The legal bits

Life Support Policy (VIC)

UPDATED ON: 20.08.2020

  • 1 What is Life Support?

    • Life Support is where someone at a residence has a medical condition and relies on continuous supply of electricity or gas (not extended to life support equipment fuelled by liquified petroleum gas (LPG)) to run critical medical equipment to ensure the ongoing health and safety of the person. The Life Support equipment is generally electric, but a doctor may authorise gas appliances also.

    • A customer must advise their retailer or their distributor that they have Life Support equipment at their property to ensure that they are provided with safe and reliable electricity supply.

    • A customer that is registered for Life Support will receive advanced notification of any planned power outage if necessary for maintenance or upgrades.

    • However, unplanned outages beyond the Distributors control can also occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as traffic accidents or extreme weather.

  • 2 Applying for Life Support

    • 2.1 Who can apply for Life Support:

      • (a) A non-authorised contact can apply on the condition that the form has been completed and signed correctly;

      • (b) A customer who uses an eligible life support machines in accordance with subsection 5.1

      • (c) A customer who has a household member who uses and eligible life support machine.

    • 2.2 Customer notification:

      • (a) Customer notifies Retailer or Distributor that they have Life Support equipment on premise;

      • (b) The Distributor / Retailer contacted by the customer become the registration process owner;

      • (c) The registration process owner flags Life Support on the customer’s account and notifies the relevant retailer or Distributor;

    • 2.3 Medical confirmation notification:

      • (a) The registration process owner will need to send the Life Support medical form to the customer along with information around life support;

      • (b) If the customer returns the medical form within the timeframe (50 business days), we then update the system and notify the Distributor that the medical form has been provided.

      • (c) If the customer does not return the form, we must refer the Life Support de-registration process where we need to issue two reminder notices and a scheduled de-registration letter advising the customer of the intended date we have scheduled to remove the Life support flag from their account and failure in providing the completed form may result in de-registration. Please refer to page 5 to action registering a customer's premises for Life Support

  • 3 Planned / Unplanned Outages

    • When a planned Outage is scheduled to occur due to any maintenance or upgrades, the customers Distributor will notify the customer in writing ahead of time (minimum of 4 business days).

    • It is also important that we have the customers updated contact number and details. However, unplanned outages can also occur.

    • As unplanned outages can occur due to unforeseen circumstances it is important that the customer has a plan of action.

  • 4 Preparing for a power outage

    • Where an outage is planned or unplanned, the Distributor will ensure they make arrangements to ensure the customers power is reconnected as soon as possible. However, the customer is always encouraged to have a plan of action until their supply is reconnected;

      • • Regularly check the back-up battery of the Life Support equipment to ensure it is fully charged;

      • • Ensure they have up to date information at hand such as their doctor’s name and contact details, friends and family contact details;

      • • Knowing to call 000 to request an ambulance if their situation is life threatening.

      • • Ensuring their mobile is charged at all times;

      • • Subscribing to their Distributors outage notifications.

    • If the situation is non-life threatening or an ambulance is not required, the customer is encouraged to call their local network distributor’s fault line immediately.

  • 5 Life Support Equipment

    • Some customers may be eligible for concession or rebates depending on the life support equipment they use. Approved machines are those that use at least 1,880 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Machines already approved are:

      • • Intermittent peritoneal dialysis machines;

      • • Oxygen concentrators; and,

      • • Haemodialysis machine.

      • • Any other equipment that a registered medical practitioner certifies is required for a person residing at a customer’s property for Life Support

    • Those currently not eligible for a concession:

      • • Power wheelchairs for quadriplegics

      • • Total Parental Nutrition (TPN)

      • • Enteral feeding pump

      • • External Heart Pump

      • • Nebuliser

      • • Continuous Positive Airways Pressure Devices (CPAP)

      • • Crigler najjar syndrome phototherapy equipment

      • • Ventilators for Life Support (excludes nebulisers, humidifiers and vaporizers)

    • Victorian customers will cease to receive a rebate if they are no longer eligible for a concession card. If the customer moves property/changes address, equipment or retailer, they will need to complete and submit the Life support form again to retain their rebate. Click to download the Victorian life support Concession and machine notification form. For more information, please visit Department for Health and Human Services - VIC

  • 6 Life Support Registration process

    • 6.1 When life support equipment is required at a customer’s property:

    • Once a customer has notified us that they require Life Support equipment at their property, we must ensure we take all appropriate steps to have their account flagged financially responsible retailer. This is very important and we are obligated to create and maintain accurate records of the registration and de-registration process.

