Momentum Energy will compensate around 850 customers with overdue power bills after the electricity provider cut their power after issuing them with a notice missing a clause required by regulation.
The notice, issued to customers in Victoria, omitted a sentence explaining that customers with a smart meter could be disconnected remotely.
Momentum Energy has given an undertaking to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) regarding compensating customers (current and former) who were disconnected after receiving the defective notice.
Momentum Energy managing director Amy Childs said, “While the original error was disappointing, Momentum notified the ESC when we became aware of the issue. Like the ESC, we are committed to ensuring a fair outcome for energy consumers. We understand these are the rules in a regulated environment and are committed to playing to them.”
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Momentum Energy’s view is that:
- energy retailers are entitled to disconnect customers for non-payment of overdue bills, provided they comply with all regulatory and contractual requirements;
- while the sentence on remote disconnection was not included, the company is confident all other steps in the disconnection process were followed, including required reminders and warnings, and ‘best endeavours’ steps.
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Momentum only disconnects residential and small business customers as a last resort and is proactive in attempting to determine whether those customers may be facing financial difficulties.
The mistake was the result of human error following a major upgrade of Momentum Energy’s customer relationship management platform in mid-2017.
Momentum Energy apologises for the error and has fixed the problem.
The total amount of compensation is approximately $533,000, of which around $ 309,000 will be offset against debt or current bills.