Disconnection rules and advice
This information relates to electricity and gas disconnection.
While your water can’t be disconnected, the supply can be restricted. Read our advice on water supply restriction.
Disconnection warning and notice
Your electricity or gas retailer must give you fair notice before disconnecting you.
First they send you a reminder notice that gives you 5 business days to fix the problem and tells you the next steps if you don’t or can’t fix it.
If the problem isn’t fixed, your retailer then sends a warning that they’ll disconnect your electricity or gas in 5 business days.
These warnings must include information on how the Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOQ) can help you.
What to do when you get a notice
If you receive a notice, contact your retailer straight away because they might be able to help you.
If you’re having trouble paying your bill, you might be able to:
- ask for a payment plan
- find out if you’re eligible for any rebates or concessions
- get access to a financial hardship program
- get information about financial counselling
- ask for an audit to see where you can save money on energy use.
When they can disconnect you
Your retailer can disconnect your electricity or gas if:
- you don’t pay a bill or security deposit, or don’t pay for connection to your property
- you don’t provide safe access to your meter for 3 scheduled readings in a row
- there’s an emergency or the police request it
- you provide false information to be connected
- you don’t give your retailer acceptable identification
- if you conduct illegal activities at the property
- if you damage the distributor’s equipment or interfere with someone else’s supply.
When they can’t disconnect you
Your retailer can’t disconnect your electricity or gas:
- before 8am or after 3pm on a business day
- on a Friday or the day before a public holiday
- on a weekend or public holiday
- between 20 and 31 December (inclusive)
- EWOQ or another dispute resolution organisation is already investigating the restriction
- if someone in your household needs life support equipment and this information is registered on your account. Read more about protection for properties with life support equipment.
Call your electricity or gas retailer as soon as you realise your power has been disconnected.
You usually need to pay something towards your bill or organise a payment plan before the retailer will reconnect you.
They might also charge a reconnection fee. You’ll pay more if you want them to reconnect you outside business hours.
You might also need to pay a security deposit—potentially up to 37.5% of your estimated bills over a year.
How can EWOQ help?
If you are facing disconnection and can’t pay your bill, we can:
- try to get you more time to pay
- help you get an affordable payment plan
- put you in touch with organisations that provide emergency funds
- give you information about financial assistance and how to save money on your bills
- ask the retailer to delay the disconnection while you get financial assistance.
If your electricity supply has already been disconnected, we can check that the disconnection met the necessary rules and regulations, and try to get you reconnected.
Sometimes mistakes happen and you might be wrongfully disconnected. If this happens, you might be entitled to a ‘guaranteed service level’ (GSL) payment if the energy company:
- is not entitled to disconnect you under a law or contract
- fails to follow the procedures for disconnection
- disconnects the wrong property
- doesn’t give you a disconnection warning.
Contact your energy company to claim your GSL payment.