Delayed and catch-up bills

Issue

Delayed and catch-up bills

Sometimes, your energy or water company won’t send you a bill for a while. If you haven’t been billed for all the energy or water you’ve used, the company can send you a catch-up bill later. This is also called a ‘backbill’.

Reasons for a catch-up bill

You can receive a catch-up bill because:

  • there was a problem with the company’s billing system and it couldn’t send you a bill for some time
  • your last bill was based on an estimate of how much you used, but the estimate was too low
  • one of your earlier bills had a mistake, or it was based on a meter reading that was wrong.

Rules about catch-up bills

There are rules about how far back your company can bill you. Water companies can backbill for up to 12 months. Usually, energy (including LPG) companies can only backbill you for nine months. However, if the backbilling is your fault – for example, because you wouldn’t let the company read your meter – then it can backbill you for longer. These limits only apply to residential customers, not to businesses.

Usually, energy and water companies have to give you an equal amount of time to pay a catch-up bill, up to one year. So, for example, if your catch-up bill covers six months of use, the company must give you six months to pay.

Read, download and print: simple fact sheets about delayed and catch-up bills

Fact Sheet 3

Estimated bills and meter access

Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Explains when and why bills are issued based on estimated meter readings
Fact Sheet 4

Backbilling

Delayed and catch-up bills
Information and rules about backbilling

How we've helped others: case studies about delayed and catch-up bills

Case study

An incorrect multiplier leads to a $7,000 catch-up bill (December 2016)

Trouble paying a bill, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes

Hot topic articles about delayed and catch-up bills

Hot topic

Translated fact sheets (June 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Debt collection and credit default listings, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills
We’ve been getting six of our existing factsheets translated into five more languages.
Hot topic

Backbilling: Causes and Solutions (January 2014)

Delayed and catch-up bills
If you have not received your usually scheduled energy or water bill your company may send you a backbill. A backbill will cover a longer period than your usual billing cycle and will likely be for a larger than usual amount.

Delayed and catch-up bills

If your company can’t read your gas or water meter, or if there is a problem with some of the data from your electricity Smart Meter [PDF, 333 KB] your company may estimate how much you have used. They can bill you according to this estimate.

If your bill is based on an estimate, this will be written on the bill. Once the meter is read, or once the correct smart meter data is available, your company will correct your billing. If the estimate was too low, you’ll receive a catch-up bill. If the estimate was too high, you’ll be refunded [PDF, 156 KB].