Life-support patient disconnected | Herald Sun

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.

Full report by Karen Collier


This entry was posted in Bills Soar, disconnection, Essential Services Commission, Power Company and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Life-support patient disconnected | Herald Sun

  1. Snowy says:

    Time for a Notice Of Liability. Turn the tables. They have transferred all liability on to the customer by hiding behind a corporate facade. These people have names, and they are liable. Everywhere customers are transferring the liability back on to the utility presidents and CEOs and other higher tier people in positions of responsibility who have names and faces and who work for the utility.
    Take Back Your Power dot net has docs that can be tailored for each situation. It is working. They are freaking out, no place to run or hide, and like all bullies, they are cowards.
    Try it.

    • Dougall says:

      Get names surnames and employee numbers and inform them that they will be held personally liable. Make it known in all written correspondence. Name the individuals and make them liable. Make them liable and then enforce that liability. There must be no more hiding behind fictitious authority.

      • Anonymous says:

        They don’t put full names on letters or they they don’t put any name at all. This is cowardly as i give them my full name. They are obviously worried about giving out names.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not just the Distributors that have to be held accountable,it is all those public servants that also need to be brought to justice. These people are paid by the people to work for the people. These public servants should not be giving any information out about radiation, they are not qualified and thus run the risk of giving out information that can cause harm or even death. This is negligence.
      I wonder if they would be so quick to give out information if they knew they could be sued and fired down the track?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a horrible world we live in when you can disconnect someone for not being able to pay for electricity. We will never find out if any tragedies have occurred, maybe in 50 years time we will. I think that we have not heard the worst yet.

  3. Paul says:

    This may help those with huge electricity bills.
    About 2 years ago my household electricity bill came in at just under $1,300 for the quarter. I did have an electric hot water system, which I replaced with an instantaneous gas service. My next electricity bill came in at around $700 – much better but still too expensive, so I decided to replace all the light globes around the house with LED globes (Click brand from Bunnings – 6 watt, which have either a batten fix or Edison screw base). These globes currently sell in packets of 2 for about $18 and are visually indistinguishable from the average household globe. I also replaced ‘unusual’ globes such as the GU10 base 50 watt/240 volt downlights globes with 5 watt/240 volt (also from Bunnings ~ $28 for 4 globes). The fluorescent tube in the carport is also LED, as are the floodlights around the house (available from EBay). The only remaining incandescent globe in the house is a 15 watt globe inside the oven, as LEDs cannot be used in that situation.
    The following electricity bill came in at around $270 and each bill since then has averaged that amount, so the LEDs have definitely paid for themselves because they consume only about 1/10th of the power. Added benefits are that they last 5-6 times longer, do not get hot (just barely warm) and do not break if dropped.
    PS I still don’t have a smart meter!

    • Anonymous says:

      Paul, do you know if the LED’s you use contain any mercury ? And do you know if they give off any RF ? You can test this by placing an AM radio near the lights. I know that with an incandescent you won’t hear boo.

      As far as “still” not having a smart meter, you can probably omit the word “still” because it may imply possibility. Possibility is only what we choose to allow. I say to you congratulations.

    • Gwen says:

      Thanks Paul for the information. Well done on keeping the real meter and not having to suffer with a surveillance device.

    • Anonymous says:

      My electricity consumption is low it is the supply charge that makes up most of the bill. You can’t reduce the supply charge no matter how many changes you make. Most of my neighbors are elderly they hardly use any power, it is the supply charge that is the problem.

  4. Peter says:

    An American report on the dangers of electromagnetic radiation

    Scores of Scientists Raise Alarm About the Long-Term Health Effects of Cell Phones
    Posted on May 12, 2015 by postroad | Comments Off on Scores of Scientists Raise Alarm About the Long-Term Health Effects of Cell Phones

    Children in particular may be vulnerable.cell-phone-radiation
    —Are government officials doing enough to protect us from the potential long-term health effects of wearable devices and cell phones? Maybe not. A letter released today, signed by more than 190 scientists from 38 countries, calls on the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and national governments to develop stricter controls on these and other products that create electromagnetic fields (EMF).

    “Based on peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices,” reads the letter, whose signatories have collectively published more than 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the subject. “The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF.”

    For decades, some scientists have questioned the safety of EMF, but their concerns take on a heightened significance in the age of ubiquitous WiFi routers, the Internet of Things, and the advent of wearable technologies like the Apple Watch and Fitbit devices, which remain in close contact with the body for extended periods.

