Opening and closing accounts
Read case studies of customers we've helped with issues in opening and closing energy and water accounts. Personal details have been changed to protect their privacy.
Gas account refused unless customer opened electricity account
Jack moved into a new house and opened an electricity account with his preferred provider. He then received a ‘Dear Occupant’ account from the incumbent gas retailer. He tried to open an account but that retailer refused unless he also opened an electricity account. It also issued a disconnection notice.
Outcome: During our investigation, we reminded the retailer of its responsibility to supply a customer as the incumbent retailer. The retailer acknowledged it could provide a standing offer contract and cancelled the disconnection notice. It also waived the period of billing between the customer’s move in date and the transfer date.
When a retailer is the incumbent, it is obligated to offer a customer a standard retail contract.
Disconnected customer refused an account
Judy tried to open an account with the existing retailer in her area, but was refused and told to go to another retailer. She tried to do this but failed a credit check and did not know what to do. She had been disconnected for nearly two months when she contacted us.
Our investigation found that Judy had a complex history of bad debts and illegal connections. However, as the incumbent, the retailer for her area has a legal obligation to open a new account on a standing offer contract.
Outcome: We helped establish a Centrepay arrangement and referred Judy to the retailer’s affordability program and financial counselling.
When a retailer is the existing supplier to a property (the incumbent), they are obligated to offer a customer a standard retail contract.
Cancelled transfer request
Desmond moved into a new home and requested an electricity account with his preferred retailer. He then received disconnection warning notices addressed to ‘The Resident’ from another retailer. His preferred retailer advised it couldn’t obtain the rights to establish an account.
We investigated and found that a transfer request had been cancelled without a valid explanation.
Outcome: The preferred retailer raised a move-in request and applied a credit of $500 towards the first bill as a customer service gesture.
Occasionally internally processes fail. If you’re not getting an adequate response from your retailer, contact us.
Delay in new connection following bushfire
John’s house was lost to the bushfires in November 2019. Luckily a shed remained on his property, so John decided to move into it, and asked his electricity retailer to connect the power there.
As there was no National Meter Identifier (NMI) for the property, the retailer asked John to request a new connection. His new connection request was rejected several times due to missing information, but was finally accepted on 22 November 2019. By 2 December however, the new meter had not been installed, so John contacted EWON.
We contacted the retailer to find out the reason for the delay and confirm when the meter would be installed. The meter was successfully installed on 10 December and John had working electricity by 14 December 2019.
Initially, the retailer agreed to a credit of $50 for the delay, however, we felt that was not fair and reasonable. We pointed out that it was not reasonable for a customer impacted by bushfires to have the information requested in the application readily available. Also, while NSW does not stipulate a particular penalty for delays in new connections, in Victoria energy retailers are required to pay customers $70 for each day a connection is delayed.
Outcome: The retailer agreed to increase the credit to $700, waive all installation costs and assess the customer for its hardship program. This resulted in a total credit of $1,403.38.
If you’ve been affected by the bushfires and have an issue with your energy or water, let your provider know. If they can't resolve your complaint, get in touch.
Read more about available bushfire support.
Final bill confusion
Sally closed her small business and requested a final bill from her gas supplier. She made two appointments for a special read but a meter reader did not come. Her retailer didn’t respond for some time and then sent an estimated bill for one month for $550.
We investigated and established that the bill actually covered a 4-month period. The retailer recognised there had been poor customer service.
Outcome: The customer’s outstanding bill was reduced, leaving the account $23 in credit.
If you have a billing issue that your provider has not resolved, get in touch.
Delayed electricity connection after bushfire
Brian’s house burnt down during the bushfires in October 2019 so he and his partner moved into the shed behind their house. He contacted his energy provider numerous times to establish a site connection to the shed, but it was rejected because the supply address couldn’t be found. After submitting his rates notice, he was told he would be connected to the network and have a meter installed within six business days.
By late December 2019, Brian had been without power for over a month, including during the Christmas period. Having lost his home to the fires, and then having no electricity or gas for months had been extremely stressful, so in late January he called Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW to advise that his shed had still not been connected as promised.
We put in an urgent request for a meter installation and informed Brian that meters must be installed within six business days once a property is connected to the network. The meter was installed within four days. We found the energy provider did not prioritise the meter installation in accordance with its highly publicised bushfire assistance program. We escalated this to an energy retailer executive and it was investigated further. Following the investigation, it was discovered that a few postcodes affected by the October and November 2019 bushfires had been inadvertently overlooked when the provider prepared its bushfire assistance program documentation.
Outcome: Following our request, the provider agreed to increase its initial offer of a $50 customer service gesture to $700 and waived the meter installation costs, which put Brian’s account into credit by $1,400. He was relieved to finally have energy supplied to his property.
If you have a complaint with your provider that they have been unable to resolve, get in touch with us.
Extra bill after account closed
Cynthia moved address and closed her account after paying the final bill. The following year she received a bill for a two-day period for $330. She contacted the retailer, provided evidence she had left the premises, and questioned the high bill. She heard nothing further, but three years later was contacted by a debt collection company seeking payment of the bill.
Outcome: Our investigation found the $330 was incorrectly added to the customer’s account and the debt was sold two years later. The retailer agreed to waive the debt and also offered $150 for the inconvenience caused.
Sometimes billing errors happen. If you’re not happy with a bill, contact your provider. If you’re not satisfied, contact us.