A customer seeks a refund after discovering a cross-metering issue (February 2018)

Billing mistakes
Case Number 2017/17530
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms B lived at a property with two residences at the same street number. In mid-2017, she discovered that since moving into her home and opening an electricity account in 2013, she had been incorrectly billed for the other property’s meter. When she contacted her retailer, it said that it would review her account and backbill her for usage on the correct meter.

Dissatisfied, she contacted EWOV in June 2017. Ms B believed that she shouldn’t be responsible for the backbill caused by a retailer or distributor error, and asked that her retailer resolve the case by waiving the backbill. We raised an Assisted Referral and a higher-level contact at the retailer contacted Ms B to tell her that it had asked the distributor to investigate the cross-metering issue.

After many requests for updates, in early October the retailer told Ms B that the cross-metering investigation had been completed and she had indeed been billed for usage on the wrong meter. The retailer advised that it had opened a new account for the correct meter, billing for usage from June 2017. It also said that it would refund Ms B the $4,130.70 she had paid on the incorrect meter.

When the refund wasn’t issued, Ms B asked for an update and was told that due to the high refund amount, it had to be approved by a manager. Ms B was then told that her retailer’s credit department had blocked the refund and wanted further information from Ms B. Frustrated with the continued delays, in November 2017, Ms B recontacted EWOV for assistance, and we opened an Investigation.

The Investigation

The retailer acknowledged that Ms B’s account of events to date was accurate and apologised for the inconvenience caused. It said that after its credit department had blocked the refund, the matter had been referred to the company’s specialist billing department for review. It also advised that although the cross-metering had been verified, it was still waiting to confirm with the distributor that an issue in the metering database had been corrected. Until this happened, the retailer said, it couldn’t issue the refund. 

The Outcome

The retailer processed the refund, depositing $4,130.70 into Ms B’s nominated account. Ms B was satisfied with this resolution and the case was closed.

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