Safe entry to your premises
There are things you can do to ensure your premises is safe for us to enter for works such as meter reading, connections, maintenance, inspections, and repairs on our powerlines and other network equipment.
Why we might need access to your premises
We may need to enter your premises for a range of reasons as permitted under energy laws, including:
- inspect or read electricity meters
- identify the location and cause of a fault, and repair it (during power outages)
- complete maintenance or upgrade works on our equipment located on or near your land
- inspect our poles, overhead or underground powerlines, transformers or other electrical equipment located on your land
- check or clear vegetation from around powerlines on or near your premises
- assess the need for possible future network infrastructure
- to complete work requested by your electrical contractor or electricity retailer.
We have the right to enter private property to carry out these activities, but will always show ID on request so you know who we are.
What you can do to help us
So that we can complete our activities easily and safely, when you know we'll be on your premises, we ask that you:
- keep dogs suitably restrained (see below)
- tell us about any special access to your land or our equipment
- update your account/premises details with your electricity retailer
- provide safe and clear access to our equipment (Ergon locks are available)
Please call us on 13 74 66 if you'd like more information on our safe entry practices, which we've developed to help ensure the safety of our field staff when entering your premises.
What does “suitably restrained dog” mean?
To confirm your dog is suitably restrained, we must be able to physically sight your dog and confirm it is:
- placed securely inside the house behind a closed door or other suitable building (e.g. shed); or
- placed securely in a yard or area completely separated from where our work is needed (i.e. locked behind a fence); or
- isolated by either a substantial rope or chain secured to an appropriate anchor point on the ground or to a fixed fitting to ensure our safe access to the work area.If you chain your dog please remember you're responsible for ensuring they have appropriate water, shade, and food
Please note it's not adequate to offer to hold a dog by hand i.e. via a collar, holding part of the dog’s body, or having the dog in your arms. We'll consider the premises unsafe to enter if you offer to do this. For safety reasons, our field staff are NOT permitted to enter unless the dog is securely isolated.
Will I be notified when you need to enter my premises?
The amount of notice we can give you when we need to enter your premises depends on the type of work we will be doing. Unfortunately, in some cases we're not able to provide notice at all.
- Meter reading - Meter reads are conducted on a regular basis. A next scheduled read date is forecast and usually shown on your electricity bill. We may visit two business days either side of your next scheduled read date. If your meter read is due in the next three business days, you can double check the actual date on our meter reading webpage by entering your National Metering Identifier (NMI). If you have a dog, you can sign up to receive SMS and/or email meter-read alerts for dog owners 24 hours before your meter is due to be read.
- Planned maintenance - You'll receive a notification if there'll be a power outage at your premises for us to complete planned maintenance work, either on site or nearby. The notification will be provided a minimum four (4) days prior to the planned power outage. When power is restored we may need access to your premises to ensure it is reconnected safely.
- Network inspections - No prior notice will be given when we conduct walking/ground network inspections. We may attempt to knock on your door to advise you of our presence when we arrive, depending where on your premises our assets are located.
- Customer requested work - We don't provide notice of attendance or a scheduled date to complete customer requested work, unless we have booked a specific access appointment with you or your Electrical Contractor. Examples of customer requested work are new connections and connection changes (read more on our Connections webpage).
- Emergency work - We're unable to provide any prior notice if we need to enter your premises for emergency works. We'll attempt to knock on your door to advise you of our presence when we arrive at your premises.
If we can't gain entry to read your meter, we'll automatically generate an estimate read for your electricity retailer. If we left a card at your premises to advise we couldn't access your meter, you can submit a self meter read via our Customer Self Service. Or if you prefer, you can call us on 13 74 66 to provide a self meter read. From 1 February 2019 you may ask your electricity retailer to adjust your bill to be based off your self-read.
Frequently asked questions
What does “suitably restrained dog” mean?
We consider a dog is suitably restrained when we can see that it is:
- placed securely inside the house behind a closed door or other suitable building (e.g. shed) and our field staff are convinced that the dog can't escape the building.
- placed securely in a yard or area completely separated from where our work is needed (i.e. locked behind a fence), and our field staff are convinced that the dog can't escape the area.
- isolated by either a substantial rope or chain secured to an appropriate anchor point on the ground or to a fixed fitting to ensure our safe access to the work area. If you chain your dog please remember you're responsible for ensuring they have appropriate water, shade, and food.
Please note: It's not adequate to offer to hold a dog by hand i.e. via a collar, holding part of the dog’s body, or having the dog in your arms. We'll consider the premises unsafe to enter if you offer to do this. For safety reasons, our field staff are NOT permitted to enter unless the dog is securely isolated and they can visually confirm the dog is restrained or are confident that the dog cannot escape the restraint / enclosure.
