Case study: Erin, regional NSW

Erin was disconnected from gas for a short time while renting a house in the Hunter region of New South Wales. At this point in time she was living with her two daughters.

Immediate cause of disconnection

At the time of disconnection, Erin had an outstanding gas bill that she had not paid. Erin told the gas company that the outstanding bill would be paid off within the next week, but said the gas company was ‘not interested’ in her paying off the bill over the coming week.

The gas company subsequently disconnected her gas supply for non-payment. Erin said that at the time of the disconnection she was on a payment plan but she was unaware that the payment plan involved two separate bills each month, and this resulted in an outstanding bill.

Discovering the disconnection and initial response

‘When I found out I was being disconnected I was devastated… all they wanted was money and a reconnection fee.’

When Erin called her gas company about the disconnection, she described the person on the other end of the phone as very ‘rude’ and ‘abrupt’.

Financial circumstances

Erin did not have the money to pay for the bill immediately and noted that she usually does pay her bills when she receives them.

After being disconnected, Erin asked her then employer for assistance, and her employer agreed to pay the bill and reconnection fee. Erin then paid her employer back in instalments.

After this experience, Erin went on a bill smoothing plan and now pays her gas and electricity bills on a fortnightly basis. She said the money is taken out of her account without her noticing, and she feels this is the best way to pay her bills.


Erin said the worst part of being disconnected was that she was unable to pay her bill and she felt terrible.

However, a positive outcome from this experience was that she was able to find a bill smoothing plan that suited her. She had not heard of EWON or any payment assistance schemes and was very happy now to be on a payment plan that was clear and that she understood.

Final comments

Erin said that she was lucky she had both gas and electricity in her home, and was able to rely on electricity when her gas was cut-off.

Photo: Flickr

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