VIC Energy Australia - Disconnection Unless Past Bills Paid?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

mat41

Member
26 February 2015
4
0
1
We have been living in rental property for just over a year. The whole time we have thought power was inluded.
There have never been any bills come to the house. Today Energy Australia knocked on the door and informed us that they were there to cut off power due to 'unknown consumer using electricity'.

My wife explained that we were not aware of this issue and no bill has ever come to the house at all in anybody's name. We are very long time customers of AGL (in previous houses) and have never had any business what so ever with Energy Australia. It's been 13 months since we moved in. What situation am I in? Can I insist that they can not bill me for a year due to this mix up. I realize I should pay and have been using power in the house the last 13 months, this said, am I obligated to pay under Australian Consumer Law? Any advice would be great, thank you
 

Michael T

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
151
23
454

mat41

Member
26 February 2015
4
0
1
My understanding is that electricity is the tenant's responsibility if there is a separate meter but the landlord is responsible for connection costs - see Utilities, telephone, internet, and television in rental properties - Consumer Affairs Victoria Have you been able to negotiate some sort of arrangement for future electricity with Energy Australia?

Also, perhaps contact Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria (ewov) about your options.

Hi Michael, Thank you for your time. Yes they turn out to be friendly and have a very good 'self imposed' policy for consumers. In short, no matter how long you have had free power for (this could be years), providing the house is not hooked to an account (which would be known customer bill failure). they will only charge you for the last nine months. Until full payment of the nine months is received you may not go on any discount packages. After full payment you can switch to one of their E.G 27% of usage plans.

I will be paying and I commend their policy. This said, I am still intrigued to know if a consumer who has not been sent any bills has some sort of baseline regulatory rights. E.G they can not demand any more than X amount per month due to failure to bill. What if you are a breadline family who has not got $1500 to pay but would have been able to progressively pay if the billing had been as per normal......A business who has a 'we will only charge for the last nine months' policy sounds like one that may not want the consumer to discover that in fact, only a minimal payment is required due to the failure of the company to bill correctly.....
 

Ivy

Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
498
87
789
Hi Mat,

What gave you the idea that power was included in your rental cost? Was that written in your rental agreement or did your real estate agent or landlord mention this?

It sounds as though Energy Australia might be the wholesale electricity provider in your area (or maybe your Real Estate Agent or landlord nominated them as the energy provider for your house) which is why they are charging you for the electricity.

Generally tenants have a grace period of a couple of weeks when they move into a new house to sign up for an energy provider (if the energy is metered independently such as in a freestanding house).

If there has been a miscommunication with the landlord/ real estate agent, contact them immediately. You can also call Energy Australia and ask them why they are the company that is charging you, that is, you could ask them if they were the nominated retail energy provider or if they are the wholesaler?

I hope this gets you started. Be aware, that you may not be able to insist that they don't charge you if the mix up was your error.
 

Ivy

Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
498
87
789
Hi again,

I just saw your latest post and can see that you have already contacted Energy Australia. However the rest of my post may still be of benefit.
 

mat41

Member
26 February 2015
4
0
1
Hi Mat,

What gave you the idea that power was included in your rental cost? Was that written in your rental agreement or did your real estate agent or landlord mention this?

It sounds as though Energy Australia might be the wholesale electricity provider in your area (or maybe your Real Estate Agent or landlord nominated them as the energy provider for your house) which is why they are charging you for the electricity.

Generally tenants have a grace period of a couple of weeks when they move into a new house to sign up for an energy provider (if the energy is metered independently such as in a freestanding house).

If there has been a miscommunication with the landlord/ real estate agent, contact them immediately. You can also call Energy Australia and ask them why they are the company that is charging you, that is, you could ask them if they were the nominated retail energy provider or if they are the wholesaler?

I hope this gets you started. Be aware, that you may not be able to insist that they don't charge you if the mix up was your error.

Hi Ivy thank you for your time. To answers your questions:

- EA were the previous providers therefore remain the current provider until a customer changes.
- We recall some correspondence about power included but can not find anything as proof. we ahve since been told by agent we must be mistaken, it is not included.

I remain interested to know about any baseline consumer rights...
 

Ponala

Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
188
21
454
I had this situation happen to myself. Though it was a glitch on the electricity supply company as I also had gas with them and was getting bills. To cut a long story short, I only had to pay for the previous 9 months of power and was able to pay that off in instalments over a 9 moth period.