The power at our flat has been cut off. I had no idea that we were behind, our monthly payments go to one of the flatties who arranged it all at the start of the year. Turns out someone has been strapped for cash and bailing on their share but no-one’s been talking about it. Now we are literally in the dark and I’ve no idea what to do. What do we have to do to get power back, and how can we sort out the money issue with our flatmate?
-Stressed Out and Shivering
Dear Stressed Out and Shivering
Eeeek! Losing power is losing cooked food, showers, heating, light, laptops—a functioning 21st century life—and we understand the urgency to get it fixed ASAP.
The person with the current contract to the power company needs to call up and cancel their account. They will be individually liable to the company for the owing money, but at least this won’t accumulate any further. It might not seem fair if they have been paying regularly, but this can be worked out at a later stage with the person who hasn’t paid. Another flattie, probably not the person who hasn’t been making the bills, should start up a new power account.
It’s important to have a flat conversation. How come your flatmate hasn’t been making payments? Are they going to be able to contribute to the coming bills, or will the remainder of you agree to split it?
If you think they need some guidance or help send them down to Student Support Centre to talk with one of our advocates. They might be eligible for our Hardship Fund, and we can definitely set them up with a Food Bank Bag to ease the financial pressure. If there’s anything else we can do our advocates will figure it out!
The Dunedin City Council have an Electricity Fund you can apply for as a one off assistance. You’ll need to set up an appointment with a budget advisor to qualify, but it could be well worth it.
If the person who owes the money is playing avoidance on the matter, it might be that the person they owe money to takes them to Disputes Tribunal. Again, pop in to see an advocate and they will help you with this process.
Whole lotta love,