Mr R arrived home in the evening to find he had been disconnected despite being up-to-date with his bills (January 2016)

Energy disconnection and water restriction
Case Number 2015/35871
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Arriving home after work, Mr R discovered his home was not connected to electricity. He called his distributor and it told him there appeared to be a fault and promptly sent two technicians to his home to investigate. Mr R's electricity was re-connected, but during the same visit technicians noticed that his mains fuse had been replaced with a "dummy" which indicated a disconnection had been carried out. The technicians called the distributor and it confirmed that Mr R's electricity retailer had requested the disconnection - but could not tell Mr R why. Given it was past 6.30pm, Mr R was not able to get through to his retailer's customers service centre, and the technicians told him they would have to re-disconnect him without confirmation from the retailer. Frustrated that he was going to be re-disconnected, Mr R called the police. Over the phone the police officer told Mr R that the disconnection could not legally be stopped, but did request the technicians call their supervisor, who then called off the disconnection until the next day.

When Mr R called his retailer from work the following morning, he was told their system was down and his details could not be retrieved. Throughout the day Mr R requested the retailer call his distributor to cancel the disconnection, which they agreed to do, as well as call him back to confirm. He did not receive any call backs. After hours on the phone with his retailer, talking to several different representatives, Mr R's power was restored later that evening — by which time his fridge and freezer had defrosted and its contents spoiled.

Mr R was not confident his retailer would adequately or promptly compensate him for his lost food and time during the disconnection process, so he contacted EWOV. In order to resolve the issue Mr R requested a payment of $400 for the inconvenience caused, as well as $100 for the loss of refrigerated and frozen food.

The Investigation

EWOV immediately escalated the issue to an Investigation given it involved a disconnection. The retailer told us that they requested the disconnection for the previous tenant's account as they were moving out. The retailer's representative made an error when entering the disconnection date, which was about three weeks after Mr R had moved in — resulting in the unexpected disconnection.

The Outcome

The retailer apologised for the inconvenience experienced by Mr R. It offered to apply a credit of $300, and pending the result of EWOV's ongoing Wrongful Disconnection Payment assessment, would increase the payment to $500, if found to have breached the disconnection rules. The customer was satisfied and the case was closed.

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