The Commerce Commission has created a 111 Contact Code to make sure that vulnerable consumers can call emergency services on 111 if there happens to be a power cut. The code supports consumers who might not be able to call 111 due to their use of new technology, like Fibre or wireless landline services. These technologies need a power supply to work, meaning they won't work in a power cut.
At NOW we believe that everyone in New Zealand should feel safe and supported in an emergency. So, if you, or someone in your household, relies on your NOW landline for medical, safety or disability reasons, you can apply to be listed as a Vulnerable Consumer. If you qualify NOW will provide you, at no cost, with a way to call 111 emergency services in the event of a power cut. This may be a device like a mobile phone, or a UPS.
Who can apply to become a Vulnerable Consumer?
You (or someone in your household) can register with NOW as vulnerable consumer if all of the following apply:
- You are at particular risk of needing to call 111 emergency services for health, safety, or disability reasons.
- You have a landline service with NOW over Fibre or Wireless Landline service.
- You don't have a mobile (on any provider) that can be used as an alternative at home or an alternative power source.
- You don't have an alternate power source or another means for contacting the 111-emergency service from your landline premises that can be operated for an eight hour period in the event of a power outage.
You will need to provide us with evidence to show that you, or someone in your household are at particular risk of requiring the 111-emergency service due to health, safety or disability reasons.
You can apply if you're a NOW account holder, or someone authorised on a NOW account, with an active NOW landline service. You can apply for yourself, or on behalf of someone in your household.
What is an alternative means of contacting 111-emergency services during a power outage?
We suggest keeping a mobile phone ready to be used during a power outage. Remember to keep it fully charged and place it in an easily accessible location for quick access. Installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will also protect your telecommunications services in the event of a power outage.
How can I apply to register as a Vulnerable Consumer?
Download, print and complete the form along with the appropriate supporting evidence and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow 7-10 working days for us to review your application. Once our review is complete we'll contact you via your preferred method of contact.
You can also post it the old-fashioned way to:
PO Box 2022
Hawke’s Bay Mail Centre
What is appropriate supporting evidence?
We'll need sufficient evidence that you (or the person you're applying on behalf of) is at particular risk of requiring the 111 service. Examples of supporting evidence are:
- a completed Electricity Authority 'Notice of Potential Medically Dependant Consumer (MDC) Status' form which includes a certification from a DHB, private hospital or GP (accessible from their website here)
- a protection order;
- a letter from a health practitioner (e.g. a GP); or
- documentation of impairment (e.g. an ID card)
--Please only provided us with copies of supporting evidence. Do not send the original documents.--
Details of a nominated person we can contact to verify that you (or the person you are applying on behalf of) is (or will become) at particular risk of requiring the 111-emergency service.
Examples of nominated persons:
- a Health practitioner (e.g. GP)
- a currently registered social worker
- Lawyers (with a current practicing certificate)
- a police officer
- a family court judge
What happens next?
Once approved as a Vulnerable Consumer we will aim to provide you with either a mobile phone, or alternative means of contacting 111 that can operate for at least 8 hours during a power outage. This will be provided at no cost to you. Telecommunications providers have until 1 August 2021 to make this support available to Vulnerable Consumers.
Disputes and complaints
If you have questions or concerns about the information provided or if you wish to make a complaint, please email us at here.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your case, then you can refer your complaint to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolutions Scheme (TDR). TDR provides a free and independent service for residential and small business customers and engages with NOW to find a resolution on your behalf. The account holder can raise a dispute with the TDR on their own behalf or that of another member of the same residential household.
If you believe NOW is actively being negligent in its responsibilities under the 111 Contact Code you can contact the Commerce Commission directly at email@example.com. Please note their primary course of action will be to refer the matter to the TDR.