A complainant informed the Human Rights Ombudsman about his distress due to the disconnection of electricity in the last year. The Ombudsman was not able to discern any more details from the complaint regarding what caused the disconnection, but it was estimated that the complainant is not well versed in official procedures. Therefore, the Ombudsman turned first to Elektro Celje d.d. and the regional competent Savinjsko-Šaleška Centre for Social Work – Velenje unit (CSW). Their replies revealed that the reasons for the disconnection were outstanding debts, while the consent of the apartment’s owner would be needed for reconnection. The CSW explained to the Ombudsman that the debts had in the meantime been settled and the consent of the owner was acquired. The Ombudsman welcomed the progress in solving the complainant’s problems and expressed his expectation that the reconnection of the complainant would (if it had not yet been) be carried out as soon as possible.
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In his complaint, which lacked detail, the complainant informed the Ombudsman about the problems he is having due to the fact that his electricity had been disconnected last year. He appended some documents, explained the circumstances relating to the disconnection, and expressed a wish that he could watch TV, listen to the radio, and have a refrigerator. In order to be able to investigate the actual situation as efficiently as possible, the Ombudsman turned with inquiries to Elektro Celje and the CSW, both of which replied.
Elektro Celje described the circumstances of the disconnection in detail. On 28/07/2022 the complainant was informed that on 11/08/2022 he would be disconnected from the network and of the possibility of emergency and urgent supply. On 20/09/2022 Elektro Celje then received the request for reconnection from a certain electricity supplier. This was appended with a statement from the potential heir after the deceased former owner and the concluded contract about the supply with the complainant who, in the statement, was stated as the potential heir. After reviewing the ownership, Elektro Celje found that the owner of the real estate in which the complainant resides is another person, due to which they rejected his request for reconnection since the owner’s consent was not appended.
The CSW wrote that the complainant has been treated in 2021, 2022, and 2023 within the First Social Aid service, but was not treated within any other services. In the past year, the complainant asserted his right to extraordinary financial social assistance twice, and he was also introduced to the public powers of the CSW and services they can provide him with for the solution of his problems. He was also offered help with the explanation of official documents, arranging a free hot meal, and public kitchen and delivery of lunch, and finally also with the reconnection of electricity. According to the information available to the CSW, the disconnection of electricity occurred due to past outstanding debts, while reconnection was not possible since the real estate is owned by another person, the consent of whom would be necessary for this. The outstanding debts and the costs of disconnection and reconnection were supposedly settled with extraordinary financial social assistance, and consent for reconnection was also acquired from the owner in the meantime.
Considering all this, the Ombudsman found that the problems of the complainant regarding reconnection of electricity are being actively dealt with through the efforts of the CSW, which we commended and expressed our expectation that the reconnection will happen in the shortest possible time. We also invited the complainant to inform us if, despite everything, the stated problems with the reconnection occur again. In such a case, we could reevaluate the possibility of our intervention. 18.3-1/2023