What to do if your electricity is disconnected

Getting disconnected can be extremely stressful and a major disruption in your daily life.

To get your supply reconnected you should contact your supplier immediately to discuss the reason for disconnection and what is required to reconnect your supply.

Our guide explains the access requirements for reconnection and the time frame in which an agreed reconnection must be carried out.

What to do if your supply is disconnected

Contact your electricity retailer immediately.

Even if you have spoken to your retailer prior to the disconnection, you must contact them again to discuss what is now required to arrange reconnection.

How to get reconnected

If you have been disconnected because you have not paid your bill, you will usually have to pay something towards your account or agree to a payment arrangement before the retailer will reconnect you.

The retailer may charge you additional fees associated with reconnecting your supply.

The retailer may also ask you to pay a security deposit if you have a history of non-payment.

You can discuss payment arrangements and hardship programs with your retailer if you are having trouble paying your bills.

To avoid any additional stress, inconvenience and fees, you should speak to your retailer about any financial difficulties and payment arrangements as soon as you find yourself struggling to pay your bill and before disconnection occurs.

Before you contact your retailer, you should consider:

  • what amount you can afford to pay immediately, no matter how big or small
  • what amount you are able to pay at a later date, and the date you will be able to pay it
  • a regular amount that you will be able to pay as part of a payment arrangement
  • how often you can manage to pay that amount.

If you agree to a payment arrangement to have your electricity reconnected, it is important that you can afford to maintain the payment arrangement. If you miss any payments, the arrangement will be broken and you may face disconnection again.

It is better to suggest an amount that is manageable to you at regular intervals (say fortnightly or monthly) than an amount that is outside your budget and you’re unlikely to be able to maintain.

When must you be reconnected?

If your retailer has agreed to reconnect your electricity supply before 4pm on a business day, they must arrange reconnection:

  • in Adelaide central/metropolitan area - on the day of the request
  • in any other areas - on the day of request if possible, or by the end of the next business day.

If the request is made after 4pm but before 9pm on a business day:

  • in Adelaide central/metropolitan area - on the day of the request if you pay any reasonable charge determined by the supplier.
  • in remote/rural areas - on the day of request if possible, and if you pay any reasonable charge determined by the supplier.
  • or by the end of the next business day (with no after-hours connection fee applied).

If the request is made on or after 9pm on a business day, the reconnection must occur by the end of the next business day.

Reconnections are carried out any time up until midnight on the day specified.

Access to your meter for reconnection

Electricity providers generally prefer you to be at the property at the time of reconnection to provide access or address other issues.

If your meter or the main switch for your electricity supply is not accessible, you will need to ensure that you remain at the property to provide access until the reconnection occurs.

You must also ensure that the main switch is in the ‘off’ position before the reconnection occurs. This is because you are responsible for any appliances that may be on inside. The technician will not complete a reconnection if they see that the main switch is ‘on’. After the reconnection is completed, you will need to turn the main switch to the ‘on’ position, which will then provide power to your home.

If you are not at the property to provide access and for this reason the reconnection attempt fails, you must contact your retailer the next day and again apply for reconnection.

An additional fee may apply.

Have you been wrongfully disconnected?

You may believe that you have been wrongfully disconnected.

If this is the case, you may be entitled to some form of payment from your supplier if you were disconnected when they:

  • were not entitled to disconnect supply under legislation or under your contract
  • failed to comply with the procedures required for disconnection
  • disconnected the wrong premises
  • did not provide a disconnection warning.

If you believe you have been wrongfully disconnected, you should contact your supplier to make a compensation claim.

If you make a claim for compensation, you will be asked to provide evidence to support your claim.

Avoiding disconnection of your electricity

The best way to avoid the disconnection of your electricity supply is to act promptly and speak to your supplier as soon as you find yourself in a position that may lead to disconnection.

Avoiding the issue will not make it go away, it will only make the situation worse.

While you may find it difficult to discuss your personal circumstances with your supplier, remember that it will be much more stressful to do so after your electricity has been disconnected.

Read our information about when your supply can and cannot be disconnected.

Your electricity can be disconnected:
  • If you fail to pay a bill.
  • When you have failed to provide safe access to your electricity meter for three consecutive scheduled meter reads.
  • For health and safety reasons.
  • In an emergency or at the request of the police.
  • If you have provided false information in order to be connected.
  • If you have not provided acceptable identification when requested to do so by your retailer.
  • When illegal activities are suspected at your premises.
  • If you cause damage to the supplier’s equipment or interfere with a third party’s supply.

Your electricity retailer must give you fair notice before disconnection.

Your electricity cannot be disconnected:
  • After 3pm on a business day.
  • On a Friday or the day before a public holiday (except in the case of a planned interruption).
  • On a weekend or public holiday.
  • If you have lodged a complaint with us in relation to the disconnection.
  • For non-payment where the amount outstanding is less than the amount prescribed by the Australian Energy Regulator.
  • Between 20 and 31 December (inclusive).
  • In extreme weather conditions (such as a heatwave).
Reminder notices

A reminder notice is your cue to contact your electricity retailer as soon as possible.

You may still be able to negotiate a payment arrangement and avoid disconnection.

Your retailer must use their best endeavours to contact you by phone, mail, email or other approved methods prior to disconnection.

Disconnection warning

If you have not paid your bill after receiving a reminder notice, you will receive a disconnection warning advising that your supply may be disconnected in five business days unless payment is made.

You should contact your electricity retailer as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances.

“Dear customer/occupier” letters

If you move into a property and electricity or gas is being used but you have not established an account, the last electricity retailer to supply the property retains the right to supply to you and will send letters addressed to the ‘Occupant’, ‘Customer’ or ‘Resident’ at that property until you make other arrangements.

Letters addressed in this way (even if they are not from your preferred retailer) should not be ignored, as they are an indication that something may have gone wrong with account establishment for the property or a requested transfer.

It is also important that you read these letters, as they may be bills, reminder notices or even a disconnection warning. If you ignore them debt may accumulate and it could lead to disconnection.

You should immediately contact the retailer that is sending these letters to discuss your situation.