Moving, dissatisfied with your service, or going off-grid? You’ll need to know how to disconnect your power.
If you are already on a fixed-term contract and are looking to switch to another provider before that contract is up, you may need to pay early-exit fees. If you get to the end of your contract period and decide to disconnect your electricity or if you fail to pay your energy bill, you may be socked with other disconnection fees.
What are early-exit fees and how much are they?
Early-exit fees apply to energy customers who have agreed to be a part of a market contract for a set length, but who decide to leave before the period they agreed upon. The period for which the customer is ‘locked-in’ can vary from six months to sometimes two years for business customers.
Early-exit and disconnection fees cover the costs of sending someone out to check your meter outside of their typical routine. Disconnection fees are charged not by your energy retailer, but by the distributor of your electricity — the fees are then passed on to your retailer who in turn charge you.
Disconnection/termination fees vary from around $25 with providers in Victoria to around $90 with some providers in New South Wales. Disconnection fees vary by state and distributor. You can visit EnergyAustralia’s ‘other charges’ page to determine how much your fee might be.
Costs for disconnections (in business hours)
|State||Provider||Cost of disconnection|
|SA||SA Power Networks||$33.00|
|Jemena (remote disconnection)||$5.46|
|Citipower (remote disconnection)||$5.83|
|Powercor (remote disconnection)||$5.83|
|United Energy (remote disconnection)||$5.82|
If you have completed your contract, but decide to turn off your power, disconnection fees will apply. They may also be applicable if you cease paying your electricity and begin to collect arrears. If this occurs, your energy company cannot just switch off your power.
They must first give you two written warnings. After this, they will attempt to contact you to arrange a customised payment plan. If this fails they may take you to court and potentially charge you for fees incurred on their behalf.
Does my contract have disconnection fees?
Some contracts have early-exit fees, and some will be waived by your provider, depending on your contract terms. You can call and speak to your retailer to find out if your contract has early termination fees. You’ll need your latest energy bill to provide your particular details to your retailer.Back to top
How do I cancel my connection?
On some energy contracts, moving to another premises is all it takes for them to switch off your power automatically. With others, however, you do need to inform them in advance. It is generally good to give your provider around two weeks’ notice when disconnecting.
You can normally cancel your contract a variety of different ways, over the phone, through the mail, or with an email. This depends on your particular retailer, of course. Also, don’t forget to connect your energy at your new premises a few days before you get there, just in case.Back to top
Can I avoid paying these fees?
Yes, depending on how close you are to the end of your contract period. Since the early-exit fees are in place to cover the costs of meter reading, you can avoid them if you know when your meter’s next due to be read.
You can find this out by looking at your bill. Since it’s read quarterly, three months after your last meter reading should roughly predict when it’s due to be read again. If the meter reading occurs before your contract is due to expire, wait until after the reading has occurred before applying for a new contract.
If, however, your contract is up before that meter reading, then you are free to switch suppliers straight away.
If you can’t find out when your meter is next due to be read, wait until 1-2 weeks before your contract is up, before switching.
Alternatively, you could speak to your retailer and request that you be moved to a non-contractual plan once your current one expires. This way, you will not be re-engaged in the exit-fee cycle.