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Case examples

UDL resolves a number of complaints and you can find some examples of these complaints and how they were resolved on this page. 

Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.   

*The outcome of any complaint is determined by the facts, the actions of parties, and numerous other factors. A case summary does not set a precedent or confirm the outcome the Commissioner may order in similar cases.

Energy Complaints Scheme (ECS)

  • Mr Carr’s business was based in an industrial park, and its electricity supply depended on a small plinth that was used to protect electrical equipment.

    Unfortunately, the plinth was positioned between two active driveways and had suffered vehicle damage on multiple occasions. While it was protected by a concrete bollard, it had been hit so often that its protection was limited, and the damage had caused frequent outages for Mr Carr’s business.

    After each outage the provider responsible for the plinth, CityPower, sent a technician to repair it. However, this did nothing to stop the regular outages.

    Mr Carr eventually asked CityPower to move the plinth away from the driveways. CityPower said this wasn’t feasible as it would have required it to be moved to land owned by a third party.

    CityPower instead carried out work to ensure the equipment was safe and could keep operating.

    Mr Carr felt that was an inadequate response and complained to UDL.

    We identified three core issues:

    • What are CityPower’s responsibilities in relation to the damage to the plinth?
    • Does the plinth have to be moved?
    • What is a fair and reasonable outcome?

    When considering CityPower’s responsibilities, we started by considering the obligations imposed by Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, which requires the supply of electricity to be safe, reliable, and acceptable quality.

    UDL’s investigation found that CityPower had restored the electricity supply in a timely way when an outage occurred, however, we noted that they had failed to complete a safety inspection on at least two occasions after the plinth was damaged. It was also confirmed CityPower had failed to repair the latest damage, which meant the equipment remained a potential hazard.

    We then considered whether the plinth should remain in its present location.

    The Electricity Industry Participation Code requires electricity companies like CityPower to respond appropriately when safety issues are raised.  This must be balanced against CityPower’s right to leave the plinth in its current location, which it was entitled to do as a result of the protections for electrical equipment in the Electricity Act 1992. In addition to this, the cost of moving the plinth was in excess of UDL’s jurisdiction limit. We therefore focused on the steps that could be taken to increase the protection for the plinth in order to limit the risk of further outages from vehicle damage.

    CityPower initially suggested Mr Carr and the other businesses in the industrial park should split the costs of having the plinth undergrounded. This was not accepted by Mr Carr who did not believe it was his responsibility.  

    UDL determined that a fair and reasonable outcome would be for CityPower to repair the concrete bollard around the plinth and to prioritise future repairs to limit the risk of outages occurring. We also recommended that the local businessowners install signage surrounding the plinth to prevent future accidents.

    The parties accepted the recommendation, and the complaint was closed.





    Anahera's gas was supplied via two 45kg LPG bottles, with bottles delivered regularly to her home. She relied on these bottles for heating, and for the operation of many of her appliances.

    When one of the bottles became empty, Anahera would prepare for it to be replaced and tell her provider it needed to be swapped for a full bottle. Anahera would then rely on the second, backup bottle while waiting for the empty one to be replaced.

    Anahera was switching out an empty LPG bottle one day when she noticed her back up bottle was also empty.

    She immediately contacted her gas supplier's delivery service to get an urgent replacement as both bottles were empty. The supplier told Anahera she would need to pay a $250 for an urgent delivery fee. Because she needed the gas desperately, Anahera paid the fee, and the supplier delivered the gas bottle.

    Soon after, Anahera complained to the supplier. She said she felt bullied into paying the fee. She also believed the supplier was responsible for creating the issue as the backup bottle must have been empty when it was originally delivered. The supplier said it did not deliver an empty bottle and would not return the urgent delivery fee.

    Anahera brought the following complaints to UDL:

    • the supplier should not have delivered an empty bottle
    • the supplier should have replaced the empty bottle with a full bottle without charge once it was made aware of the mistake

    UDL investigated the complaint. We began by considering the possibility of an empty bottle being delivered. We raised the possibility of a delivery error, or an unnoticed leak, with the supplier. Although it suggested this was highly unlikely, it could not provide evidence that a full bottle had been delivered.

    We also investigated the timeframe between delivery and complaint. Due to the regularity of Anahera’s deliveries, we found that it would have been highly unlikely that she had used the entire backup bottle within the allotted time.

    We took this information to facilitate negotiations between the complainant and the gas supplier. After a period of discussion, the supplier ultimately offered Anahera $250 to cover the cost of the urgent delivery. Anahera accepted that and it resolved her complaint.

    Names have been changed for privacy reasons

  • On paper, Graham owed his power company a substantial amount of money. He owed enough that a debt collection agency had been in contact to claim the overdue balance. The only problem was Graham had never been a customer of this company.

    Someone had created an account under Graham’s name, providing fraudulent details for Graham’s date of birth, address, phone number, email address, and bank account.

    The company supplied power to the imposter for over two years. During this time, the company received no payments or contact from the account holder, and it accrued a debt of $6500 in Graham’s name. The power company ultimately decided to refer the debt to a debt collection agency.

    Graham complained to UDL. He said:

    • the power company should have done more to confirm they were dealing with a legitimate customer before referring a debt in his name to the debt collection agency.
    • the power company should have acted quicker to remove the debt when he told it he was not its customer and never had been.
    • the power company should apologise for the distress and anxiety he had to go through to fix the situation it created.

    The power company believed it had done all that was necessary before referring Graham to the debt collection agency and pointed to the fact it was the victim of fraud.

    When UDL investigated Graham’s complaint, it questioned whether the power company could have done more to confirm it was dealing with a legitimate customer before referring the debt to a debt collection agency. It also questioned whether the power company could have been quicker to withdraw the debt from the debt collector when Graham contacted it and confirmed he was not its customer.

    Each case that UDL receives will have its own unique set of circumstances. In this case it appeared there were some indicators the power company may not be dealing with a legitimate customer. One of these was the fact it had received no payment or contact from Graham in over two years.

    When considering a complaint UDL must have regard to any relevant law. In this case the Privacy Act 2020 was relevant.

    While UDL has no power to make any findings under that Act it is something it may consider as part of an investigating a complaint. When collecting and disclosing customer’s personal information all power companies must adhere to the Act’s Privacy Principles. They must only collect personal information if it is for a lawful purpose connected with their functions or activities, and the information is necessary for that purpose. They must also check personal information is accurate before using or disclosing it. Power companies must balance these obligations when signing customers up as customers and referring any debt to a debt collection agency.

    In Graham’s case the power company was asked to confirm how it had complied with its obligation to ensure it didn’t disclose personal information about Graham to the debt collection agency without first taking necessary and reasonable steps to verify it was accurate. In making that enquiry UDL was aware any oversight or breach would be for the Privacy Commissioner to determine.

    UDL was of the view that the circumstances of this case may have justified taking additional steps to confirm Graham was responsible for the debt before sending it to the debt collection agency. It also appeared the power company could have acted quicker to recall the debt when Graham contacted it.

    The power company decided to look again at its processes and what it was willing to offer Graham.

    It offered an apology and compensation for the stress and anxiety Graham had suffered. Graham and the power company were able to agree on $2000 in compensation and a written apology. The power company also agreed to review its customer collection and reporting data going forward.

    Names have been changed for privacy reasons


    Wayne was in the process of opening his own small business and needed to upgrade his gas meter to do so. This meant his gas had to be disconnected and a new meter installed. He went to his provider to apply for the upgrade.

    While no estimate was given by the provider, information online indicated this work typically takes around eight weeks. In Wayne’s case, poor communication resulted in numerous delays, and the new meter wasn’t installed for 31 weeks. 

    Wayne believed the provider was responsible for these delays. While Wayne regularly contacted them, they did not to provide him with timelines or updates, and failed to follow up with their contractors. These communicative lapses also included a two-month delay caused by incorrectly filed paperwork.

    In response to these delays, Wayne requested over $40,000 compensation, based off:

    • the cost of the gas relocation and upgrade
    • the cost of rent over three months
    • a portion of estimated profits lost over three months

    The provider offered less than a tenth of the requested compensation. Their offer was based upon the portion of profit Wayne generated over subsequent months.

    The two parties failed to come to an agreement within a 20-working-day period, so UDL was asked to undertake an investigation resulting in a recommendation from the Commissioner. This recommendation was then accepted by both parties.

    The Commissioner determined that, even when accepting delays due to holidays and Covid, the maximum period that the provider should have reasonably taken to action the installation was 18 weeks. Resultingly, the provider was responsible for 13 weeks of delays.

    Through calculations of gross surplus over following months, the Commissioner recommended Wayne be compensated $21,000. This amount did not include the price of rent or the cost of installation, as these were determined to be fixed costs that would have been incurred regardless of the provider’s communication.

    Names have been changed for privacy reasons

  • Case 56951 

    Kevin has a large tree on his property with some of its branches overhanging the powerlines. 

    An electricity lines distribution company (ELDC) issued Kevin with a first cut and trim notice under the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 (“the Regulations”).[1] This meant that while it would carry out the first cut, any future trims would need to be organised and paid for by Kevin. 

    Kevin complained that as the tree was older than the powerlines, ELDC was responsible for the ongoing trimming of the tree under section 58 of the Electricity Act 1992 which reversed the burden for trimming the tree.  

    To resolve the issue EDLC had offered to: 

    • pay Kevin $500 compensation for loss of foliage after the first tree trimming 
    • trim the tree as necessary under the Regulations for as long as Kevin owned the property 

     In return, it asked Kevin to agree to: 

    • not claim any more compensation for the first trim or further compensation for future trims 
    • be responsible for removing debris after each trim 

    Kevin did not accept the offer and suggested EDLC:  

    • pay him compensation for each trim, or 
    • remove the tree and compensate him, or  
    • put its lines underground

    Image supplied by UDL

    The parties could not agree and asked the UDL Commissioner to recommend a settlement. 

    The Commissioner said the Regulations do not specifically address who should be responsible for trimming a tree predating the lines, therefore the general rule applies meaning the tree owner is responsible.    

    The complaint was not upheld, finding EDLC’s offer was reasonable and adding that: 

    • Kevin was responsible for ongoing trimming of the tree under the Regulations 
    • EDLC did not owe Kevin any compensation for the initial trimming, which had not damaged the tree 

    It remained open for Kevin to choose to declare no interest in the tree, which would mean EDLC had responsibility for the tree and could choose to trim or remove it. 

    [1] The Regulations say after the distributor has done the first cut and trim, the tree owner is responsible for trimming the tree to keep it clear of the power lines (regulations 10 and 11). 

    Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery stock footage and is not directly related to complaint case example

  • Case 99658

    Concerned about his high power bills – an issue which had also been raised by previous tenants at the property – Martin approached AC Power who agreed to investigate.

    A contractor found that due to a wiring issue, current drawn by the hot water cylinder was flowing in series through two meters at the property – meaning they would be “clocking up double the KWh” every time the cylinder needed to draw power.

    As a consequence, AC Power agreed that a refund was required, but said it would need time to calculate the overcharging.

    After six weeks of waiting for AC Power’s response – and given the process had already taken several months to that point – Martin complained to UDL.

    During negotiations, it became apparent that AC Power was struggling to find a formula to calculate the overcharging. An initial offer of $2000 was made.

    A suggestion was put to AC Power on the calculation formula and further negotiations took place between the parties. This ultimately led to the energy company making an offer of $2823.54 for the overcharging and $426.46 by way of goodwill, which Martin accepted.

    Any names or identifiable features of the above case have been changed for privacy purposes

  • Case 1036378

    Flickering LED lights were a matter for Jayson to resolve rather than his power company which was found to be using its ripple control appropriately.

    Jayson noticed his recently installed LED lights would often flicker in the evenings when he was putting his kids to bed. Jayson’s electrician attempted to fix the issue by replacing a master switch, installing load correction devices and new LED light bulbs, and checking connections.

    However, when these steps didn’t work, Jayson asked his local distributor PowerLines to investigate. PowerLines found the flickering appeared to happen when Jayson’s hot water cylinder was turned off remotely via ripple control – this is a measure distributors are allowed to use during times of peak electricity demand. Consumers get discounted rates for the electricity they use to heat their water for allowing distributors to do that.

    PowerLines told Jayson he could install a filter that would prevent or reduce the flickering when ripple control was being used. It said the flickering issue was relatively rare, although known to happen sometimes where a householder had installed dimmers and LEDs. 

    Not satisfied with PowerLines’ response, Jayson complained to UDL.

    UDL spoke with Jayson, PowerLines, Jayson’s electrician, an independent electrical expert, a lighting supplier and a lighting automation company. Based on these conversations, UDL made a decision and explained to Jayson: 

    • the ripple control was being used by PowerLines to switch streetlights on and off and to signal tariff changes for some electricity meters 
    • PowerLines was using it in the correct way and was not at fault
    • it may be possible for Jayson to install filters inside his property to prevent or reduce the flickering – the filters would need to be tuned to the particular frequency used for ripple control in the area. 

    Jayson accepted UDL’s explanation and the file was closed.

    Any names or identifiable features of the above case have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties.

  • Case 62275

    UDL worked with both parties to successfully resolve a dispute over a distributor’s plans to upgrade a transformer located close to a consumer’s home.

    Jonathan was concerned about Zap Power’s plans to replace a 30kV transformer with a larger 100kV unit. Being situated outside his property, Jonathan was worried the larger transformer might create electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure which could affect his family’s health.

    He was also unhappy with the inconsistent information provided by Zap Power when he asked why the upgrade was required. Jonathan said he was initially told it was to improve the quality of the electricity supply, but was later informed it was because a neighbour needed more capacity.

    When Jonathan complained to Zap Power it offered to place the upgraded transformer 50 metres further away from his home. However, Jonathan would have to pay this cost of between $6000-$8000, which he did not believe was fair, and so he complained to UDL.

    When UDL reviewed the complaint, it suggested facilitating a meeting between Jonathan and Zap Power to try and resolve their issues. UDL would ensure both parties were equally supported and the meeting would be constructive.

    At the meeting, which UDL arranged at Jonathan’s home, Zap Power agreed to measure the magnetic fields from the existing transformer. It did the same test for the appliances inside Jonathan’s property. These measurements showed the magnetic field exposure from the upgraded transformer would be well within recommended guidelines[1]. This was enough to reassure Jonathan about his family’s health.

    Zap Power apologised to Jonathan for the way it had communicated with him about the planned upgrade. It said it had since hired a customer service adviser to improve the way it communicated with its customers and offered to work with Jonathan to try and learn from its communication issues so these could be avoided in the future.

    [1] International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for limiting exposure to timevarying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (Up To 300 Ghz)” (1998), available at

    Any names or identifiable features of the above case have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties.

  • Case 112551

    In February 2021, Jack moved into his property and signed up for electricity with Energiser Power (EP). EP sent Jack estimated invoices for over a year. Unfortunately EP underestimated Jack’s usage so when EP took an actual read it sent Jack a back bill for just over $2,000.

    EP had tried to read the meter four times during the year but had not been able to access the meter. It emailed Jack on those four occasions saying he might be paying too much for his electricity.

    After Jack complained, EP applied a different pricing plan which reduced the bill by $500. To resolve the complaint it offered Jack a further 30% off the amount and six months to pay. Jack said he would like to accept the offer but needed 12 months to pay. EP withdrew the offer saying the 30% discount had been conditional on Jack accepting the six months time frame.  

    UDL found the offer to reduce the invoice by 30% was reasonable but denying Jack a further six months to pay was not. The Electricity Authority’s Consumer Care Guidelines (CCG) require retailers to provide effective assistance to consumers who have difficulties paying their bills. The consumer and the retailer should reach a compromise that is fair and reasonable to balance the customer’s financial needs and the retailer’s business needs.

    UDL concluded, after reviewing the communication between EP and Jack, EP did not provide effective assistance to Jack. For example, EP asked Jack to contact EP’s credit team himself and at the same time said that doing so will unlikely lead to a better outcome.  

    UDL recommended EP allow Jack 12 months to pay the reduced back bill and pay him $250 for not following the CCG. Both parties accepted the recommendation and the case was closed.  

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Case 30519 – mixing up accounts and wrongful disconnection

    What the situation was

    When Quentin moved homes, he ended up with two electricity accounts, one at his old and one at his new home.  The energy company split Quentin's payment between the accounts without letting him know. The company also didn't bill him for six months for his second account and disconnected it while he was there.  This caused him a lot of stress and inconvenience as well as a backbill for $1019.41. 

    What the outcome was

    UDL's Commissioner found the company to have provided poor customer service and that hey also made a number of errors  which meant that Quentin was wrongfully disconnected and given a high back bill.  Quentin recovered a $900 credit payment. 

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Case 3294 – no bill, no answer 
    It is reasonable to expect a timely response from your company, if you have a question or a complaint.  If it's not sorted contact UDL 0800 22 33 40.

    Annabel called her energy company 10 times over five months as she had not received a power bill. The bills had been sent to the wrong address (as the address was incorrectly recorded on the Electricity Authority's registry) and her meter could not be read remotely. Annabel was eventually sent a backbill of $1697.72. 


    The Commissioner upheld the complaint as the company should have recognised Annabel's address was incorrectly recorded on the registry. The company did not respond to numerous calls and requests, which was poor customer service. The bill was reduced by 40%.

