A second electricity company this year has admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act and will refund customers who weren’t given a prompt payment discount with their final bills.
As a result of a settlement between Pulse Utilities (New Zealand) Limited, trading as Just Energy and Pulse Energy, and the Commerce Commission, 2,582 affected customers will be refunded nearly $50,000 in total. The refunds relate to customers who left Pulse Utilities between late 2009 and December 2011 and did not receive a prompt payment discount from the previous month on their final bill. Pulse’s billing software recorded where a credit was due but the customer was not advised of this.
Pulse Utilities will now identify and contact the former customers who have a credit against their account and arrange to pay the credit. Pulse will also refund some customers who had received their final bill and were not aware they could still receive the prompt payment discount from the previous month.
In June this year Contact Energy agreed to refund customers over $280,000 after admitting a similar breach of the Fair Trading Act.
“Following our investigation we are pleased that Pulse Utilities promptly admitted liability, cooperated with our investigation, and signed a settlement that will see affected customers refunded. The settlement also avoids the need for lengthy and costly court proceedings,” said Kate Morrison, the Commission’s General Manager Competition.
“As this is the second case this year it is a good reminder to consumers to check their bills carefully to make sure that the charges are accurate and a reminder to companies to ensure that their billing systems work properly,” Ms Morrison said.
The Commission has no other similar investigations pending against other electricity companies.
A copy of the settlement can be viewed at: www.comcom.govt.nz/fair-trading-settlements