    • 6.2 Life Support notification at the Point of Sale:

      • (a) At the point of sale, a customer will be asked if they have any Life Support equipment at their property as a part of Explicit Informed Consent;

      • (b) If the customer advises that their premise has Life Support, the account MUST be flagged;

      • (c) Identify if the customer ‘s Life Support equipment is fueled by Electricity and Gas. If OVO Energy are not the retailer for both fuels we will advise the customer to contact their other retailer to advise of the Life Support requirement;

      • (d) The Life support form and important information outlined in subsection 6.6 will then be issued not long after their welcome pack is issued, which must be completed and returned by the customer within 50 business days;

      • (e) The Life support flag will generate a Customer Service Details Notification (CSDN) that will notify the Distributor of the life support requirements at the customer’s premises;

      • (f) Sales will receive a notification of Life Support through the CAF. Once this occurs, the notification should be saved;

      • (g) OVO Energy will need to contact the Distributor to notify them of the Life Support and to provide the following in order for them to flag the premise;

        • • NMI:

        • • Address:

        • • Customers name:

        • • Customers contact details:

        • It is important that we have the customers correct / up to date contact number

    • 6.3 Life Support notification after account established:

      • (a) A customer may advise that their premise has Life support equipment after an account has been established;

      • (b) We MUST flag the site in our Billing system and CRM;

      • (c) The Life support form and important information outlined in 6.6 will then be issued to the customer, which must be completed and returned by the customer within 50 business days;

      • (d) We must ensure the customers details are correct and up to date (this will ensure the customer received any updates or notification in relation to any upcoming planned outages);

      • (e) The form must be emailed or posted to the customer which must be completed within 50 business days;

      • (f) Set a task to follow up with the customer if we have not received the form within the above timeframe (2 reminder and a de-registration letter will be issued to the customer);

      • (g) Leave clear notes on the customer's account: - Template:

        • • Distributor:
        • • Customer Name:
        • • Customer account number:
        • • NMI number:
        • • Customer phone number:
        • • Address:
        • • Customer type: (i.e. Is this a transfer, move in or current customer?)
    • 6.4 Retailer obligations when advised by distributor

    • When notified by a distributor, OVO Energy will:

      • (a) within one business day from being notified by the distributor, register that a customer residing or intending to reside at a property address requires life support equipment and register the date from which the life support equipment is required; and

      • (b) no later than 5 business days after being notified by the distributor of the requirement for life support , provide the customer communication with the information listed in clause 6.6.

    • 6.5 Retailer obligations when advised by exempt person

    • When notified by a distributor, OVO Energy will:

      • (a) Within one business day from being advised by the exempt person, register that a customer residing or intending to reside at the exempt persons premise requires life support equipment and register the date from which the life support equipment is required; and

      • (b) within one business day from being notified by the exempt person, notify the relevant distributor that a person residing or intending to reside at the exempts persons premise requires life support equipment and the date from which the life support equipment is required

    • 6.6 Life Support communications sent to customer:

    • Once notified of the requirement for Life Support at a customers premise, OVO Energy will issue the following within 5 business days of being advised or becoming the financially responsible retailer;

      • (a) a life support medical confirmation form

      • (b) information advising the customer that if they fail to complete and return the life support medical confirmation form, their premise may be de-registered and will cease to receive life support protections;

      • (c) that there may be distributor planned interruptions under the Electricity Distribution Code and unplanned outages may occur. We will advise the customer that their distributor is required to notify the customer of any planned outages;

      • (d) If OVO energy are the Gas retailer, we will advise that there may be distributor planned interruptions under the Gas Distribution System Code. We will also advise that there may be unplanned outages / interruptions to their gas supply and that their distributor is required to notify them.

