The electricity supply is cut off at a customer's new property because of debt from the previous tenant (February 2016)

Energy disconnection and water restriction
Case Number 2015/34342
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms S moved into a new property in December 2015. She established an electricity account with a new energy retailer and several days later found that her electricity supply had been disconnected. She contacted the retailer and was told that the electricity had been cut off because of unpaid electricity bills. Ms S informed the customer service representative that this could not be possible as there was no outstanding debt on her newly established account. The representative advised Ms S that the supply would be reconnected within the next hour, which did not occur. Ms S made several calls to the retailer the same day, and after her supply remained disconnected, she contacted EWOV.

The Investigation

As Ms S had already made several attempt to connect her electricity supply directly with the energy retailer and as she remained disconnected, EWOV escalated the matter to an Investigation straight away. EWOV requested that Ms S ensure the mains switch at the electrical switchboard at her property was in the 'off' position in order for the reconnection to be completed successfully. Ms S told EWOV that the retailer had not advised her – on any of her contacts with it – that she needed to put her switch in the ’off’ position. Ms S considered that this information had considerably delayed her reconnection.

EWOV contacted the retailer and arranged a reconnection the same day. Once it was confirmed that Ms S’s supply had been restored, further investigation into the reason for the disconnection was carried out. It was established that the disconnection was that the account of the previous tenant had remained unpaid and the new account in Ms S’s name had not yet been properly created.

The Outcome

The energy retailer apologised for the inconvenience the matter had caused and the poor customer service Ms S had experienced. The retailer confirmed that the account had now been correctly set up and that it had applied a $200 credit to the account in recognition of the dissatisfaction the matter had caused and also to cover the cost of any food loss the power outage may have caused. Ms S was satisfied with the outcome of the investigation and the case was closed.

As per our policy, EWOV also raised a Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) assessment case to be investigated concurrently (see our disconnection and restriction for debt fact sheet for more information).

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Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, High bills
Hot topic

Hot Topic − Fair and reasonable (August 2018)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings, Outages, brownouts and power surges, High bills, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes