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Genesis apologises, credits pre-pay customers

Genesis Energy offers apology and credits to its InCharge customers

Genesis Energy has apologised and provided free electricity credits to many of its customers affected by a system failure of its InCharge pre-pay meters over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend holiday.

The Chief Executive of Genesis Energy, Albert Brantley, said the breakdown of the payment system was hugely regrettable and he was concerned that users of the service were unable to pre-purchase electricity for a period.

“Once the system was back up and running we were able to provide 182 affected customers with an initial goodwill credit of between $20 and $50. We have also apologised to those customers and are taking steps to ensure it does not happen again. Further consideration is also being given to additional compensation,” he said.

Mr Brantley said he was also very concerned about media reports of comments made to customers that they should “toughen up”.

“This type of response is contrary to our customer service representative training and is completely unacceptable. We are investigating this report and are reviewing the tapes of conversations with customers over the weekend.”

Customers who called in with concerns about electricity supply for medical equipment were visited by a contractor and their power supply was secured. This happened with 16 households.

Background to the outage

The InCharge vending system failed at around 8am on Saturday. Genesis Energy has around 10,000 customers spread across the North Island using this pre-pay system. Because of the weekend default setting of the system, which does not stop power until 8am Monday, most customers were unaware of the failure until they sought to purchase power on Monday morning.

The failure of the system meant that customers who were running out of power were unable to “top up” their meter or receive an “emergency vend” from Genesis Energy on Monday morning.

The payment system was restored at 2pm on Monday. As soon as the vending system was restored the Genesis Energy contact centre was able to provide InCharge customers with good will credits and normal pre-pay purchases. As InCharge customers continued to contact the company and alert it to claimed losses or impact, it will provide further goodwill credits on a case by case basis.

The company has taken the outage seriously and is concerned that a number of technical failures occurred. It is investigating the system failure and working on a permanent solution to ensure it does not happen again.

The InCharge service has in place a default-to-supply-system for holidays as well as weekends, but this system does not currently cover movable holidays such as Queen’s Birthday. The company is looking at how it can include movable holidays in the future.

ENDS

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