Surge appliance damage (D/96/5)

Case number: D/96/5
Date of Decision: 17 December 1996
Decision accepted by the customer: Yes

A customer contacted EIOV stating that a number of her electrical appliances had been damaged as a result of a power surge at her residence. The customer claimed she had sustained damage to her fridge, stereo, three televisions, three videos, a ceiling fan, a clock radio, a computer, a printer and a sensor light. The customer subsequently also noticed and reported damage to her freezer and provided EIOV with receipts and quotes to substantiate her claim of $2,441.45.

The customer stated that her electricity company sent an inspector to inspect the damaged appliances and advised her to send in a claim. The company subsequently informed her that the event had been caused by a possum and that it would not accept liability for the alleged damage.

The customer was unhappy with the electricity company's response to the issues she had raised. She stated that her insurance policy did not cover her for the event and she was therefore substantially out of pocket and that she had experienced considerable inconvenience, such as her lack of basic household items and time spent in pursuing her claim.

EIOV undertook a detailed investigation into the matter. This included examination of reports provided by the electricity company and independent technical advice. The technical advice raised questions as to the actual cause of the event as the only information provided by the electricity company was outage analysis report notations. EIOV also investigated the customer's claim amount and conducted repair advice checks.

On the basis of the available documentary and other evidence, and taking into consideration the facts of the case, the Ombudsman determined that the fair and reasonable outcome was to direct the company to pay the customer $1,741.45.