The Commerce Commission's 111 Contact Code is created to make sure that vulnerable consumers have reasonable access to an appropriate means of calling 111 emergency services in the event of a power cut.
The Code supports consumers who can no longer call 111 emergency services in a power cut because they have moved to new home phone technologies like a Fibre or Wireless Landline service. These technologies need a power supply in the home to work, meaning they will not work in a power cut, without an independent power source.
Under the Code, telecommunications service providers must tell new customers, and remind existing customers at least once a year, that their home phone may not work in a power cut. Providers must also tell their customers how they can protect themselves and where to go for further support.
Landline customers who don’t have an alternative way to contact 111 emergency services in a power cut can apply to their provider if they are at particular risk of needing to call emergency services for health, safety or disability reasons. If you, or someone in your household, qualifies, Spark will work with you to determine the right product for your particular needs, at no cost to you.
Spark will be contacting its customers from February 2021 about their options for calling 111 emergency services in a power cut. Providers have until August 2021 to make extra support available to vulnerable consumers.
Your phone line may not work in a power cut
If your landline service is provided over a Fibre or Wireless Landline service, then it may not work in a power cut. This is because these technologies rely on power in your home to operate. This means that if there is a power cut in your home you will not be able to make calls to 111 emergency services on your landline (unless you have a backup power source).
If your landline is provided by copper, this technology does not rely on power in the home and will continue to work in a power cut. So long as you have a compatible device (see below) you will still be able to make calls to 111 emergency services on your landline.
Your devices may not work in a power cut
Some equipment in your home needs power to work, regardless of whether you have a copper, Fibre, or Wireless Landline service connection. For example, cordless phones such as DECT phones usually need power to continue to work (even on a copper connection). You will not be able to use them to make 111 emergency services calls in a power cut. However, there are some phones/handsets, which when used on a copper connection, will continue to operate in a power cut, we recommend you check with your phone manufacturer if you are unsure.
Some medical alarms may also not work in a power cut – you should speak to the company that provided the device if you are unsure.
Make sure you have another way to access 111 emergency services in an emergency.
We recommend you have an alternative means of contacting 111 emergency services in the event of a power cut such as a charged mobile phone. Remember to keep the mobile phone charged, make sure everyone at your place has access to it and knows how to use it in an emergency.
If you, or someone in your household, relies on your landline service for medical, safety or disability reasons, you may be able to apply to be listed as a vulnerable consumer.
If you qualify, Spark will provide you with a means to call 111 emergency services in the event of a power cut. This will be provided at no cost.
You can read more about how to apply further down this page.
It’s important that every New Zealander feels safe. And under the Commerce Commission’s 111 Contact Code, it’s our responsibility to provide extra support to people who qualify for it, for health, disability or safety reasons. Whatever the situation, we’ll never refuse to provide you with a landline just because you need this extra support.
You can register with Spark as a vulnerable consumer if all of the following apply:
If you do not meet the criteria to be part of Spark’s Vulnerable Consumer Register and you or someone in your household has a medical, safety or disability condition, you can still apply to be placed on Spark’s Medical Dependency Register. This will ensure the medically dependant person is not unduly placed at risk when connecting, disconnecting, maintaining, or repairing faults with their telecommunications service, but you won't be provided with a device by Spark. To apply you'll need to download and complete a medical dependency form with your medical practitioner.
Download medical dependency form
Note: If you qualify as a vulnerable consumer then we will automatically apply the same considerations as we do for our Medical Dependant Register.
Alternatively, you could also provide us with details of a nominated person who we can contact to verify that you, or the person in your household, are at risk of requiring 111 emergency services. We recommend that before you make your application to us, you (or the person from your household) first contact the nominated person to discuss the application.
Examples of nominated persons you could use:
A nominated person must be someone who, by virtue of their occupation, is competent to give an opinion on whether you (or the person you are applying on behalf of) is at particular risk of requiring the 111 emergency service. For example:
You need to be a Spark account holder, or someone authorised on a Spark account, with an active landline service, to be able to apply. You can apply either for yourself or on behalf of someone who normally resides at the address where the Fibre or Wireless Landline service is provided.
If you are an account holder or an authority on the account, and the vulnerable user has no backup device (e.g., mobile phone or power back-up) to use in a power cut, you will need to download and complete the Vulnerable Consumer Application form and email it to email@example.com.
Alternatively, you could post the form to:
Spark New Zealand
P O Box 1473
If you (or the person in your household) are unable to email or send a printed form, please call us on 123. One of our team can assist with filling in the form on your behalf. Please ensure you have all relevant information with you when you call, including the nominated person’s contact details.
We have specific responsibilities under the Commerce Commission’s 111 Contact Code. If you don’t think we’ve done a great job, or met these responsibilities, please let us know by calling 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our team will then contact the account holder to discuss and attempt to resolve any issues.
You can check Spark's Complaints Policy which includes your rights as a Spark customer and ways to raise a complaint.
You can also raise a complaint to: