111 Contact Code
The New Zealand Commerce Commission has released a new 111 Contact Code which has been created to ensure that identified vulnerable consumers will have reasonable access to an appropriate way of calling a 111 emergency services number in the event of a power failure or power outage.
The new 111 Contact Code is both an advisement to all customers and notably the identification of vulnerable customers who may need to call 111 emergency services in the event of a power failure or power outage.
The reason for this is that home phone connection technologies such as VoIP or RBI with Voice landline devices need a power supply in the residential home to work. This means that they will not operate in the event of a power failure or power outage, to have them operate in a power failure or power outage, would require an independent power source such as a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or a backup generator.
Telecommunications service providers in New Zealand are required to advise any new customers before commencement of any new connection, while existing customers are to be advised once annually that their home phone may not work in a power failure or power outage situation. As part of this process Scorch Communications will advise customers of what steps they can take to protect themselves and where they can go for further assistance.
The primary points to note are:
1), Your VoIP or RBI with Voice landline devices may not work in a power failure or power outage.
2), Review what you need to do to contact the 111 emergency services.
3), Ensure that you have another way to access 111 emergency services.
If you do not have any other alternative way to contact the 111 emergency services in the event of a power outage, then you can apply to Scorch Communications if you feel you are at a particular risk of needing to call the 111 emergency services for your health, safety or disability reasons and need to be identified as a possible vulnerable consumer.
Please review the below sections for further details including the application process and application form.
Please note the new 111 Contact Code only applies to voice landline (VoIP or RBI with Voice) services only; any broadband only customers cannot apply.
If you, or someone in your household, are reliant on your voice landline (VoIP or RBI with Voice) connection for medical, disability or safety reasons, you may be able to apply to be registered as a Vulnerable Consumer.
In the event if you qualify as an identified Vulnerable Consumer, Scorch Communications will provide you with the means to call 111 emergency services in the event of a power failure or power outage. This will be provided to you at no cost (please note any hardware devices will not be supplied to qualifying customers until the 1st of August 2021).
To register with Scorch Communications as a possible Vulnerable Consumer and if all of the following reasons apply:
1), You (or someone else within your residential household) have no other way to contact the 111 emergency services in the event of a power failure or power outage.
Please note: if you already have access to a mobile phone or have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or even a generator, and therefore have a backup power solution in place, allowing you to make calls to the 111 emergency services in a power failure or power outage, then you will not qualify as a Vulnerable Consumer and should not apply.
2), You, or someone within your household is at a particular risk of needing to contact the 111 emergency services for your safety, disability, or health reasons.
3), You have a voice landline (VoIP or RBI with Voice) service provided to you by Scorch Communications. Because these devices are located in your residential home and will not operate in the event of a power failure or power outage and, if this happens, you will not be able to use it to contact 111 emergency services.
4), You will need to provide evidence to support your application that you, or a person from your residential household that is applying on your behalf, are at particular risk of requiring to contact 111 emergency services in a power outage or power failure.
Some documents that you may need as evidence for your application are:
a), a protection order
b), a letter from a health professional (for example a GP / doctor)
c), a document or certificate of impairment (for example an Identification Card)
d), a completed Notice of a Medically Dependant Consumer (MDC) Status form, which should include certification from a District Health Board (DHB), a GP / Doctor or a private hospital.
Go to www.ea.govt.nz (Electricity Authority): Medically dependent and vulnerable customers.
You could alternatively provide us with details of a nominated person who we can contact to verify that you, or the person in your residential household, are at risk of requiring 111 contact emergency services. We recommend that before you make your application to us that you (or if you have a person applying on your behalf) first discuss the application with any nominated person.
A nominated person must be someone who is by their occupation, a competent / qualified professional who can give an opinion on whether you (or the person you are applying on behalf of) is at particular risk of requiring the 111 emergency service.
For example: –
a), If the disability or health option has been selected on the Scorch Communications form, then you will need a medical health practitioner (such as a GP) to be nominated as a person.
b), If the safety option has been selected on the Scorch Communications form, then you will need a police officer or a registered (current) social worker, a lawyer (with a valid and current practising certificate), or a family court judge maybe be a nominated person.
You must be a Scorch Communications current customer and account holder, or someone who is authorised on your Scorch Communications account, to be able to apply. You can either apply yourself or on behalf of someone who normally resides at the address where the Scorch Communications voice landline (VoIP or RBI with Voice) service is delivered.
If you are the Scorch Communications account holder or have authority on the Scorch Communications account, and the vulnerable person has no backup device (for example a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to back up the power in the event of a power outage or a mobile phone to use in a power outage), you can download and complete the Vulnerable Consumer Application form and then please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you prefer to post the form to us you can send it to: –
Scorch Communications Ltd
P O Box 8708
Scorch Communications will, once it receives your application, process and review it within 10 working days and will then advise you upon the outcome of your application.
If the situation should arise and you wish to raise a complaint about the process or how your application has been handled, the Scorch Communications account holder should email email@example.com. Scorch Communications will then contact the account holder to discuss the dispute and attempt to resolve any possible issues.
If you are still not happy with our response, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to raise a complaint and Scorch Communications will contact you and review your complaint in accordance with the Scorch Communications complaints process and in accordance with your rights and obligations.