Customer disconnected from services after missing payments

A customer complained to EWON that her air conditioning service and hot water supply had been disconnected due to non-payment of her energy debt. The customer advised EWON that she had an account for centralised services within her building (air conditioning and hot water) and had accumulated a significant debt of over $5,000 due to unemployment. The customer had contacted the authorised electricity retailer and agreed to a payment plan of $300 a month. An error then occurred with the customer’s direct debit and her payment failed, causing cancellation of the payment plan. The customer contacted the authorised electricity retailer again to request reconnection and re-establish the payment plan of $300 a month. The retailer refused her request and demanded full payment of her debt of over $5,000 to be reconnected. The customer advised that the disconnection would impact her three children.

EWON contacted the electricity retailer to clarify the process to disconnect the customer, including how the customer was notified. The retailer advised there were no specific rules for disconnection as air conditioning and hot water were not essential services. EWON noted that the customer considered hot water a necessity to look after her three children. The retailer advised that the customer had failed two payment plans and the debt was now $5,088. EWON negotiated with the electricity retailer to reconnect the hot water supply, but not the air conditioning, and to re-establish the direct debit payment arrangement of $300 a month. EWON spoke with the customer again, and she confirmed that the hot water supply had been reconnected and that she had set up her direct debit for $300 a month.