A customer contacts EWOV about delayed billing for her electricity account (November 2012)

Delayed and catch-up bills
Case Number 2012/37990
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Miss W was unhappy with her electricity retailer because she had not received a bill since January 2012. She contacted the retailer but felt that she did not receive a satisfactory reason for the delay.

The Investigation

In August 2012, Miss W contacted EWOV and an Assisted Referral was raised with the retailer’s higher level contact. The retailer initially contacted her as required, but she had not heard back from it since and she was unable to contact the case manager. Miss W recontacted EWOV and as the Assisted Referral remained unresolved after 21 days, an Investigation was raised.

During the Investigation, EWOV found that due to a system issue, the retailer was unable to bill Miss W’s account. EWOV liaised further with the retailer so that Miss W would get her bill in line with the backbilling provisions of the Energy Retail Code. She was also offered options for a payment plan or an extension once she knew how much the outstanding balance was.

The Outcome

In October 2012, the retailer apologised for the inconvenience caused and applied a credit of $200 to Miss W’s account for the delay in billing. The retailer confirmed that it would issue Miss W’s bills in line with the Energy Retail Code, which meant that – if a retailer does not charge a customer due to a failure of its billing system it may recover no more than nine months usage prior to the date the customer was notified of the undercharging.  

EWOV informed Miss W that the retailer must allow her equal time to pay. For example, if she was backbilled six months, she must get six months to pay the bill.  EWOV also provided Miss W with an information sheet on backbilling which can be found on our website.

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