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Phoebe was a customer of Electricity Company (EC) when her smart meter stopped sending her electricity usage to EC. EC then did not know how much electricity Phoebe had used. EC sent Phoebe estimated bills for six months and then no bills for 12 months. The meter was not read for 18 months, however Phoebe was paying a fixed amount by direct credit for that time. EC sent Phoebe a $3,000 back bill which was reduced to $1,000 after applying her direct credits and a prompt payment discount. EC also switched Phoebe to another provider without her permission. Phoebe complained about the switch, not receiving regular bills, and the large back bill.

    EC offered a discount which Phoebe did not accept. UDL found EC's contract with Phoebe allowed EC to estimate her bills for four months only and that it needed to give 30 days’ notice if it wanted to switch customers to another provider. Consumers are entitled to expect their electricity providers to comply with their own terms and conditions and provide a satisfactory level of customer service. Phoebe said she was financially stressed because she believed her electricity bills were paid and her account was in credit. Had she known her bills were higher than what she was paying by direct credit she may have amended her electricity usage.

    The Commissioner recommended EC pay Phoebe $600 for not following its terms and conditions and for inadequate customer service.

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

Broadband Shared Property Access Disputes (BSPAD)

  • Case 99995 

    Lightning Fibre (LF) installed fibre in a multi unit complex. Marama owns one of the units. As part of the installation, LF attached the fibre cable to the exterior of Marama’s unit. Marama disputes LF had the right to install fibre directly to the outside of her unit because: 

    • LF did not provide her the required notice
    • The unit is her own rather than shared property.

    Marama was also unhappy about the quality of the installation.

    LF said it accidently sent the notice to an incorrect address and it believes the exterior of the units were shared property under the relevant legislation.  

    UDL issued an initial  decision stating: 

    • LF remedied the lack of notice by sending a new notice with the details of the installation to Marama 
    • LF was not entitled to use the exterior of Marama’s unit because that part of the exterior was outside of the common area and exclusively owned by Marama
    • LF should remove the fibre from Marama’s unit and reinstate her property
    • It also encouraged the parties to negotiate an outcome they both could live with. 

    After receiving the preliminary decision LF and Marama agreed to participate in a teleconference facilitated by UDL. 

    During the teleconference, both parties agreed to work together until they found a workable solution for the installation and the reinstatement of Marama’s unit. UDL closed the complaint and explained to Marama that she could come back to UDL if she and LF have any unresolved issues about the reinstatement. 

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Monica shares a driveway with three other properties under a shared right of way. Monica’s neighbours requested a fibre connection to their properties. ABC Ltd (ABC), the provider, was responsible for the fibre network in Monica’s neighbourhood and proposed to install the fibre within the shared area. Monica objected to ABC's proposal to install fibre on the shared driveway because the slot-cut could cause future maintenance problems as it is an exposed area with high vehicle usage.

    She objected on the grounds the installation would have a materially negative impact on the value of her property. UDL facilitated discussion around alternative design options between the parties, however a resolution was not able to be reached.

    The Commissioner determined ABC was allowed to access the property to install the fibre as it had complied with all the statutory conditions in the Act and because Monica had not provided sufficient evidence to show how the proposed installation would have a materially negative impact on the value of her property. Both parties accepted the recommendation and ABC proceeded with the installation.

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

Water Complaints Scheme (WCS)

  • Cameron was working on a property he owned, looking to add a new connection to the existing water pipes. After getting all the relevant approvals, he hired a contractor who quoted $10,000 to complete the job. The contractor told Cameron the job would take one day. 
    Unfortunately, the age of the existing pipes led to a leak. Cameron immediately informed his water supplier of the leak. At this point the leak was only causing minor bubbling through pavement, so the water supplier did not prioritise fixing it. 
    Two days later, the leak worsened significantly. Cameron alerted the water supplier again. This time the leak was assessed as urgent and was fixed the same day. 
    Cameron’s project was delayed significantly because of the leaks. The expected one-day job of installing a new connection took four days, costing him a total of $40,000. The water supplier offered $2,000 in compensation, which he rejected. 
    Cameron came to UDL seeking $30,000 to cover the additional costs of the leak. We investigated the following: 

    • Was the water supplier responsible for the leak through poor maintenance? 
    • Did the water supplier’s decision to not immediately respond caused the leak to worsen, resulting in delays for the connection? 
    • Is the water supplier responsible for covering the additional costs caused by the leak? 

    UDL began by investigating the cause of the leak. 
    We determined the leak was not the result of any negligence by the water supplier nor did the fault lie with the organisation. Maintenance of the pipes was the responsibility of local Government, so the water supplier could not be held responsible for the initial leak. 
    UDL also determined the supplier responded within an acceptable timeframe. We looked at its internal processes and found that the initial leak was minor enough to justify low prioritisation. Once the leak worsened, the supplier responded promptly to repair the damage. 
    We shared the details of this investigation with both parties, who then started a dialogue to sort the complaint amicably. The water supplier ultimately increased its offer to $3,000 compensation for its part in not fixing the leak prior to its worsening, which Cameron accepted. 

