111 Contact Code

Contacting 111 in an emergency when the power is off - what you need to know if you're a vulnerable consumer

Commerce Commission 111 Contact Code

The NZ Commerce Commission 111 Contact Code requires telecommunications providers like Uber Group to look after vulnerable people in the event of a power cut. If we are your internet and phone provider, or if you are considering using Uber, we need to let you know what methods of communication won’t work if the power is off, and how you can get assistance if you’re classed as a vulnerable consumer.

Even if you only have, or are only looking at, ‘naked’ broadband services with us – ie you don’t have or want phone services – we have to give you this information. We can’t deny or stop supplying your landline services if we know or suspect you are, or may become, a vulnerable consumer.

What won’t work when the power goes off?

Unless you have your own battery backup system (UPS), your Uber internet connection won’t work during a power cut at your property, and that means your phone service won’t work either because your phone runs over the internet and the Uber phone adapter needs power too. If you have a cordless phone handset, that won’t work in a power cut either.

If you have mobile coverage, your mobile phone will continue to work on the mobile phone network for as long as the battery stays charged up and the mobile site you connect to stays live, but of course you won’t be able to connect your mobile phone to the Uber wifi and use services like Messenger and WhatsApp.

If you’re on our rural wireless network, the internet signal will still be available at your property because all the Uber transmission sites are battery backed, but the antenna on your roof won’t be able to receive or send a signal without power.

If you have a fibre connection, the fibre box on your wall (the ONT) requires power and will not work unless you have a battery backup.

If you should have some kind of emergency during the power cut, you would be reliant on your mobile phone (provided you have one and have mobile coverage at home) to call emergency services on 111.

If you have an active phone connection on the old copper network (not an Uber phone connection) and you have a corded handset rather than a cordless handset which uses power, then you will be able to call 111.

You should also note that if you have a medical alarm but it doesn’t have an inbuilt battery, this won’t work either.

What does Uber have to do so that you can call 111 in an emergency during a power cut?

If you qualify as a vulnerable consumer (more about that in a minute) then Uber Group as your phone provider has to provide you with a means of contacting emergency services for a period of eight hours from the start of a power cut, at no cost to you. We can’t (and won’t) opt out of our obligation to you by cancelling your phone service.

What will actually be provided so I can call 111 if I need to?

We will provide you with a solution to meet your needs, most likely a battery back-up device.

Not a vulnerable consumer? Best to think what you might need anyway if the power goes off!

If you (or anyone in your household) don’t fit the definition of a vulnerable consumer then Uber Group isn’t required to provide you any assistance in the event of a power cut at your place. However it’s still a timely reminder to think about things like the health of your mobile phone battery(ies) and whether or not you have mobile coverage at home – if you don’t, you may want to think about getting your own UPS so you will be able to make calls on our digital phone service.

If you’re setting up a UPS system and you’re on our wireless network, you will need to be able to plug in the device that provides power to the antenna on your roof, plus the ATA phone adapter and your cordless handset if you don’t have a corded phone handy. If you’re on a fibre connection you’ll need to be able to plug in the fibre box (ONT), the ATA phone adapter and your cordless phone.

How do I know whether I qualify as a vulnerable consumer?

A vulnerable consumer is someone who is at particular risk and more likely than other people to need to call the 111 emergency service, and who doesn’t have a means of calling 111 that can be operated for 8 hours if there is a power failure.

You (or someone in your household who uses the Uber phone services) would be classed as “at particular risk of needing to call the 111 emergency service” on the basis of specific circumstances. These include:

  • health (for example a known medical condition)
  • personal safety (for example risk of family violence)
  • disability (for example sensory, intellectual or physical impairment).

When you apply to be considered as a vulnerable consumer you’ll need to have evidence from a professional who provides written confirmation or gives us their details so we can call them. This would be for example a health practitioner (health or disability issues) or someone like a police officer, currently registered social worker, lawyer or family court judge (safety category). Written evidence would include things like a ‘Notice of Medically Dependent Consumer (MDC) Status’ form which includes a certification from a District Health Board, private hospital or GP; a protection order; a letter from a health practitioner; and documentation of impairment.

How do I apply?

Download the 111 Contact Code form below, complete it and send it to us. You can also give us a call to discuss any of the information we’ve provided and whether or not you might qualify.

Can I apply if a member of my household, but not me, is vulnerable?

Yes, you can apply on behalf of another person living with you if they rely on your Uber phone connection.

What happens if I need to make a complaint about the process?

If you have a complaint then please contact us first. If we haven’t resolved it within 5 days you can take your complaint to Telecommunications Dispute Resolution, free phone 0508 98 98 98, email contact@tdr.org.nz. This is a free and independent service.

You can also make a complaint to the Commerce Commission, free phone 0800 943 600, email contact@comcom.govt.nz, www.comcom.govt.nz/111code.

If you have any questions you can call us on 0508 BROADBAND or 09 4385472.