This page records the outcome of completed consultations on changes to the Utilities Disputes (previously EGCC) Scheme rules.

November 2018 - February 2019 - Levy review

18 February 2019

Minister approves all changes

We received confirmation on 18 February, Minister Faafoi has approved all the Board’s proposed Scheme document changes arising from the 2018 levy review. The new documents are available here.

8 January 2019

Following consultation, the Board has asked the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to approve changes to the Scheme documents for the Energy Complaints Scheme. The Minister has 45 days to consider the changes.

The Board would again like to thank everyone who engaged in consultation, and those who provided written submissions. We will send an update when we have heard back from the Minister.

The proposed changes are set out in these draft documents, with both clean and tracked versions. Please note - having tracked changes on creates formatting errors e.g. content slipping over to subsequent pages). These errors will be removed once finalised.

General and Scheme Rules (Tracked) [PDF 659KB]
Governance Charter and Constitution (Tracked) [PDF 596KB]

General and Scheme Rules (Clean) [PDF 578KB]
Governance Charter and Constitution (Clean) [PDF 553KB]

The summaries below explain the Board’s view on the levy-related review recommendations.

a Recommendation for removal of the day count trigger and a more graduated scale

The Board has decided to retain the day count trigger and not introduce a more graduated scale. The Board believes:

  • retaining the day count trigger incentivises providers to give early attention to a dispute and concerns about the “clock ticking” can be ameliorated through our ability to suspend cases as appropriate
  • a more graduated levy scale adds unnecessary complexity and administrative burden while placing more of a focus on time at the possible expense of quality

b Recommendation - fee for jurisdiction challenges

The Board has decided not to introduce a fee for jurisdiction challenges. The Board believes a fee for jurisdiction challenges conflicts with the principle of natural justice.

c Complainant’s engagement delaying the complaints process

The Board has asked Utilities Disputes to continue with its current methods of managing a lack of complainant engagement. The Board has passed on submitters’ comments to Utilities Disputes’ operations team to assist with its management of complainants and provider expectations.

d Recommendation for a fee for complaints reaching Utilities Disputes at deadlock

The Board has decided not to progress with a fee for complaints reaching Utilities Disputes at deadlock. The Board:

  • is wanting to raise awareness of Utilities Disputes’ and is conscious of any disincentive to providers sharing Utilities Disputes’ story
  • believes a fee for complaints reaching Utilities Disputes at deadlock may negatively impact the relationship with some providers
  • is conscious of the administrative burden created through a fee for complaints reaching Utilities Disputes at deadlock and the natural justice aspect of any resulting jurisdiction challenges
  • is giving further consideration of how it might share more information about complaints it receives at deadlock

e Recommendation for a minimum fee for membership

The Board has decided to introduce a $50 minimum levy for membership of the Energy Complaints Scheme. The Board believes $50 is an appropriate minimum fixed levy for the benefits all providers receive:

  • access to an independent dispute resolution scheme
  • ability to say they are members of a dispute resolution scheme
  • Utilities Disputes’ positive impact on the market through increased consumer confidence and provider certainty
  • Utilities Disputes’ communications and free training services such as webinars

f Transpower and First Gas levies

The Board has decided to:

  • adjust Transpower’s and First Gas’ fixed levies on the same basis as every distributor
  • initially increase Transpower and First Gas’ levies to match what they would have been if their increases had been at the same rate as every other provider since 2011, rather than at CPI

This means Transpower’s fixed levy will be $95,000 and First Gas’ levy (for its work operating the Gas Transmission Pipelines) will be $33,000, from April 1 2020.

The Board believes it is fair that any levy increase or decrease is appropriately spread across all providers. Transpower’s and First Gas’ are adjusted on the same basis as distributors as the Board believes it is most appropriate for transmission operators and distributors to see increases independent of retailers.

g Bulk membership

The Board has decided not to progress with a bulk membership proposal at this time. The Board has concerns about:

  • the ability for providers to misuse any bulk membership option
  • the potential for any bulk membership option to dilute our message

The Board notes it has scope within the current rules to sign up multiple members through agents. This still retains the direct relationship between Utilities Disputes and the provider. Associations and other industry bodies can already communicate Utilities Disputes requirements with their members. Utilities Disputes will continue to work closely with membership organisations to support them to share our story.

