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Case studies

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.   

Case studies

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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; the image used is not of 'Annabel'.  


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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; the image is not that of 'Tipene'.