Key Points:

Mercury Energy has again been rapped over the knuckles by State Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard for its handling of the death of south Auckland woman Folole Muliaga.

The 44-year-old mother of four, who used an oxygen machine to help her breathe, died last month less than three hours after a contractor cut off the power to her family's Mangere home.

Mercury Energy ordered the power cut because of an overdue power bill of $168.40.

Mr Mallard was today grilled on the issue by Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee.

He said he was unhappy with the set of events leading up to Mrs Muliaga's death and even more unhappy with the power company's handling of the case immediately after.

Mercury is a subsidiary of state-owned power company Mighty River power.

He said the Government had a "no surprises" policy with crown departments and entities, but in this case it had been clearly broken.

The first he knew of the case was when he heard interviews about it on Radio New Zealand the day after it happened, despite Mercury being aware it was about to blow up as an issue.

He said Mercury had also failed to furnish its parent company, its board and ministers with good quality information as to what had actually occurred in the first two days after the death.

In addition, both Mercury and Mighty River Power had failed initially to show the required sensitivity after the death.

The companies initially spent time and energy trying to convince the media and the public they had done nothing wrong.

Last week the Government announced there would be new stricter guidelines for electricity retailers. They came with the "threat of regulation" if they were not followed.

- NZPA