Energy retailers are wrongfully disconnecting electricity customers at a rate that is causing concern to the Essential Services Commission. Processes intended to protect customers from spur-of-the-moment disconnections are not being adhered to. These processes include hardship assessment, payment advice and adequate warning. Those owing less than $120 or on registered life-support equipment should not be disconnected at all.
In one alarming incident, Momentum Energy disconnected a customer on life-support for nine hours. Fortunately the customer was not harmed.
Wrongful disconnections more than doubled last financial year with Victoria’s electricity disconnections the highest in Australia. Sky-rocketing energy bills are creating financial difficulties for households. The ease with which electricity distributors can remotely disconnect smart meters makes it easier to disconnect first, ask questions later.