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Published by:
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) (2009)
12 pages
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Falole Muliaga, a 45-year old Samoan woman and her son Ietitia were in their Auckland home when a man arrived from Mercury Energy to disconnect their power because of payment arrears. Mrs Muliaga had recently been released from hospital and used an oxygen machine which depended on electricity. Despite the evidence of the machine and some conversation with Mrs Muliaga and her son, the contractor cut the power off. Mrs Muliaga, who became increasingly distressed and had difficulty breathing, collapsed and died despite the efforts of her family and ambulance staff. This case examines Mercury Energy's immediate and subsequent responses to the event, and considers whether the company's voluntary guidelines for dealing with low-income consumers aligned with its requirement to show corporate social responsibility. This case has a number of teaching uses, including corporate social responsibility, regulatory techniques, and operational strategy.


Self-regulation; Client service; Privatisation; Customer service; Consumer; Deregulation; Electricity; Low-income earners; Voluntary or mandatory compliance; Disadvantaged population; Access to services; Corporate social responsibility (CSR); Regulatory techniques; Operational strategy; Ethnic diversity

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