The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) is a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints with your electricity, gas or water supplier. Before you contact EWOQ with your complaint, you must first try to resolve the problem with your electricty, gas or water company.
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Disconnections

Disconnection warning and notice

Your retailer must give you fair notice before your gas is restricted. A reminder notice will initially be sent, providing you with five business days to address the issue and advising what will happen if you don’t. If you fail to act on the reminder notice, a warning will be sent informing you that electricity disconnection will occur in five business days. Warnings must include information on how EWOQ can help.

 

What to do when you receive a disconnection notice

If you receive a notice, contact your retailer straight away, they may be able to help you. If you are having trouble paying your bill, there are a number of things your retailer can do to help:

  • offer a payment plan
  • inform you of rebates or concessions you may be entitled to
  • provide access to a financial hardship program
  • provide information on independent financial counselling
  • offer an energy, gas or water audit to identify where you can save money.

 

When can I be disconnected?

You can be disconnected for any of the following reasons:

  • if you failed to pay a bill, security deposit or for connection services to your property
  • if you didn’t provide safe access to meters for three consecutive scheduled meter readings
  • if there are health and safety concerns
  • if there is an emergency, or at the request of police
  • if you provide false information in order to be connected
  • if you don’t provide acceptable identification when requested by your retailer
  • if you conduct illegal activities at the property
  • if you cause damage to the distributor’s equipment or interfere with a third party’s supply.

 

When can’t I be disconnected?

You cannot have your electricity disconnected:

  • before 8am or after 3pm on a business day
  • on a Friday or the day before a public holiday
  • on a weekend or a public holiday
  • between 20 and 31 December (inclusive)
  • if you or a member of your household relies on life support equipment
  • if the disconnection is under investigation with EWOQ or another dispute resolution organisation.

 

Getting reconnected

Call your gas company as soon as you realise your gas has been disconnected. You will usually need to pay something towards your bill or organise a payment plan, to establish reconnection.

You may also be charged a reconnection fee. You will pay more if you want to reconnect outside of business hours.

In addition, you may be required to pay a security deposit. This can be up to 37.5 per cent of your estimated bills over a 12 month period.

 

How can EWOQ help?

If you are facing disconnection and can’t pay your bill, we can:

  • try and get you more time to pay
  • help you negotiate an affordable payment plan
  • refer you to agencies that distribute emergency funds
  • ask the retailer to put a hold on the disconnection while you locate financial assistance
  • give you information on financial assistance and how to save money on your bills.

If your gas supply has been disconnected, we will check that the disconnection was lawful, and try to get you reconnected.

 

Wrongful disconnection

Sometimes mistakes occur and you might be wrongfully disconnected. If this happens, you may be entitled to a Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) payment if the distributor wrongly disconnected you when:

  • it was not entitled to do so under legislation or a contract
  • it failed to comply with the procedures required for disconnection
  • the wrong premise was disconnected
  • your retailer did not give you a disconnection warning.

Contact your distributor to claim your GSL.