      • (e) information to assist the customer on how to prepare for unplanned outage, including a plan of action;

      • (f) OVO Energy’s and their distributors emergency contact number which no more than the cost of a local call; and

      • (g) advise the customer that if they decide to change retailers and the person residing at the premise still requires life support equipment, the customer should advise their new retailer of the requirement for life support equipment;

      • (h) the types of equipment that fall within the definition of life support equipment

      • (i) advice the customer that they may be eligible for concessions and rebates offered by the State or federal governments, including information on how to access them; and

      • (j) information on the availability of interpreter services and the contact number for these services in community languages

    • 6.7 Content of Life Support medical confirmation form

    • OVO Energy will ensure the medical confirmation form issued to the customer has the following:

      • (a) be dated;

      • (b) advice to the customer stating that completion and return of the form to OVO Energy will satisfy the requirement to provide medical confirmation under the life support Energy Retail Code;

      • (c) request the customers property address;

      • (d) request the date from which the customer requires supply of energy for the purpose of the life support equipment;

      • (e) request medical confirmation;

      • (f) specify the types of equipment that are classified as life support equipment

      • (g) advice to the customer stating that the date they must return the medical confirmation form to OVO Energy; and

      • (h) advice to the customer stating that they can request an extension to allow more time to complete and return the medical confirmation form.

  • 7 Reminders for confirmation of premise as requiring life support equipment

  • Where OVO Energy have been advised of the requirement for life support equipment at a premise and provided a medical confirmation form, we will:

    • (a) provide the customer 50 business days to complete and return their medical confirmation form;

    • (b) provide the customer at least two written reminder notices advising the customer must provide medical confirmation;

    • (c) ensure the first reminder notice is provided no less than 15 business days from the date of issue of the medical confirmation form;

    • (d) ensure the second reminder notice is sent to the customer no less than 15 business days from the date of issue of the first reminder notice

  • OVO Energy will ensure the reminder notices will be:

    • (a) dated;

    • (b) state the date for when the medical confirmation form is due;

    • (c) state the types of equipment that fall under life support equipment; and

    • (d) Advise the customer the following:

      • (i) the customer must provide medical confirmation;

      • (ii) the premise is temporarily registered as requiring life support equipment until the medical confirmation is received

      • (iii) failure to provide the medical confirmation may result in the premise being de-registered for life support

      • (iv) an extension to to provide more time to complete the medical confirmation form can be requested by the customer

  • 8 Ongoing retailer obligations

  • Where OVO Energy are required to register a premise for the requirement of life support equipment after being advised by a customer, distributor or exempt person, we will:

    • (a) provide the distributor relevant information around the requirement for life support at the premise including when the customer provides OVO Energy medical confirmation and any relevant contact details for the customer within one business day from receipt;

    • (b) update the registration within one business days of being notified by the customer, distributor or exempt person of any changes to the life support equipment requirements for the premise or any changes to the customer’s contact details;

    • (c) not de-energise the premise from the date the life support equipment will be required at the premise ( the date OVO Energy were notified of the requirement for life support equipment at the premise)

  • 9 De-registration of Life Support

  • OVO Energy will not de-register a customer’s premise except in the circumstances outlined below.

  • If a customer’s premise is de-registered by OVO Energy or by an exempt person, we must:

    • (a) notify the distributor the date and reason the de-registration occurred and within 5 business days and have the register updated within one business day from the de-registration date;
  • (b) update the life support register de-registration date within one business day from the registration date.

