Changing energy supplier a shock to the system

FRUSTRATED: Frances Willott is worried confusion over her energy supplier will leave her with no power at all.
 Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0818sgenergy1

FRUSTRATED: Frances Willott is worried confusion over her energy supplier will leave her with no power at all. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0818sgenergy1

AGED pensioner Frances Willott says she’s stressed and confused after several unsuccessful attempts to change her energy supplier left her fearful she wouldn’t have any electricity or gas.

Ms Willott said she decided to switch from Origin to AGL around six weeks ago but the process proved difficult and after several phone calls and letters to and from Origin and AGL, she still didn’t know who her energy supplier was.

In a letter from Origin Ms Willott was told because she had signed an energy agreement with another energy retailer “both agreements are automatically cancelled”.

The letter even invited her to rejoin Origin.

“This is making me sick,” she said. “I had to have two operations in one week, a week ago, I’m just not up to it.

“I don’t know if I’m going to have electricity or gas.”

Ms Willott’s daughter Catherine Cooper said she’d been forced to step in and help her mother sort the problem out.

“This is very stressful and mum just doesn’t need the stress, this has frightened her,” Ms Cooper said.

“I’m getting angry because I just can’t get through to these people.

“Their communication, verbal and written, is very poor.”

Ms Cooper said she contacted the government’s independent watchdog, the NSW Ombudsman’s office, but it was unable to assist.

An Origin spokesperson said when Ms Willott switched to another energy provider “there was some confusion about whether she was moving out of her premises”.

“We sent her letters in error that did not match her circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

"We have identified there are no problems with the transfer to her chosen provider, and will contact Ms Willott to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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