We want to hear from you about how we can improve the Consumer Care Guidelines to support power companies to deliver a consistent and supportive standard of care to consumers.
We are consulting on four options to update and strengthen the Consumer Care Guidelines:
- Option 1 - Keep the Guidelines as they are (do nothing).
- Option 2 - Leave the Guidelines voluntary, but address issues around how they are understood. This would help ensure that all power companies have the same understanding of the Guidelines.
- Option 3 - Make mandatory the parts of the Guidelines which provide key consumer welfare protections (parts 2, 6, 7, and 8). This would require all power companies to comply with these four parts of the Guidelines, with the Electricity Authority monitoring power companies’ compliance to make sure this happens. We think this option is likely to have benefits for consumers – particularly the most vulnerable consumers – but also some costs for power companies (which may result in increased costs for consumers).
- Option 4 - Make parts 1 to 9 of the Guidelines mandatory. This would require all power companies to comply with parts 1-9 of the Guidelines, with the Electricity Authority monitoring power companies’ compliance to make sure this happens. We think this option would benefit consumers, but lead to increased costs which may result in increased costs for consumers (probably slightly more costs than under option 3).
Key parts of the Guidelines
This consultation refers to the following parts of the Consumer Care Guidelines:
- Part 2 - is about power companies publishing a consumer care policy, where power companies need to publish this policy, and information that needs to be provided on their website and in communications with customers.
- Part 6 - is about how a power company should respond when a customer is having trouble paying their bills.
- Part 7 - is about what power companies should do before, when, and following disconnecting a customer for not paying their bills.
- Part 8 - is about what a power company should do differently when a customer is a medically dependent consumer.
The other parts of the Guidelines cover the purpose and outcomes (part 1), information and records relating to consumer care (part 3), when a customer signs up or is denied a contract (part 4), account management (part 5), fees and bonds (part 9), and monitoring (part 10).
Make a submission
There are three ways you can make a submission:
- answer 6 questions in our online survey
- read our consultation paper and email your response to the questions in Appendix A to firstname.lastname@example.org
- provide a verbal submission. Contact 04 460 8860 or email@example.com to book a time to talk to one of our team.
Submissions are due by 5pm on 2 October 2023.