AGL pays $56,000 after cutting gas for four months

AGL has paid $56,612 to a customer it wrongfully disconnected for nearly four months in 2017.

The Essential Services Commission in Victoria said it was the biggest wrongful disconnection payment required since early 2017.

Commission chair Ron Ben-David says the Energy Retail Code shows the steps a retailer must follow before disconnecting a customer from their electricity or gas supply.

“There are rules dictating how and when a retailer can disconnect a customer for non-payment of a bill,” Dr Ben-David said.

In 2016, the Victorian Government increased to $500 per day the payment retailers must make to customers when the retailer fails to follow the rules before disconnecting a customer.

“AGL wrongfully disconnected a customer and then left them off supply for 113 days,” Dr Ben-David said.

While the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria resolves most disputes involving customer disconnections, the most difficult cases are referred to the commission to resolve.

Since April 2018, the commission has reviewed 29 cases. Six were found in favour of the retailer and 12 were found in favour of the customer (five involved AGL, four from EnergyAustralia, two from Red Energy and one from Lumo Energy).

A further 11 cases were withdrawn by the retailer and conceded in favour of the customer.