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Genesis leaves customers cold

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Author Topic: Genesis leaves customers cold  (Read 119 times)
« on: June 02, 2009, 07:54:38 am »

A software glitch left several Genesis Energy's pre-pay customers in the dark and cold during the weekend.

The problem meant customers could not buy power to heat their homes.

TV3 News reported there are 10,000 prepay clients, and Genesis would not say how many were affected.

As a cold snap hit the country, prepay electricity customers were told they could not top up, and would have to make do without power.

Genesis said it had a software problem, but it managed to get the system running yesterday afternoon.

Some customers said the system should default to power being on, not off, if the company's systems failed - because in winter customers were too vulnerable.

There are 40 outlets in New Zealand where customers can use the prepay system.

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 08:12:26 am »

At the very least, if the system crashes then customers who ring should be given a code to get $10 worth of power over the phone.  It could be worked so that it is recouped from their next payment if necessary. 

In today's article a Genesis spokesperson said that at risk customers should not be on the power meters.  But a lot of tenanted properties are already on it when they move in, and it is very difficult and expensive to go back on a plan, I'm not sure if a tenant can even have it removed.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 08:50:07 am »

Ahh computers -- dont ya just love em!!

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Laughter is the best medicine, unless you've got a really nasty case of syphilis, in which case penicillin is your best bet.
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 08:58:58 am »

Ahh computers -- dont ya just love em!!

Sure do!  Especially when the power is on. Grin
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009, 12:35:37 pm »

Excellent point DT.

Pre paid power is great for households who have trouble paying a monthly bill when power use "blows out". If all power companies read meters monthly it would be less of a problem but many estamate useage.
However it is not the cheapest option so that makes it all the more important that more power can be bought when it is needed.

If all power companies read meters monthly it would be less of a problem but many estamate useage.
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The way politicians run this country a small white cat should have no problem http://sally4mp.blogspot.com/
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 02:18:51 pm »

i cant see any benefit in Pre Pay personally ..

i pay a set sum weekly via Direct Debit [ you can also do Automatic Payments but dont get the 10% prompt payment discount ]

i pay $30 a week and have no worries about having my power cut and at the end of the year if ive paid too much the weekly sum is reduced or if it wasnt enough the amount is adjusted upwards

if prepay is to help low income people out WINZ can pay direct from benefits a set amount each week which classed as an AP not a DD

there is no need for people to be without power unless they choose or fail to pay their bill

the number [ 10000 approx ] on prepay taking into account the number of people on account is very small

if prepay was such a great system why arent more people on it ?

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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 06:09:54 pm »

'Goodwill' credit given to blackout customers

Genesis Energy has given a "goodwill" credit to 182 people who had their power cut over the holiday weekend because of a computer malfunction.

The blackout happened when a software error meant people could not buy power on their prepay systems.

Genesis has about 10,000 clients on the prepay system, which lets people top up their power account before they use it.

Genesis spokesman Richard Gordon said 182 people affected by the power outage had received a "goodwill" credit of between $20 and $50.

The company was also considering giving people additional compensation, he said.

A malfunction on the prepay system over the weekend meant some customers could not top up their accounts and were without power from 8am to 2pm yesterday, Mr Gordon said.

The system had an emergency default setting which meant power wasn't cut on Saturday or Sunday.

But at 8am yesterday those who had been unable to top up their accounts had their power cut.

The prepay service had an emergency default setting for holidays, but it did not currently cover movable holidays such as Queen's Birthday, Mr Gordon said.

Genesis was reviewing this, he said.

Sixteen people had phoned the company yesterday to say they needed their power back on because of medical issues.

"We sent contractors out to those 16 properties and arranged to have a power supply," Mr Gordon said.

The company did not recommend people with medical issues used the prepay plan, he said.

Genesis Energy chief executive Albert Brantley said the breakdown was "hugely regrettable" and the company had apologised to those people affected.

Reports that customers were told to "toughen up" by staff were concerning, he said.

"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," Mr Brantley said.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee strongly criticised Genesis for leaving prepay customers "high and dry".

It would be different if people had not paid, he said.

"Where people are making every effort to pay for their energy... and can't because the metre somehow fouled up, then supply should not be cut at that point."

Genesis had "a bit of work to do to restore integrity in the scheme".

"I'm extremely disappointed and annoyed that these people have been left high and dry like this," Mr Brownlee said.

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