    Any names or identifiable features of the above case have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties.

  • Case 88913

    UDL found a water supplier had not taken sufficient care to ensure a customer received their invoices after the supplier migrated its billing process to an emailing system.

    Mia suddenly stopped receiving water bills from OneWater for one of her two properties, but noted money was still coming out of her bank account for both.

    She called OneWater but said she did not get a satisfactory resolution and instead an unhelpful customer service response. Mia said if she did not receive an invoice for the second property, she would no longer pay the water bill.

    Almost eight months after moving to a new emailing system, OneWater informed Mia it had been sending invoices to her previous email address. Mia said she was confused as she never provided that email address to OneWater. 

    OneWater offered to meet with Mia, but Mia did not respond and instead referred her complaint to UDL.

    As the parties were unable to resolve the issue, the Commissioner recommended a resolution.

    The Commissioner upheld Mia’s complaint and proposed OneWater made a $250 customer service payment because it:

    • was not able to tell Mia how it obtained her former email address
    • did not give a valid reason why it suddenly stopped sending bills for one of Mia’s properties to her current email address
    • did not address Mia’s concerns with its apology
    • did not tell Mia she could refer her complaint to UDL.

    Both parties accepted the Commissioner’s recommendation and the file was closed.

    Any names or identifiable features of the above case have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties.

  • Case 111135

    A burst waste water pipe owned by AB Water caused flooding in the downstairs area of Phil’s rental property. It caused damage to the house and his tenants’ belongings. Phil lodged a claim with his insurance company which accepted the claim with a $2,000 excess. Phil reimbursed his tenants $2,750 for damage to their property and waived $650 worth of rent. The waiver of rental was not covered by his insurance. 

    AB Water accepted it should pay the $2,000 insurance excess and offered to pay an additional $500 towards the $2,750. Phil rejected the offer saying he wanted AB Water to pay all of his costs, $3,400 in addition to the $2,000. 

    UDL found the $3,000 Phil paid to his tenants was based on full replacement value which put the tenants in a better position than they were in before the flood happened. UDL considered the age and condition of the damaged items and recommended $1,425 to be a reasonable amount for AB Water to contribute towards the tenant’s loss.  

    UDL also considered what, if any, contribution by AB Water towards the rent waiver would be fair and reasonable. Some tenants needed to move out for a short time while the repairs were ongoing and others’ enjoyment of the property was significantly impacted. UDL recommended ABC Water pay 50% or $325 towards the amount Phil waived for the tenants.  

    Both AB Water and Phil accepted the recommendation and the case was closed.

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Rachel is the co-owner of a shared driveway with a water meter at the end of the driveway. In January 2019, another co-owner of the shared driveway informed provider Water For Everyone Ltd (WFE) that the meter box was leaking. WFE repaired the meter seven months after the leak was reported. Rachel believed the damage to the driveway became worse due to the water leak and that WFE should contribute to the cost of fixing the driveway. 

    After referring the complaint to UDL, Rachel repaired the damaged section of the driveway. WFE acknowledged its customer service could have been better which resolved part of the complaint. WFE disagreed the leak caused the damage to Rachel’s shared driveway.

    After investigation, the Commissioner believed it was fair WFE pay part of the reinstatement costs. It was found the driveway was already in need of repairs and although the leak caused further damage it was not likely to be the sole cause of the damage to the driveway. It was reasonable for WFE to pay 25% of the repair costs.

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case

  • Case 76404 

    Tipene complained to his water company about a sewage smell from a biofilter opposite his home. He requested they replace the biofilter. The company attempted to fix the issues and replaced some parts. Tipene then asked for his family to be moved into a rental property until the smell reduced. The company offered to pay for a motel. Tipene wanted $20,000 in compensation.


    The company agreed to:

    • install an air conditioner in Tipene's home so windows could remain closed
    • put up a sign so others could make contact about the smell
    • investigate a backup system.

    The Commissioner found the company’s customer service was reasonable including the offer of a motel. The company did not have to replace the biofilter.

    If you have a complaint about water, contact your company. If it’s not sorted, contact Utilities Disputes 0800 22 33 40 or

     Names have been changed for privacy reasons, imagery sampled from photo library and is not directly related to case