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6. Disputes: unlawful disconnection
If you dispute that the supplier is entitled to disconnect, you can ask Citizens Advice consumer service to intervene. It can order the supplier to reconnect or continue your supply pending a decision on your dispute.
Unlawful disconnection is an enforcement matter. Suppliers can be forced to comply with the law by Ofgem. If the supplier ignores the order, you can apply for a court order to enforce it, including by way of an application for an injunction (see Appendix 4).
If disconnection was unlawful, you do not have to pay the costs of disconnection or reconnection. You may also have a claim for compensation, for any costs you have incurred as a result of the unlawful disconnection along with any other damages (including to reputation, loss of supply, expenses, inconvenience and distress) that may arise from the way in which a supplier acted when disconnecting your supply and legislative breaches. These claims may be pursued through the civil courts (see Chapter 14).
For example, a supplier may wrongly disconnect a supply, arising from a mistake by a contractor who visits a household. This can be a problem in multi-occupation buildings or where a contractor suspects the occupants are squatters. In such a case, immediately contact the supplier and be prepared to back up a demand for reconnection with an action through the courts (see Chapter 14). An emergency injunction may be sought to order reconnection and a claim for damages included as a result of nuisance and losses caused by being without a supply. In an emergency case, an injunction can be sought outside normal court hours.