  • If OVO Energy are notified that a customer’s premise has been by the distributor, we will:

    • (a) within one business day, update the registration under the Electricity Distribution Code; or

    • (b) under the Gas Distribution System Code, update the registrations

    • 9.1 De-registration where medical confirmation not received

    • Where a customer has made no contact and where the customer has not provided a completed medical confirmation form, OVO Energy may de-register the customer’s premise for the requirement of life support equipment only when:

      • (a) we have provided the customer minimum of 50 business days to provide a completed medical confirmation form:

      • (b) provided the customer a reminder letter has been issued to the customer no less than 15 business days after the medical confirmation form issue date

      • (c) provided the customer a second reminder letter to be issued to the customer no less than 15 business days after the 1st reminder was issued;

      • (d) A de-registration letter to be issued 15 business days after the second reminder letter, outlining the scheduled de-registration date if no contact made by a specific date (15 business days from the issue date of the letter);

      • (e) Attempts to contact the customer in person or via phone and or electronic means;

      • (f) The customer has not provided medical confirmation before the date for de-registration specified in the de-registration notice.

      • (g) Advise the Distributor within 5 business days of de-registration date including the reason for the de-registration

      • (h) Within one business day from de-registration, update our billing system to reflect life support no longer required.

    • De-registration notice must:

      • (a) be dated;

      • (b) specify the date which the customers’ premise is scheduled to be de-registered, which will be at least 15 business days from the issue date of the de-registration notice;

      • (c) advise the customer their premise will no longer be registered as requiring life support equipment unless medical confirmation is received before the de-registration date;

      • (d) advise the customer they will no longer receive life support protections

    • 9.2 The customer has advised they no longer require the Life support at their premises.

    • We must ensure we have followed the Life Support de-registration SOP prior to any de-registration.

    • Once customer advises they no longer require Life Support equipment at the property, we must:

      • (a) issue the customer a letter advising of the scheduled de-registration date on the basis that the customer has advised to OVO Energy that the person for whom life support equipment is required has vacated the premise or no longer requires life support equipment;

      • (b) the scheduled de-registration date must be 15 business days from the issue date of the letter and must advise the customer to contact OVO Energy if they still require the Life Support prior to the date reflecting and once the de-registration occurs ;

      • (c) the customer will no longer be protected under the Life Support protections.

      • (d) the customer must contact OVO Energy prior to the scheduled de-registration date if the person whom requires the life support equipment still requires the life support equipment and are still at the premise;

      • (e) Advise the Distributor within 5 business days of de-registration date including the reason for the de-registration.

      • (f) if a customer or their authorised representative provides explicit informed consent to the premise being de-registered on a date less than 15 business days from the written de-registration notification

    • 9.3 The customer changes retailers or Moves out

    • We should be advising the customer that they require to notify their new retailer of their requirement of Life Support.

    • If a de-registration of Life Support is scheduled (except in the circumstance where the customer is no longer an Ovo Energy customer) we must be advising of the scheduled de-registration date in writing and allow sufficient time to make contact if the customer’s circumstances change.

    • It is important that we confirm whether a customer has Life Support at their premise when moving a customer out of their property / raising a de-energisation Service order

      • (a) Check our bulling system to ensure Life Support is not flagged.

      • (b) If flagged : DO NOT raise a disconnection

      • (c) We must wait until the disconnection date passes and un-flag the account.

      • (d) Raise the disconnection the following day for 3 business days.

    • Notes are to be left on the customer's account using the following template:

      • • Requested Move out date: xx/xx/xxxx

      • • Supply address:

      • • Forwarding address: (must be updated in the billing system and CRM for collection purposes, even if on email billing)

    • OVO Energy may, at any time request a customer whose premise is registered for life support equipment to confirm if they still require the life support equipment and whether they are still residing at the registered premise.

  • 10 Record Keeping

  • OVO Energy has established policies, systems and procedures for registering and de-registering premises as requiring life support equipment to facilitate compliance.

  • We must ensure that all life support equipment registration and de-registration details are maintained and kept up to date, including the following:

    • (a) the date when the customer requires supply of energy at the premise for the purpose of life support equipment

    • (b) when medical confirmation was received from the customer

    • (c) the date when the premise was de-registered and the reason

    • (d) a record of communications with the customer that contains each customer's explicit informed consent and is kept for 2 years.

    • (e) a record of explicit informed consent given by a customer or an authorised representative and retain the record for a minimum of 2 years;