Rights and obligations

Your Responsibilities

Your supplier's responsibilities

Your Responsibilities

Opening and closing accounts

Home owner-occupiers and almost all tenants (including public housing tenants) are responsible for their own electricity and gas accounts. Rental leases will specify if the landlord is responsible for these bills.

You should contact the energy supplier a few days before you move in, so that electricity and gas can be connected.

When you open an account in your name, you take responsibility for all future bills on that account. Even if the account is in more than one name, each person can be held responsible for the debt.

If the account holder moves out, the supplier cannot ask any of the people remaining to pay any outstanding amount. If you intend to stay in a property after the account holder has moved out, contact the supplier as soon as possible to open an account in your name.

Usually you need to give the supplier a few days notice when you want to close the account or when the name on the account changes. 

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Access to your meter

You must provide clear and unhindered access to your electricity or gas meter, so your supplier can bill you accurately. Where meter access is not possible, your supplier may estimate your bills but they must physically read your meter at least once a year. If the supplier cannot access your meter and needs to make an appointment with you, they may charge a special meter-reading fee. Contact your supplier and ask about their requirements for access.

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Paying bills

You must pay your accounts by the due date or you may face debt recovery action. If you dont pay your account or make suitable payment arrangements, your electricity or gas can be disconnected.

Suppliers are entitled to transfer an old debt to your current account. The supplier may also refer the debt to a debt collection agency. If you believe that a debt should not have been transferred, speak to your supplier first and if you are not satisfied with the outcome, contact us.

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New connections

In areas that dont already have an electricity or gas network, you may have to pay for the cost of extending the existing network to your property. Connection costs may run into tens of thousands of dollars. If you are planning to buy or build in an area without a network, we strongly recommend that you contact your supplier for further information or an estimate.

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Supply upgrades

You will most likely be responsible for paying the cost involved in a supply upgrade. For example, before you can install a heat pump/air conditioner, your electrical contractor may need to upgrade your existing connection. Contact your supplier and electrical contractor to discuss your responsibilities and the associated costs of an upgrade.

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Your supplier's responsibilities

Service standards

The two main retailers of electricity and gas to residential customers in Tasmania are Aurora Energy (electricity and gas) and TasGas (gas). Both have Customer Charters that detail their commitments and responsibilities to customers. Check online or contact the suppliers for a copy:

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Disconnection

We may be able to help customers who are facing energy disconnection or who have already been disconnected. Disconnection cases are normally handled quickly and are a priority for our Investigation Officers.

An energy supply may be disconnected when a customer has:

  • Failed to pay an amount due and has not made satisfactory payment arrangements
  • Not given the supplier access to the property, if required
  • Tampered with the metering equipment, or the supplier has reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence has been committed in relation to safety or illegal use

A supplier must notify you of impending disconnection by sending written notices or attempting to contact you by telephone.

A supplier should not normally disconnect a customer:

  • On a Friday, Saturday or Sunday
  • On a public holiday or the day before a public holiday
  • Who has applied for assistance under a supplier payment plan
  • Who has a life support machine in use at their premises (electricity only)

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Miscellaneous charges

The Energy Ombudsman does not set the fees charged by electricity and gas suppliers. We can only investigate whether your supplier has administered a fee correctly.

Miscellaneous charges are the fees suppliers charge customers for certain additional work, such as meter tests, disconnections and off-peak conversions. Before charging you a fee for the first time, your supplier should tell you how much the fee is and what it is for. The supplier should also let you know when any out-of-hours charges apply.

Contact your supplier directly for specific information about miscellaneous charges.

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Supply quality

We can help if you have a complaint about the quality of your electricity or gas supply, but you should try and sort out the issue with the supplier before making a complaint.

The main complaints about supply quality are:

  • Frequent or lengthy interruptions to supply
  • Poor supply quality (low or high voltage/mains pressure)
  • Damage and other claims for compensation
  • Lack of notification for planned interruptions (electricity suppliers must give four business days notice of planned interruptions, see TasNetworks Customer Charter for more details) 

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Compensation

If you believe that your electricity or gas supplier is responsible for damage or loss, you may ask them for compensation. Claims for compensation generally concern damage to property or household appliances, loss of food or other loss caused by a supply incident. Your supplier will not usually be responsible for damage caused by factors outside their control, for example lightning strikes, storm damage and motor vehicle accidents.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your claim against your supplier, the Energy Ombudsman can review the supplier's decision.

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Supply standards

Electricity
Voltage in Australia is ideally supplied at 240 Volts but may range between 216 and 253 Volts. If you believe you are being supplied with electricity outside this range, speak with your electricity supplier or contact us.

Gas
In areas supplied by piped gas, most properties are supplied at 210kPA at the meter. If you believe you are being supplied with gas outside this standard, speak with your gas supplier or contact us.

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Privacy

All electricity and gas entities are bound by the provision of the Privacy Act 1998. The Act states how suppliers can deal with personal information such as your name, address, date of birth and account number.

Aurora EnergyTasGas and TasNetworks have privacy policies on their websites. Their policies explain how they agree to protect information about you.

For more details about privacy or to make a complaint about a privacy issue, you can contact your supplier or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

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