Under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), consumers have a guarantee of acceptable quality for the supply of electricity and reticulated gas only (piped gas supplied by a retailer).
This guarantee applies instead of the general CGA guarantees that apply to products and services.
Consumers are guaranteed an acceptable quality of electricity and gas which includes:
- the supply of electricity or gas must be as safe and reliable as a reasonable consumer would expect it to be
- the quality of gas or electricity supplied must be such that it can be consistently used for things that a reasonable consumer would expect gas or electricity for.
Note: This does not apply to the supply of non-reticulated gas, eg liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplied in cylinders.
What factors a reasonable consumer would expect to tolerate within the guarantee of acceptable quality include if:
- the supply is affected by an emergency, or other circumstances, outside the control of the retailer or another person involved in the supply
- safety, maintenance or other technical reasons require it to be interrupted
- location or price affect the reliability and quality of supply
- fluctuations may occur but only if they fall within the permitted tolerances under the gas and electricity safety regulations.
If any of these situations occur although the guarantee has not been breached you can still contact the supplier to query these.
Exceptions to the guarantee of acceptable quality
Your supply of electricity or gas will not breach the guarantee of acceptable quality if:
- you have used the electricity or gas in an unreasonable manner or to an unreasonable extent, and the supply would otherwise have complied with the guarantee; or
- the quality and reliability of your supply may be much worse than what your retailer normally supplies but this has been explained to you and you have accepted the supply on that basis.
Note: IF you haven’t paid your power bill, you usually have about 48 days before your power is disconnected. However, before doing this, your power, electricity or gas retailers must:
- make sure disconnection notices include their complaints process, contact details, and any applicable fees
- use a range of contact times and options like calls, texts, faxes, and home visits before disconnecting you
- discuss payment alternatives and liaising with Work and Income
- make sure no one living at the property is medically dependent.
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