Energy retailers and contracts

Connections and disconnections

Moving house and connecting to electricity and gas

Finalising the account at your last address

If you hold the energy account at the address that you are leaving, you must contact your retailer(s) to finalise your account. You will need to tell the retailer what date you will be leaving the property and provide a forwarding address for the final bill. If you don’t finalise your electricity or gas account, you may be liable for future energy used at the home, which may result in credit action by the retailer.

Establishing an account at your new address

You must set up an account with an energy retailer for electricity and gas (if required) when moving to a new property. Even if the electricity and gas is on at the property when you move in, if you do not establish a new account, you may be:

  • liable for the previous occupier’s energy use
  • paying higher rates for electricity and gas than if you had chosen a contract
  • disconnected, if the retailer currently supplying the property is unable to make contact with you.

Use Energy Made Easy to search for and compare energy offers from gas and electricity retailers in South Australia to find an offer that’s right for you. Visit retailers and contracts for more information about contract types and what you need to understand about signing up with an energy retailer.

‘Dear customer/occupier’ letters

If you have moved into a property where the electricity and/or gas is already connected but you have not established an account with a retailer, the last energy retailer(s) to supply the property will continue to supply the property.

The existing retailer(s) may send letters addressed to ‘the Occupant’, ‘the Customer’ or ‘the Resident’. Do not ignore these letters. They may be bills, reminder notices or disconnection warnings, which, if ignored, could lead to your electricity or gas being disconnected.

Contact the retailer sending the letters to tell them when you moved into the property and enter into a new energy contract. Alternatively, you can seek a new contract with a different retailer.

Establishing who supplies electricity and gas when no bills are available

If there is electricity and gas switched on at the property but you do not receive any bills or ‘Dear Customer/Occupier’ letters that can identify the retailer, contact a retailer of your choice and establish an account with them.

Disconnection process

Disconnecting your electricity or gas is the last resort for a retailer.

The National Energy Retail Rules outline when and how a retailer can disconnect your energy supply.

Electricity and gas can be disconnected if:

  • the bill is not paid by the final due date
  • you are on a payment plan and do not meet its agreed terms
  • you fail to provide safe and clear access to the meter for three consecutive scheduled meter reads
  • you provide false information in order to be connected
  • you do not provide acceptable identification when requested to do so by the retailer
  • the electrical wiring or gas piping in the house is deemed unsafe
  • the services are being used for illegal activities
  • the police request the disconnection.

Electricity and gas cannot be disconnected:

  • if you are in a hardship program and are meeting the agreed terms of the payment plan
  • if you have a debt of less than $300 and have previously agreed with the retailer to pay this amount within a set timeframe
  • if you have registered with the retailer that there is life-support equipment in use at the property
  • if you have lodged a complaint with Energy and Water Ombudsman SA (EWOSA) in relation to the potential disconnection that is under investigation
  • during an extreme weather event (such as a heatwave or bushfire), as declared by the State Emergency Service
  • on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, public holiday, or the day before a public holiday
  • between 20 and 31 December (inclusive)
  • before 8.00 am or after 3.00 pm on any other day.

Notifications for disconnecting energy services due to unpaid bills

Energy retailers are required by law to try and contact you in a number of ways before disconnecting your home, unless you are on a shortened collection cycle.

When an energy bill is not paid by its due date, the retailer must issue two written notices before disconnecting your energy service – a reminder notice followed by a disconnection warning notice.

The reminder notice must state:

  • the date it was issued
  • the date the reminder notice period ends
  • that payment must be made within the reminder notice period
  • details for how to contact the retailer for complaints and disputes.

The disconnection warning notice must state:

  • the date it was issued
  • the reason for the potential disconnection
  • the date the disconnection warning period ends
  • that payment must be made within the disconnection warning period
  • the procedures and costs for reconnection (if applicable)
  • details for EWOSA
  • details for how to contact the retailer and/or distributor to discuss the matter further.

The diagram below sets out the steps and minimum timeframes that retailers must follow.