What is safe and clear access?
Safe and clear access means that at your premises you ensure:
- dogs are suitably restrained or away from the meter
- if you use a lock, that it is authorised by us to secure your gate or other property access point
- that the meter is clear of vegetation, insects, vehicles and other equipment
- that your meter box is moved if it becomes inaccessible because of new fences or building changes.
How will crews determine if my premises is safe to enter?
Your premises is determined safe to enter where there's no dog/s, or, where all dogs on site are securely isolated from where our work is needed. Our field staff will only enter a premises where there's no indication of an unrestrained dog, and after they have undertaken a risk assessment.
Your premises is determined not safe to enter where there is one or more unrestrained dog/s on site, or where there is evidence of a dog and our field staff can't confirm if its securely isolated from where our work is needed. Our field staff won't enter any premises where there's evidence that a dog is on site and remains unrestrained.
What do I do if your field staff weren't able to enter my premises?
Our crews carry notice cards that will be left on site if they can't complete work at your premises. Depending on the type of work we were at your premises to complete, these cards will indicate if you need to contact us or your electricity retailer.
My dog is very friendly! Will your staff untie them when they leave?
No. This would violate our safe entry practices.
I have a dog to ensure my house is secure and protected. This will be a security risk for me if I tied them up.
We understand that many of our customers own dogs as an added layer of protection for your premises. However, we have an obligation to ensure the safety of our field staff and contractors. As such, unless your dog is suitably restrained, our crews won't enter your premises.
If we can't gain access to take your meter read, we'll automatically generate an estimate read for your electricity retailer. If we left a card at your premises to advise we couldn't access your meter, you can submit a self meter read via our Customer Self Service. Or if you prefer, you can call us on 13 74 66 to provide a self meter read. From 1 February 2019 you may also contact your electricity retailer to request your bill be adjusted to be based off your self-read.
Are puppies and small dogs included in the restrictions of the safe entry practices?
Yes. All unrestrained dogs regardless of size or age are included in our safe entry practices.
How do the safe entry practices affect me if I have an assistance dog (e.g. guide dog)?
Our field staff may not be able to differentiate between an assistance dog and a pet dog when they're simply in the yard. If an assistance dog is wearing official assistance gear/uniform and is visibly an aid dog, our field staff will conduct a risk assessment before entering your premises. If the dog is unrestrained in the yard with no visible assistance gear/uniform, our field staff won't enter your premises as per our safe entry practices.
What if my dog is restrained indoors/out the back securely and the crew considers that they “can't confirm the dog is restrained”?
Our crew will make best endeavours to enter your premises where they assess that it's safe to do so. Your electricity retailer can help you with ensuring access information relating to your premises is up to date for your address. If an access appointment has been booked and you've confirmed with us that your dog is suitably restrained, we’ll ensure the information is provided to our field staff.
What if the dog barking is from my neighbour’s yard?
Our field staff will use best endeavours to determine if the dog is in the yard they are attempting to enter using visual clues such as: water/food bowls, toys, bones, kennels, etc. However, if they can't determine that the premises is safe to enter, they won't attempt entry.
A crew is on site to do emergency work at a premises, are they still unable to enter the premises if there is an unrestrained dog?
Emergency work carries a higher priority than customer requested jobs and meter reads. Crews on site to do emergency work will be expected to conduct a risk assessment and use best endeavours to enter the premises safely.
If your meter reader doesn't visit on my next scheduled read date, will I receive compensation if I had to leave work to restrain my dog?
No. A window of time of -\+ two business days is always scheduled to allow us to reprioritise should emergency works or response to unforeseen events (e.g. bad weather) be needed urgently.
Do I need to provide my National Meter Identifier (NMI) to give you a self-read of my meter?
No. You must be able to pass privacy checks for the premises address but a NMI is not compulsory.
How do I read my meters?
There is a guide on our website for how to read your meter.
Why don’t you just install remotely read meters?
Due to the Power of Choice industry reform on 1 December 2017, electricity distributors like us are no longer able to install new metering. This includes remotely read or “comms/smart/digital” meters. If you're interested in having such a meter installed you'll need to discuss this with your electricity retailer.
I live in a rural location and have a long driveway, will my meter get read?
If the meter reader usually enters your premises in their vehicle and drives up to your house, they'll still do this. However, if they arrive at your house and can see an unrestrained dog, they won't exit the vehicle to complete their reading. They'll drive away and exit your premises. Best endeavours will be made to leave a “no access” card on site.