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.  Photo of a burnt out house

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.