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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Disconnection & restriction case studies

Further information:

Billing continues after bushfire disconnection

After the recent bushfires, a customer’s electricity distributor disconnected her electricity for safety reasons.

However, her electricity provider continued to bill her for 3 months after she was disconnected.

When she asked them why, they told her that she should’ve cancelled her electricity service, so she had to pay the charges.

At that point, she contacted EWOQ for help.

We discovered that the distributor hadn’t notified the electricity market about their decision to disconnect after the bushfires, so her provider hadn’t known about it until the customer told them.

The provider agreed to backdate and finalise her account to the disconnection date. She ended up with a credit of $114.59, which she was pleased about.

Unfortunately, getting the power reconnected was not as simple, as her account had been closed and supply disconnected. Her electrician had to repair her mains and lodge paperwork before she could set up a new account with her provider.

Slow reconnection time causes stress for new mother

A customer had her electricity disconnected due to an outstanding $350 bill. Caring for her 5-week-old premature baby had caused the bill to slip her mind. She contacted the retailer and paid the bill in full.

The retailer told her they would reconnect the power the following day. She told them that her baby needed an oxygen concentrator 24 hours a day, but the retailer told her nothing could be done and she should take the baby to a hospital.

When the customer contacted us for help, we contacted the distributor who said they would perform an out-of-hours, same day reconnection for the customer.

The electricity was back on by 6pm and the customer was extremely grateful for our assistance, as it allowed her new baby to stay at home.

Disconnected in error

The electricity supply was disconnected at the customer’s premises, despite him having set up an electricity account under his name and hadn't received any disconnection notices. He had contacted his electricity retailer on several occasions to organise a reconnection of the electricity supply, however, supply remained disconnected.  

Our investigation established that an electricity account had been created but not completed under the customer’s name, therefore, when the previous tenant called to disconnect the supply, the disconnection was actioned by human error of the retailer. The electricity retailer acknowledged the electricity has been disconnected in error, explained the reason for the delay in reconnection and confirmed the customer’s account had been set up.

As resolution of the matter, the electricity supply was reconnected at the premises and the retailer offered a $180 customer service gesture, which was in addition to the previous $70 credit already applied to the account.

Disconnection due to transfer error

A customer arrived home after an extended period away to find the power disconnected. Due to the disconnection, they had lost the contents of their refrigerator and freezer.They contacted their retailer who advised the account had been transferred to another electricity retailer.

EWOQ arranged for their power to be reconnected and their account transferred back to their original retailer, however, the retailer who had incorrectly transferred the account would not agree to compensation. EWOQ sent a Notice of Investigation to the Retailer documenting the details of the complaint and requesting an explanation as to how the account had transferred without the consent of the customer. EWOQ also requested the Retailer to provide compensation for the loss of food due to transfer error and subsequent disconnection. In response to the Notice of Investigation, it was identified the site was taken over incorrectly due to an alternate customer requesting a connection.

To resolve the matter the Retailer agreed to provide compensation in the amount requested by the customer for the loss of food. EWOQ contacted the customer who accepted the outcome of the investigation and was satisfied with the compensation offered in resolution.

Harsh consequences for person in need

A customer entered into a payment plan with her retailer for an outstanding bill of $400. When the customer missed one payment her gas supply was disconnected. The customer advised EWOQ that she had informed her retailer she was experiencing financial hardship but the retailer did not provide any information about its hardship program or the government assistance available through the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS). The customer contacted EWOQ to assist with having her gas supply reconnected as soon as possible, to request that she be considered for the retailer's hardship program together with an application for HEEAS, and to be able to reinstate her payment plan at $50 per fortnight.

EWOQ contacted the retailer and arranged for the customer's gas supply to be reconnected. As a result of our negotiation with the retailer, the retailer also agreed to re-establish the customer's payment plan and discuss with the customer its hardship program. In addition, the retailer agreed to provide the customer with information on the government assistance available through HEEAS for customers experiencing financial hardship.