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Electricity Complaints Commissioner Appointed

20 December 2001 Media Statement

The appointment of Electricity Complaints Commissioner Judi Jones has been welcomed by Acting Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton.

He says the appointment is an important step in getting the complaints scheme running, but he’s also warning the industry to get fully behind the complaints system.

“The new Commissioner has a range of experience in disputes resolution, mediation and development of consumer interests in the electricity industry,” Jim Anderton said.

“A credible, independent complaints process is a very important step in rebuilding confidence in the industry after the botch that the last government made of its electricity market reforms.”

The Electricity Complaints Commission is wholly funded by industry and is free to consumers. The Commissioner is able to award compensation.

The Commission was established after the government released a policy statement last year. It said the government expected the electricity industry to work with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to establish a complaints system for consumers involving both retail and lines companies.

The Government has said it wants all line and retail companies to participate in the scheme. The Commission currently covers 71% of consumers by retail company and 74% by lines company.

Jim Anderton says he wants the rest of the industry to join the scheme quickly.

“I recognise the efforts of those companies that have participated in establishing the Commission, but I expect the remaining retail and lines companies to join the scheme early in the new year.

“If the remaining industry players don’t join, the Government may pursue other options, including regulation.”

Consumers wishing to make complaints should first go through their retail company’s internal complaints process. The Commission will hear complaints dating from 1 October 2001.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs will monitor the Commission’s membership and effectiveness.

Ends

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