The Board also notes 13(a) of the Energy Complaints Scheme rules mean a complaint can be heard by Utilities Disputes about a provider that has not yet joined the scheme. This provision reduces concerns about consumers not having access to our process.

The draft documents also include a number of minor amendments to improve the clarity, readability, and flow of the rules. Examples include changing UDL to Utilities Disputes; removing the word that where it is unnecessary; and removing historical references and dates where they are no longer required.


21 December 2018

Consultation on the Energy Complaints Scheme levy review closed on 12 December. We received 12 submissions. The Board thanks all who engaged through the process and made a submission:

  • Meridian and Powershop
  • FinCap
  • Unison
  • Trustpower
  • Genesis
  • Contact
  • Powerco
  • Vector
  • Vocus
  • Mercury
  • Transpower
  • First Gas

Submissions have been put into a single PDF document, available here. 

The Board met on 19 December to consider submissions and decide what changes to propose to the Minister for approval.  In the new year, the Board will advise the Minister of the proposed changes and notify providers and stakeholders.


21 November 2018 

The Utilities Disputes Board is consulting with the membership group and other stakeholders on levy related recommendations from the independent review completed in 2017, and a proposal for a bulk membership option.

The consultation paper gives further context to the proposed changes and includes an appendix with questions the Board asks to help it decide the most appropriate way forward.

Closing date for the levy review consultation is 5pm on Wednesday 12 December 2018.
 
Electronic submissions in MS word format are preferred. All questions are included in the appendix, with space for submitters to answer and add comments.
 
Please send electronic submissions to submissions@utilitiesdisputes.co.nz
 
If you are not able to send your submission electronically, please post to: 

Submissions, Utilities Disputes
PO Box 5875, Wellington 6140, 
Freepost 192682

or fax to 0800 22 33 47.

Heather Roy
Independent Chair of the Utilities Disputes Board


March 2018 - September 2018 - Independent review

1 October 2018

The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon Kris Faafoi, approved the Scheme changes, which came into effect on 1 October 2018.
 

10 August 2018

Following consultation, the Board has asked the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to approve changes to the Scheme documents for the Energy Complaints Scheme. The Minister has 45 days to consider the changes.

The Board would again like to thank everyone who engaged in the two rounds of consultation, and those who provided written submissions. We will update again when we have heard back from the Minister.

The proposed changes are set out in these documents, with changes tracked:

General and Scheme Rules [PDF 477KB]
Governance Charter and Constitution [PDF 405KB]

At a glance the changes are:

  1. Inserting a new General Rule 13A to enable Utilities Disputes to consider complaints about providers for whom membership of the scheme is mandatory but the joining process has not been completed (General Rules p4);

  2. Inserting the words “under an easement” into General Rule 14b) and Scheme Rule 11, which a submitter noted were inadvertently removed from the previous definition of land complaint when the current rules were approved. This change ensures the jurisdiction for land complaints is not reduced further than as covered by the exclusions (General Rules p4 and Scheme Rules p2);

  3. Removing a typographical error in General Rule 15 b) by changing the incorrect cross reference from “13” to “12” (General Rules p6);

  4. Inserting the more encompassing word “stakeholder” and removing the words “of providers” from General Rule 52 to better represent the inclusive approach to annual meetings and promote independence (General Rules p11);

  5. Removing clause 1.11 from Scheme Rules Appendix Two (that excludes land complaints about retailers) due to clause 1.11’s redundancy (current definition of Complaint encompasses land complaints) (Scheme Rules p11);

  6. Removing from Constitution clause 6 the reference to “Providers, and relevant…” to better represent the inclusive approach to annual meetings and promote independence (Constitution p5);

  7. Inserting into the Governance Charter the word “stakeholder” in the heading on p4 and replacing the word “general” with the word “stakeholder” where they appear in clause 22 and 23 to better represent the inclusive approach to annual meetings and promote independence (Governance Charter p4). 

4 July 2018

Consultation round two closed on 15 June. We received 13 submissions in round two, nine from distributors and four from retailers. The Board thanks all who submitted:

  • Aurora
  • ENA
  • First Gas
  • Mainpower
  • Powerco
  • Transpower
  • Unison
  • Vector
  • Wellington Electricity
  • Ecotricity
  • Genesis
  • Meridian and Powershop
  • Trustpower

Submissions received in round two are available here. 

