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TrustPower: Fair Trading Breach Customers Refunded

TrustPower to refund customers for Fair Trading Act breach

In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, TrustPower Limited has admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act and will refund approximately 200 customers who may have been misled about electricity price increases.

In September last year, TrustPower wrote to approximately 600 customers in the Wairoa region whose connections had been reclassified by Eastland Network Limited, the local lines company. The letter implied that the reclassification by Eastland was entirely responsible for price rises passed on to customers in the supply of electricity, when in fact TrustPower had also increased its portion of the fixed charge for nearly a third of these customers.

An additional 85 customers were sent letters that implied that although their connections had been reclassified and that Eastland was increasing its charges to TrustPower, TrustPower would not pass this increase on to customers. In fact, Eastland’s charges had not increased as a result of the reclassification.

Acting Chair Paula Rebstock said that in its settlement with TrustPower, the company had agreed to write to affected customers to clarify its charges, and to refund those customers the proportion of the fixed charge increase that was imposed by TrustPower for the period 1 October 2002 to 28 August 2003.

In addition, TrustPower has agreed to undertake an independent review and upgrade of its compliance procedures to prevent further breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

“The transparency of electricity pricing has been an issue the Commission has looked closely at recently,” said Ms Rebstock.

“It is vital that consumers be given accurate explanations for increases in electricity charges.”

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