Ac­count holder re­spon­si­ble for bills

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS -

When a per­son opens an elec­tric­ity or gas ac­count in their name, they take re­spon­si­bil­ity for all fu­ture bills.

The ac­count holder should close the ac­count when they move out. Oth­er­wise, they re­main re­spon­si­ble for the bills even if they are not liv­ing at the prop­erty. It can take a few days to close an ac­count so en­ergy providers need no­tice of a per­son’s in­ten­tion to do this — ask your provider how many day’s no­tice it needs.

Ten­ants need to con­tact an en­ergy provider to open an ac­count at the be­gin­ning of a ten­ancy — even if th­ese ser­vices are al­ready turned on at the prop­erty, this in­cludes prop­er­ties that have a pre­pay me­ter. Ac­counts can usu­ally be opened over the tele­phone by call­ing an en­ergy provider who can re­quire a bond to be paid for a new ac­count. The Pow­er­switch web­site shows the var­i­ous prices of en­ergy com­pa­nies of­fer­ing elec­tric­ity and gas in each area: www.pow­er­switchg.org.nz. The ten­ants are then re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the power ac­counts. If ten­ants are us­ing elec­tric­ity or gas and they don’t open an ac­count, the prop­erty may be dis­con­nected. Us­ing elec­tric­ity or gas when you don’t in­tend to pay for it is theft.

If the ac­count is in more than one name, each per­son can be held re­spon­si­ble. It is im­por­tant to keep ac­count holder de­tails up-to-date, for ex­am­ple, when peo­ple move out. Every­one in the house­hold needs to agree on who will be re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the bills. It is a good idea for peo­ple liv­ing in shared hous­ing to write down an agree­ment about how power ac­counts will be dealt with. The agree­ment should make it clear whether the rent or board in­cludes power ac­counts, or if th­ese bills are ex­tra.

If you have any prob­lems with your en­ergy provider, con­tact them first and ex­plain your sit­u­a­tion. You can con­tact Util­i­ties Dis­putes at any time for in­for­ma­tion about the com­plaint res­o­lu­tion process by call­ing 0800 223340.

For free and con­fi­den­tial ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion on this or any other mat­ter visit the Palmer­ston North Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau in Han­cock Com­mu­nity House, 77, King St. We are open Mon­day-Fri­day from 9am-4.30pm, ring 357 0647 or 0800 367 222. We have a free le­gal ad­vice ser­vice by qual­i­fied lawyers most Thurs­day evenings at 7.30pm, and a JP is avail­able on Tues­days from noon-2.30pm. No ap­point­ment is nec­es­sary for th­ese ser­vices.

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