The Board next meets on 17 July where it will consider the submissions and use the information received when deciding the most appropriate way forward.

Please contact James, Manager Stakeholder Engagement, on 04 914 4537 or j.blake-palmer@utilitiesdisputes.co.nz if you have any questions.

28 May 2018

The Utilities Disputes Board is consulting with providers, members and stakeholders on recommendations from the independent review completed in 2017 and two Board proposed changes.

The consultation paper gives further context to the proposed changes and includes:

  • Appendix 1 - Preferred form for submissions and questions from the Board
  • Appendix 2 - An information paper on land complaint exclusions

Closing date for the second consultation round was Friday 15 June 2018.

Electronic submissions in MS word format are preferred.

Please send electronic submissions to: submissions@utilitiesdisputes.co.nz

If you are not able to send your submission electronically, please post to: Submissions, Utilities Disputes, PO Box 5875, Wellington 6140, Freepost 192682

or fax to: 0800 22 33 47.

11 May 2018

The Utilities Disputes Board will start round two of consultation on Monday 28 May 2018.

The consultation pack for round two, and how you can be involved, will be available on here following this date. 

Submissions received in round one are available here.

Thanks again to those who submitted in round one.

12 March 2018 

The Board of Utilities Disputes is consulting with providers, members, and stakeholders on recommendations from the independent review completed in 2017 and two Board proposed changes.

The consultation paper gives further context to the proposed changes. The consultation paper includes an appendix with questions the Board asks to help it decide which of the recommendations requiring scheme document changes it wishes to implement and how.

Closing date for the first consultation round was Friday 6 April 2018.

Electronic submissions in MS word format are preferred. All questions are included in the appendix, with space for submitters to answer and add comments.

Please send electronic submissions to submissions@utilitiesdisputes.co.nz

If you are not able to send your submission electronically, please post to: Submissions, Utilities Disputes, PO Box 5875, Wellington 6140, Freepost 192682

or fax to 0800 22 33 47. 


February to July 2016 - EGCC to Utilities Disputes

27 September 2016 

The Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs approved the Scheme changes as set out below:

Following consultation, the Board has asked the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs to approve the proposed changes to the Scheme documents. The Minister has 45 days to consider the changes.

The Board would again like to thank everyone who participated in the Advisory group, the two rounds of consultation, the feedback session, and those who provided written submissions. We will update again when we have heard back from the Minister.

The consultation document for the second round of consultation gives further context to and information about the changes.

You can also review the proposed changes using these links:

Governance charter

Constitution

General rules and Scheme rules.


July 2014 - Confirm and clarify the Commissioner's jurisdiction to consider complaints about LPG in cylinders

The Board consulted on proposed changes to clarify and confirm the Commissioner's jurisdiction to consider complaints about LPG in cylinders. The Minister of Consumer Affairs approved the changes and they became effective on 1 October 2014.

The consultation document explains the proposed changes. The Board received seven submissions

The Board wrote an open letter of thanks to submitters.


April 2014 - Indemnity disputes between members of the Scheme

The Board consulted on proposed changes to the Scheme document to allow the Commissioner to consider indemnity disputes between members of the Scheme. The changes were necessary because of amendments to the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.

The Consultation document explains the need for the changes and the process for approval.

The Board received 12 submissions, all from members.


November 2013 - Administrative matters and bottled LPG (deferred)

The Board consulted on recommended changes to the Scheme document in November 2013. The Minister of Consumer Affairs approved the changes and they took effect on 1 April 2014.

The consultation document explains the proposed changes.

The Chair of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner Scheme Board wrote an open letter to submitters thanking them for their submissions


March to May 2012 - Independent review

The Board of the EGCC Scheme consulted on recommended changes to the Scheme document in the first half of 2012. The Minister of Consumer Affairs approved the changes and they took effect on Monday 1 October 2012.

The recommended changes were drawn from an independent review of the Scheme conducted by Baljurda Comprehensive Consulting Ltd in 2011, and the Minister of Consumer Affairs suggestion that the financial jurisdiction of the Scheme be increased.

The document for the first round of consultation was released in March 2012.

The document for the second round of consultation was released in May 2012.

After the second round of consultation: