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Topic # 179145 28-Aug-2015 15:13
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Let's say there is a house tenanted by Mr. John Smith and owned by Mr. David Brown.

A while ago, Mr. Smith chose a company A to be his electricity retailer, and has been receiving power bills from them monthly since then. The actual wires that physically deliver electricity to the house are owned by company B, but Mr. Smith does not care about that as it is a matter of relationship between the companies B and A only.

Now, Mr. Smith ends his tenancy and moves out of the property on say the 31st of August. He has sent a notice to company A saying that the 31st of August is the last day he wants them to bill him for power supplied at the property. They said "OK, no problem".

Mr. Brown, the owner of the house, lives elsewhere and has not yet found a new tenant. Meanwhile, shortly after Mr. Smith has moved out, a local homeless guy, Jeff Johnson, noted that nobody is living in the house and decided to take advantage of that. He gets in now and again, boils water, uses electric heaters etc. etc. Here is the question: who, i.e. which company will send the bills for electricity consumed at the property from the 1st of September, and to whom?

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  Reply # 1375742 28-Aug-2015 15:32
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The wire between the house and the network is actually owned by Mr David Brown.

As Mr John Smith (JS) told Company A that he was moving out and to close the account his liability for power stopped on 31 August.

Mr David Brown has not asked a retailer to provide power to the house so he has no liability either.

When Ms Judy Jones (JJ) rents the house and asks Company C to supply power she should provide them with a starting reading and will be responsible to pay for power from that point.

The power supplied to the house between when JS moved out and when JJ moves in is "lost" in the system.  I'm not sure if the retailer wears the cost or if it is a "system" cost.  Normally this is not a problem because the cost of disconnecting and reconnecting the power would far outweigh the cost of the power consumed.

If the house is empty for long enough the power will be disconnected.

You mention ownership of the wires, normally the customer has no direct relationship with the company who owns the wires although Auckland is a little different with Vector.

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  Reply # 1375747 28-Aug-2015 15:35
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?The police.

Assuming that Mr S has given the electricity company a final meter reading and they agree that the contract has closed then the electricity company has had electricity "stolen" by a third party and have to go through their insurance systems etc.

A.


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1375789 28-Aug-2015 15:42
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In my view, Mr Brown is responsible for the power from 1 Sept until he obtains a new tenant.
The new tenant will only be responsible for the power from the day they move in.
Mr Brown has failed to secure his rental property or disconnect the power.
Mr Brown should make a claim against the intruder of his rental property.









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  Reply # 1375797 28-Aug-2015 15:52
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Agreed that it should be the homeowner that is responsible, but it is seldom the case that anything happens unless the house is empty for months.

Hopefully once they sort out the mess of smart meters they would be able to use the remote disconnection/reconnection features to turn the house off at no cost when there is no active power account in the house. Unfortunately since that mercury energy incident a few years back the power companies are too chicken to turn off even very delinquent accounts.




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  Reply # 1375802 28-Aug-2015 15:58
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Mr. Brown is responsible.

Most likely though, the new tenant will end up paying it.

If it is left untenanted, the power should be disconnected. The question is, who does Mr Brown contact to do that? He has no account with any power company that he could call up to get the power shut off.

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  Reply # 1375814 28-Aug-2015 16:19
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No Mr Brown is not responsible.  He has not requested any retailer to supply power so how can they send him a bill for something he has not asked for?



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  Reply # 1375816 28-Aug-2015 16:23
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graemeh: The power supplied to the house between when JS moved out and when JJ moves in is "lost" in the system.  I'm not sure if the retailer wears the cost or if it is a "system" cost.

This is the thing. Who suffers?
I think before concluding whether or not Mr. Brown is responsible we need to find out who would bill him.

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  Reply # 1375820 28-Aug-2015 16:45
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Greendrake:
graemeh: The power supplied to the house between when JS moved out and when JJ moves in is "lost" in the system.  I'm not sure if the retailer wears the cost or if it is a "system" cost.

This is the thing. Who suffers?
I think before concluding whether or not Mr. Brown is responsible we need to find out who would bill him.


No electricity retailer can bill Mr Brown, he is not a customer and has not signed a supply agreement with them.  It is simple as that!

Now that I think further about it I think the retailer ends up with the cost as they will still be recorded as supplying that site but I could be wrong, it has been a while since I worked in that industry.

If you're in an area where the lines company bills the customer directly Mr Brown may get a bill for the lines costs but this does not include paying for the power, just the lines to deliver it (although to confuse you further the amount charged is often related to the amount of power consumed).


Why do you ask?  Is it that you are just interested or has this happened to you?

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  Reply # 1375822 28-Aug-2015 16:53
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Its company A's fault and cost. They took the notice of cancellrtion, and forgot to disconnect the power on 31 Aug.

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  Reply # 1375825 28-Aug-2015 16:56
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tdgeek: Its company A's fault and cost. They took the notice of cancellrtion, and forgot to disconnect the power on 31 Aug.


It is standard practice in the electricity industry to leave the power on.  It probably costs about $150 to have a technician go on site so you're looking at $300 to turn the power off and on again and it just isn't worth the cost.  It normally isn't a problem as not much power is used when most places are empty.

Company A closes the account and sends letters to "the new occupier" offering to supply them with power.

I think you're right though, the cost probably ends up with Company A but as I said it has been a while and I don't remember the exact electricity industry rules around this.



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  Reply # 1375826 28-Aug-2015 17:00
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graemeh: Why do you ask?  Is it that you are just interested or has this happened to you?

Nothing happened. Just curious what would happen. And the fact that there is no consensus on such a common thing makes me even more curious.

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  Reply # 1375827 28-Aug-2015 17:01
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graemeh:
tdgeek: Its company A's fault and cost. They took the notice of cancellrtion, and forgot to disconnect the power on 31 Aug.


It is standard practice in the electricity industry to leave the power on.  It probably costs about $150 to have a technician go on site so you're looking at $300 to turn the power off and on again and it just isn't worth the cost.  It normally isn't a problem as not much power is used when most places are empty.

Company A closes the account and sends letters to "the new occupier" offering to supply them with power.

I think you're right though, the cost probably ends up with Company A but as I said it has been a while and I don't remember the exact electricity industry rules around this.


Thats odd, but fully understandable. Pity they can''t put a lock on the consumption so if it is consumed, that it will stay active but not allow consumption IANAE
Same if they saw usage on an address of a closed account. But they took the risk of power being used by leaving it on. Same as if leaving tenant left HW on, towel rail on. Nightstore on, etc

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  Reply # 1375834 28-Aug-2015 17:24
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I image if the new tenant does not do an initial reading they may well end up with a bill any power used since the final reading. But if they pay attention then it is the power companies problem hence they tend to disconnect the house after a period that there is no contact with anyone.

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  Reply # 1375835 28-Aug-2015 17:25
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Its up to the electricity retailer to request that the power be disconnected.

In 99% of situations, the new home occupant will have organised a power connection before they move in, to be active on the transfer day. If the electricity retailer is the same company, its super easy for them.

The previous occupant will supply a closing meter reading, and at the same time the new occupant will supply a start meter reading.

The lines company that owns the meter will sort out the descrepancy with the retailer.

There is no way for a lines company or power generating company to directly invoice a home owner. It has to go through a retailer and a retailer needs to have a supply agreement in place.

Its very much like the telecommunications industry - chorus cant invoice you directly, chorus can only invoice a retailer, and a retailer can only invoice you if you have requested service.

However this statement will make sense to you:
The lines company charges a daily connection fee - approx $1.50
No retailer will leave the power connected unless they have a paying subscriber. $70 per month can kill their margins on the address so its normal policy to disconnect service ASAP if there is no new paying subscriber that has confirmed they will be continuing service.

Sure power does get "lost" in between tennants but that is generally minimal amounts.

If a customer ends their service, but the retailer keeps the power connected, the retailer will loose money as they still need to pay the daily connection charge and any consumption during the time when they have no official paying subscriber.

Smart meters can be remotely controlled to switch on/off and so disconnections and reconnections are dropping in cost.




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  Reply # 1375935 28-Aug-2015 22:07
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In all the times I have moved and often to houses that are empty or have been empty for more than a week I have not set foot inside a single house that has had the power shut off after the previous tenant moved out, This has been 10+ moves

I believe that most likely power companies have their own selected time which they give to have the service shifted from the before disconnection before they submit a disconnection request.

Think about it probably 95% of houses are filled within a week of the previous customer moving out, If the new provider pays the transfer fee the previous provider probably does not have to pay a cent, $1.50 per day + ~$30 of power usage for a "dead" house for a week or 2 is going to work out at less than a $150 guaranteed charge ever time someone moves.




Perpetually undecided.

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