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Frequently Asked Questions

We couldn’t do without it, but all energy deserves respect, so please share these important electricity safety tips with everyone at your place.

Water and electricity don't mix

  • Always dry your hands before touching electrical appliances
  • Always wear dry shoes with rubber soles when using electrical appliances outside or on a wet floor
  • Keep electrical appliances away from water
  • Never have electric heaters in your bathroom. It's much safer to have a fixed heater installed by an electrician
  • Keep appliances away from swimming pools. Don't use extension cables that reach to your pool
  • Keep appliances and cords out of the rain
  • Never wash electrical equipment or appliances, even if unplugged. Just wipe over with a dry cloth
  • Outside meter boxes and switchboards can get water damage. It’s your responsibility to maintain weather tightness of the meter box. If you think water has entered it, please call a licensed electrical worker to check it. If the damage is only to the perspex on the box, we’re happy to arrange repairs and bill you accordingly.  

 

Keep your kids safe

  • Be sure appliance cords are well out of reach of children
  • Use plastic socket protectors on your plugs if you have young children
  • Don't let young children plug or unplug appliances
  • Don't leave things around that children might poke into power sockets, like screwdrivers or knitting needles
  • Always be there with your younger children if they use electrical appliances, especially toasters, heaters and fans

 

Wear and tear

  • Before you plug in or turn on appliances, check there are no worn, broken or loose parts
  • Check flexes or cords for damaged or exposed wires, or fraying and split leads
  • Throw away damaged leads or get them repaired professionally
  • Don't overload power points by 'piggy-backing' too many plugs into one socket
  • Never remove plugs from sockets by pulling on the cord
  • Replace cracked or broken power sockets 

 

Reliable protection

For instant protection against electric shock, use an RCD (Residual Current Device) or an isolating transformer for portable electrical appliances like power tools, concrete mixers or electric mowers.

  • Install RCDs in an existing socket outlet (all bathrooms have RCD-protected sockets)
  • Install RCDs in your switchboard to protect a number of circuits
  • Portable RCDs are important for a number of devices. 

A surge protector will stop damage from electrical spikes or surges. Great for:

  • Computers and laptops
  • Stereos
  • TVs, DVD and video equipment
  • Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
  • Heat pumps

 

Always ask an expert

  • Only allow a licensed electrical worker or service person to carry out repairs on appliances -  always ask to see their Practising Licence
  • Call an electrician for advice or assistance if you don't know how to change a fuse
  • If you install a number of new appliances, or a large appliance such as a central heating system, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrical worker check the capability of your meter board and wiring. Overloading them can be dangerous 

 

Stay safe around meters 

Meters and the equipment around them can be dangerous so always follow these rules to stay safe.

  • Never tamper with the metering equipment please. Metering equipment means any meter or associated equipment (including software) used to measure and/or provide information about your energy usage and to regulate and/or control the supply of energy to your premises. It is the property of Contact and mustn’t become a fixture or fitting of your property. Please don’t move or remove it without our approval
  • To ensure your safety, please tell us if you need to do any work on your property that may affect the network or metering equipment (including moving the metering equipment). We’ll need at least five working days notice to make any arrangements
  • The meter box itself is your property, and all the wiring and other electrical equipment inside it (excluding the metering equipment). It’s your responsibility to ensure your meter box, sub or fuse board, and any other wiring or piping is maintained. Please check them regularly and give us a call if you’re unsure about anything

Gas is a great form of energy for homes – make the most of it by using it safely. Learn more about LPG health and safety from our LPG Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

 

Always use an expert

  • Get a registered gasfitter to check all your gas appliances at least once every two years. You’ll avoid potential danger if you have them tested and repaired
  • Ask your local gas service agent to retune your hob or change the jets in your appliances 

 

Keep a close eye on children and pets 

Please take extra care and teach your children some simple safety rules, because the littlest ones in your family are the most vulnerable to carbon monoxide gases.

  • Keep children and pets away from open flames
  • Keep them away from gas appliances – especially the water heater
  • Make it a hard and fast rule: never play with matches – anywhere
  • Don’t let your children have flammable materials anywhere near gas appliances
  • Teach your children to recognise the smell of natural gas (rotten eggs). If they ever smell it, they need to tell you straight away
  • Set your water heater temperature to no more than 55°C – you’ll avoid scalding that way

 

Keep it safe with LPG appliances

  • Never use an LPG cabinet heater in bedrooms or bathrooms. Ventilation can’t be guaranteed, no matter how big the room is
  • Good ventilation is super important. If you’re using an unflued portable gas heater, always keep a window or door slightly open
  • LPG can cause some natural rubber and plastics to break down, so always use hoses especially designed for LPG. In New Zealand hoses are marked with the letters ‘LPG’ as well as other specifications – so always check
  • Sometimes gas fails to ignite properly. If that happens, turn off the supply and wait a couple of minutes, to let unburnt gas disappear before you try again
  • Never connect LPG to appliances that have been set up for natural gas – it could damage them

 

Important tips for LPG cylinders

We’ll always run a safety check on your 45kg cylinders when we come and swap empty cylinders for full ones, but here are some important safety tips you should follow for large and small LPG cylinders.

