledged that it de-energised the customer’s meter in error when her neighbour moved out. EWOV also completed a review of the disconnection process to investigate if a Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) was applicable.

The Outcome

The customer’s retailer apologised for the inconvenience caused and applied a $300 credit to the account in recognition of this and to reimburse for the lost food items. The retailer confirmed that due to an administrative error, the incorrect property had been disconnected. Therefore, it had not followed the correct disconnection process and as a result paid a WDP of $240.28 ($250 per day pro rata). After the above credits were applied, the customer’s account was $720.77 in credit which she chose to have deposited into her bank account. The retailer provided a higher level contact in case there were any unforeseen issues with the bank transfer. The customer was satisfied with the outcome and the case was closed.

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