    Cell phones, among the most studied emitters of electromagnetic radiation, remain the standard for judging health risks. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that “we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use.” In a 2012 review of all available research, Timothy Moynihan, a doctor with the respected Mayo Clinic, concluded that “there’s no consensus about the degree of cancer risk—if any—posed by cell phone use.”

    The WHO, on the other hand, classifies radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (the type emitted by WiFi routers and cell phones) as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence associating cell phone use with an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer. “The conclusion means that there could be some risk,” Dr. Jonathan Samet, a medical professor at the University of Southern California and chair of the WHO panel that made the determination, explained in 2011, “and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer.”

    Studies since then have highlighted the need for caution. Last year, French researchers found an almost three-fold increase in the incidence of brain cancer in people with more than 900 hours of lifetime cell phone use. Then, in March, Swedish researchers reported that the risk of being diagnosed with brain cancer increased by a factor of three in people who’d used cell or cordless phones for at least 25 years. Research on lab animals has caused similar concerns.

    Respected medical groups are starting to pay attention. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radiation levels in communication devices, to adopt cell-phone standards that are more protective for children, and to better disclose products’ EMF levels to consumers. In December, the California Medical Association urged regulators to “reevaluate microwave radiation exposure levels associated with wireless communication devices.”

    Most of the researchers who signed today’s appeal letter believe that there’s now enough evidence to classify radio-frequency EMF as “probably carcinogenic” or even just plain “carcinogenic,” says Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California-Berkeley, who played a central role in gathering the signatures. “All of them are clearly calling for the need for caution.”

    Reports about a lack of scientific consensus on the health effects of cell phones, which have appeared in Slate, Wired, the Verge, and elsewhere are somewhat misleading, Moskowitz contends. In a 2009 review for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, he parsed cell phone studies based on the funding source and quality of the science. He found that low-quality and industry-funded studies tended not to associate cell phone use with a heightened risk of tumors, while high-quality and foundation- or public-funded studies usually found the opposite result. “This is very much like studying tobacco back in the 1950s,” he says. “The industry has co-opted many researchers.”

    In 2011, Moskowitz consulted for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after it voted to pass the nation’s first right-to-know cell phone ordinance. The law would have forced retailers to warn consumers about potentially dangerous radiation levels emitted by cell phones, but the supervisors agreed to effectively nix the law to settle a court challenge by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association; the industry’s lead trade group argued that the law violated its free speech rights. (The CTIA did not return a call from Mother Jones requesting comment on today’s appeal letter and the health effects of cell phones.)

    On Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council will vote on a right-to-know law that was carefully worded to thwart legal challenges. Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, who helped craft the law, has volunteered to defend it in court pro bono. “We are really all part of a large biological experiment without our informed consent,” says Columbia University EMF expert Martin Blank in a video released to coincide with today’s letter. “To protect ourselves, our children, and our ecosystem, we must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”

    • Lyle Nesbitt says:

      Flying in the face of all this……………..

      Can anyone conceive placing a microwave transmitter inside a children’s Barbie Doll of all places ? Well it’s no joke, here it is, a “WI-FI Barbie Doll” with the same prevailing themes of health and privacy violations once again presenting themselves in an insidious way…….

  5. Jennifer says:

    Smart meters have empowered the Utility to disconnect first and ask questions later.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This story does not even surprise me. My neighbour won’t answer her phone sometimes because she can’t afford to pay her bills. She hasn’t even finished paying one bill, when another arrives. Also my neighbour has told me that her teenage daughter has been diagnosed with a thyroid problem. She has a smart meter and her daughter is glued to her mobile phone and laptop.
    A young lady with a thyroid problem already.

  7. Rik says:

    Thats another reason why I’m glad I’m on the old meter. They have completely screwed up the whole system and I cant see it getting any better until they remove ALL smart meters and go back to working good analog meters.

    • Anonymous says:

      They will have to remove these dangerous devices eventually, but we will pay for it and they won’t admit that they made a mistake or that they are dangerous.

  8. Paul says:

    Situation reminds me of Sophie Telemzouger. Does anyone know the results of her VCAT Hearing?

  9. Penny says:

    To read that a customer on life support was disconnected for 9 hours is awful. These electricity companies have a lot to answer they should thoroughly investigate before doing something like this. Any wonder people cannot pay their bills with the cost of electricity going through the roof. I feel for those people on a tight budget.

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