Energy retailers must follow a series of minimum timeframes before your energy can be disconnected. If you are on a standard retail contract, the retailer must give you 13 business days to finalise your account before issuing a reminder notice. If you are on a market retail contract, the retailer must clearly state on the bill how many days you have to finalise your account before issuing a reminder notice. Once your retailer issues a reminder notice, they must then give you a further six business days to finalise your account before issuing a disconnection warning notice. They must finally give you another six business days to finalise your account before disconnecting your energy service.

After the disconnection warning notice is issued, the retailer must make reasonable attempts to contact you by phone, email, fax or in person to provide a final opportunity to pay the bill and settle the debt, or enter into a payment plan or instalment arrangement – see payment options for more information.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, contact your retailer to discuss if you are eligible for their hardship program.

Shortened collection cycle

If you receive a reminder or disconnection notice for two bills in a row, you can be placed on a shortened collection cycle. Retailers must tell you that you are being placed on a shortened collection cycle before it happens.

Once you are on a shortened collection cycle, you will not receive any reminder notices and will be sent a disconnection warning notice if your bill isn’t paid by its due date.

To be removed from the shortened collection cycle, you must pay three bills in a row before their due date.

If you are in your retailer’s hardship program, you can’t be placed on a shortened collection cycle.

Disconnection and reconnection fees

Fees for disconnecting and reconnecting electricity and gas services will normally be applied to your account. Your retailer may also ask you to pay a security deposit if you have outstanding debt or a history of non-payment. The deposit will be refunded once you have established a good payment record.

Additional fees may apply for after hours reconnections (after 4.00 pm). Wrongful disconnections should not incur any fees.

Have you been wrongfully disconnected?

If your believe your energy service has been disconnected by mistake or your retailer didn’t follow the appropriate disconnection process, contact your retailer. If you aren’t able to resolve the issue directly with your retailer, contact EWOSA.

Reconnecting energy services

If your electricity or gas has been disconnected because you didn’t pay your bills, you will need to contact your retailer within 10 business days of being disconnected and either pay the debt or agree to a payment plan to manage the debt in order to be reconnected under the same contract.

If you agree to a payment plan in order to have the electricity or gas reconnected, it is important that you can afford to maintain the payment plan. If you miss any payments, the plan will be broken and you may be disconnected again. You should notify your retailer immediately if you are experiencing financial difficulties.

If you cannot reach a payment plan agreement with your retailer, contact EWOSA for assistance.

If your home has been disconnected for safety reasons, or has been disconnected for more than 12 months, the Office of the Technical Regulator and/or the distributor may require certificates of compliance from licensed electricians and/or gas fitters to show that the house can be safely reconnected.

To reinstate services, the retailer or distributor needs access to the meter at the property. You need to ensure that safe and clear access is available and may need to remain at the property to provide access until the reconnection happens. If the meter is not accessible, the reconnection attempt may fail and you may have to pay a call-out fee for another reconnection visit.

Reconnection times

If the retailer has agreed to reconnect the service before 4.00 pm on a business day, the reconnection must happen:

  • in Adelaide central/metropolitan area – on the day of the request.
  • in any other areas – on the day of the request if possible, or by the end of the next business day.

If the agreement is made between 4.00 pm and 9.00 pm on a business day, the reconnection must happen:

  • in Adelaide central/metropolitan area – on the day of the request if you agree to pay any reasonable charge determined by the retailer or the distributor, such as an after-hours connection fee
  • in remote/rural areas – on the day of the request if possible, and if you agree to pay any reasonable charge determined by the retailer or the distributor, such as an after-hours connection fee
  • by the end of the next business day (with no after-hours connection fee applied).

If the agreement is made after 9.00 pm on a business day, the reconnection must happen by the end of the next business day.

Reconnections can be carried out by the distributor any time up until midnight on the day specified.


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Page last updated 4 April 2017

Provided by:
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
URL:
http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/energy-retailers-and-contracts/connections-and-disconnections
Last Updated:
04/04/17
Printed on:
22/07/17
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016