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Vector - where are our customers’ refunds?

Vector - where are our customers’ refunds?

14 July 2017 – Mercury wants Vector to accelerate a repayment of nearly $14m to Auckland consumers following the electricity distribution company’s admission of overcharging dating back to 2013.
And Mercury is offering to help to make that happen.

Vector has admitted overcharging its customers after a change to the way it set prices. Mercury believes the refund should be returned quickly to customers rather than Vector addressing it through reduced lines charges spread over a number of years.

Mercury’s chief marketing officer Julia Jack says that it is actually the customer’s money and it would help them with the current winter chill.

“Customers shouldn’t have to wait, and they will lose sight of the money they are owed,” Ms Jack says.

“Given that the Commerce Commission has said that Vector made unreasonable assumptions leading to the overcharging, what would be reasonable is distributing the amount overcharged as quickly as possible back to those households in the Auckland region.”

Mercury has calculated that the amount at stake, averaged over all homes in areas identified by Vector as likely impacted by the overcharging, would be in the vicinity of $25 per home.
“At a time when Auckland families are facing a really cold snap, that $25 could be particularly useful.”

Mercury wants to work with Vector to have the $13.9m released to all retailers so the amount could be applied to energy costs via a rebate. It is encouraging other retailers to consider how best to distribute the sum owed.

“From Mercury’s perspective we’ll ensure that our customers get every cent passed through from the Vector refund,” says Ms Jack.

To give confidence around distribution of the payment, Mercury says it would have the rebate externally audited and would make that report public.

“To be doubly sure, we’ll top up the amount by 5% to Mercury customers if Vector hands over the cheque in the next 30 days,” Ms Jack says.

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