Water in a gas meter leads to several unplanned gas outages (December 2014)

Outages, brownouts and power surges
Case Number 2014/35338
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

A customer was concerned that her gas distribution company was not taking steps towards repairing a reoccurring issue with her gas meter, which left her without gas supply for prolonged periods and even entire days. She was advised by the company when it had attended her property to rectify this issue in the past, that the unplanned outages were due to water in her gas meter.

The customer contacted EWOV on 4 August 2014 after she experienced another unplanned gas outage for an entire day. Although the gas distributor attended the property to repair the meter, she was concerned that the ongoing issue was not being addressed by the company. She was also looking for it to cover any accommodation costs she might incur if the supply could not be reconnected that day. We raised an Assisted Referral which required the company to contact the customer within five business days to discuss a resolution.

The Investigation

The customer recontacted EWOV as she was not satisfied with the information provided by the company as part of the Assisted Referral. As the matter involved complex distribution issues, EWOV raised an Investigation.

As part of our investigation, we requested information about the outages that the customer had experienced and how the matter was being addressed to ensure a long term solution.

The company confirmed that it attended the customer’s property on 4 August 2014 as requested and cleared water from the gas meter in order to reconnect supply. However, its company charter did not extend to remuneration of alternative accommodation costs due to unplanned outages.

As the customer had experienced several outages, EWOV requested that she be assessed for a Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) payment. This is payable when a customer experiences sustained periods without supply over a 12 month period.  This was assessed for the dates the customer was living at the property and it was found that she was not eligible for the payment.

The Outcome

As the customer had moved property during the investigation, she was no longer at risk of being affected by unplanned gas outages. The distribution company advised that the gas supply infrastructure for the property, and the surrounding properties, was scheduled for maintenance in the coming months, and the issue would be rectified for future residents.

The customer was advised by EWOV that the combined length of the outages she had experienced had been assessed for a GSL payment, but was found to be ineligible. The distribution company did however offer $150 in recognition of the inconveniences that the off-supply periods had caused her in the past.

The customer was satisfied with this as a resolution and requested that a cheque for $150 be sent to her new property.

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