Kiwis in the dark about disconnections
31 May 2017
In the last few months, 6170 Kiwi homes experienced electricity disconnections, according to the Electricity Authority. Utilities Disputes Commissioner Nanette Moreau is concerned because during that time, only 41 people contacted her free and independent service to complain. Were the other 6129 households content they were disconnected?
“Most people are in the dark about what to do,” says Nanette. “People who receive a disconnection notice should call their provider to make sure there are no errors and to discuss a possible payment plan. If people believe there is something wrong with their notice and they cannot resolve the issue with their provider, they should call Utilities Disputes. We will help them make sure their concerns are understood and they get to the right place in the provider's company."
Nanette describes a recent example – a woman called Utilities Disputes who had experienced misunderstandings with her provider for over a year, leading to a disconnection notice. When Utilities Disputes conciliators heard the situation, they immediately put her in touch with the right people at the provider’s company. An imminent disconnection was averted and a reasonable payment plan was created on the spot.
Nanette says that disconnection issues often fall into repeatable categories: misunderstandings, notifications not received, providers not following their process, problems with contractors, consumers not being informed of the complaints process, consumers failing to make timely payments.
“Every situation is different,” Nanette states, “but if you receive a disconnection notice, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of all options that are open to you. If you are medically dependent or if other vulnerability conditions apply, you must let your provider know right away.”