  • Always keep LPG cylinders upright  – if you lie them down the  safety valve will be compromised
  • Always secure 9kg cylinders when you’re moving them in your vehicle – never let them roll around
  • Don’t expose cylinders to excessive heat and never leave them in a vehicle in the sun
  • Keep the hose from your heater or BBQ gently curved to avoid kinks and damage
  • Make sure your 9kg cylinder has a current test date stamped on the neck. Gas cylinders need to be certified every 10 years. Your local refilling station will show you where the test date is written
  • Use soapy water to check if your cylinder is leaking. If you see bubbles then there’s probably a leak. Turn off the valve, move the cylinder to a ventilated area, then contact your gas supplier. NEVER USE A MATCH to find a leak
  • Activities that might cause a spark, like welding or grinding, need to be done well away from LPG cylinders

 

Important information if you store 100kgs of LPG or more on a workplace site – you will need a Location Compliance Certificate (Note: prior to 1 December 2017 this was referred to as Location Test Certificate or LTC)

  • Until 1 December, if you have capacity to store 100kg of LPG or more, then we require a valid Location Test Certificate to continue to supply LPG to you.  On 1 December 2017, parts of the new Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 and the Hazardous Substances (Hazardous Property Controls) Notice 2017 come into effect.  After this, non-workplaces will no longer require a LTC for storage of 100kg or more (up to 300kg) of LPG. You can find more information here.
  • You will also need a copy of our Safety Data Sheet which includes information about the composition of LPG. You need to have one of these in order to get your Location Compliance Certificate. Here is the Safety Data Sheet.

 

Regular checks on your gas water heaters

  • Keep your gas water heater clean – get rid of dust, lint or sawdust that could block the air intakes at the bottom of the tank 

If you insulate your water heater:

  • Keep the insulation blanket well off the floor so it doesn’t cut off the air supply to the pilot light
  • Use non-flammable insulation or commercial pipe wraps to insulate the hot water pipe that extends from the top of the hot water cylinder

Like all fuels used for vehicles, there are important safety guides to remember with LPG.

 

Built in safety features

There are a number of built in safety features in LPG fuel tanks:

  • They’re manufactured to withstand the impact of an accident
  • The fuel supply is automatically shut off to the engine if the engine stops or the ignition is switched off
  • The manual service valve at the tank allows the system to be easily and securely turned off
  • If a fire occurs, the fuel tank will safely vent its contents from the safety valve to avoid any over pressure situations 

 

What to do if you drive off with the filler nozzle attached to your vehicle

The filler hose is designed to detach safely from the dispenser, through a breakaway coupling in the hose detaching and sealing. The coupling is located at either the top, or at the base of the dispenser. If you do drive off:

  • Check for leaks
  • Remove the hose nozzle from your vehicle
  • Place the nozzle in the holder on the dispenser
  • Check for damage to your vehicle
  • DO NOT attempt to reconnect the filler nozzle breakaway coupling
  • Move to a safe place off-site and call our emergency helpline 0800 574 737
  • Follow the recorded instructions to alert our contractors
  • If there is an immediate danger call 111 and ask for the Fire Service

 

What to do in an accident or fire

  • Turn off the manual service valve on the fuel tank in the boot, or under the rear of the vehicle if the tank is an under floor installation
  • Ensure there are no ignition sources near the vehicle
  • Look after your own safety. Call for emergency help immediately

 

What to do if a vehicle gas leak occurs

  • Turn off the vehicle's ignition
  • Turn off the manual service valve located on the fuel tank in the boot, or underneath the vehicle
  • Ensure there are no ignition sources near the vehicle
  • If the vehicle is indoors or in a poorly ventilated area, call the fire service immediately
  • If the leak is small and the vehicle is outdoors in a well ventilated area, call an LPG installer or motor mechanic immediately to attend to the leak
  • If in doubt call the fire service on 111

 

What to do if a site gas leak occurs

If you detect a strong smell of LPG:

  • Tell the service station staff straight away
  • If you are at an un-manned site remove yourself immediately but DO NOT move your vehicle. Call the emergency site helpline 0800 574 737 to report

We have become aware of some fraudulent behaviour in the market affecting our customers. Sometimes these calls or emails appear to be from Contact but they are not from us.

 

Fake email survey

You may have received an email advising you to complete a survey to receive or redeem a free gift. The rewards include various expensive beauty products and nutritional supplements, and ask for personal information and credit card to pay for shipping.

These emails are NOT sent by or on behalf of Contact and are a scam. If you have received something like this, delete the email immediately and contact CERT NZ.

It has also been reported that a fake email survey is circulating claiming to be from Contact stating “Here’s why we appreciate you” – this is NOT an email generated by Contact and if should be ignored or deleted. Below are samples of the emails. If you have supplied any financial information please contact your bank directly.

scam

scam email

A call from Microsoft Helpdesk

We have also been informed of customers receiving call s from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Helpdesk. This is a well known scam where the caller claims to be reporting a problem with your computer and request remote access.

If in doubt, just hang up and contact CERT NZ.

 

How to report fraudulent activity

If you, or someone you know received a scam email or phone call, report it CERT NZ so coordinated action is taken and enforcement authorities will be alerted if required.

 

It is also important that if you are in doubt, to NEVER give out your credit card details or banking PINs and passwords. If you have given out your credit card details on a dodgy call, we recommend that you call your credit card company or bank to ask them what you should do next, such as cancelling or temporarily disabling your card.

We may call and ask for a credit card payment from time to time, but we discuss your account with you first.

 

If you have received threatening messages or phone calls, then call the Police immediately.