EQC keeps home owners in dark

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012

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The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has been inundated with thousands of official information requests by Cantabrians wanting information about their damaged properties.

The piece of information many people want to know is the cost of their repairs.

But EQC insisted on keeping property owners in the dark over this.

EQC called this the "costed scope of works" and refused to release this information to the property owner.

EQC covers damage up to $100,000 plus GST and has contracted Fletcher Building to manage the repairs.

"One of the common requests is for a costed scope of works but, unless a contractor has been engaged, we are unable to provide this because we need to maintain a competitive market and also to get accurate price signals from the market," EQC said.

EQC wanted property owners to ring instead to avoid having to send them their entire file.

It admitted it was failing to meet the legal obligation to release information within 20 working days. It was talking to the Ombudsman's office about this.

About 1500 requests flowed into EQC in the year to June, with 1200 of them coming in between February and June.

At the end of June EQC still had 378 to answer and 153 of those were overdue.

But from July this year EQC fielded "an even larger volume" it said.

EQC said often requesters were asking for their entire claims files when they just wanted a specific piece of information that could be provided within about 48 hours.

"We encourage customers to give us a call before they lodge an official information request and talk through their requirements so they can be sure the information requested can be provided and is actually what they want."

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