POWER firms threw the switch on almost 13,000 struggling Victorians in the first three months of this year.
The 12,718 residential customers cut off for not paying their gas and electricity bills were 2000 more than were cut off in the previous quarter.
And since last July, firms flouting proper procedure wrongly disconnected at least 520 customers — including six who needed power for life-supporting equipment such as respirators and dialysis machines.
Annual average energy bills are to surge by as much as $165 for electricity and $192 for gas, and the Essential Services Commission said that over the next year it would work with energy firms to ensure disconnections were a last resort.
“If performance does not improve, we will pursue enforcement action wherever required,” it said.
However, demanding stronger protections for those in financial difficulty, Consumer Action Law Centre chief Gerard Brody said: “Retailers have been on notice for several years, yet disconnections are still sky-high.
H/t reader kevin a.
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