A customer with a Smart Meter questions why he is unable to receive monthly bills

Delayed and catch-up bills
Case Number 2018/666
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr A was unhappy with his electricity company because it did not agree to issue monthly bills. Mr A had confirmed with his electricity distributor that he had a Smart Meter at his property which was read remotely on a daily basis. He wanted monthly billing based on actual meter reads to assist him in managing his finances. He contacted EWOV for assistance.

EWOV lodged an Assisted Referral. The electricity company advised that it could not change its billing system to bill monthly. Dissatisfied with this advice, Mr A contacted EWOV again and we commenced an Investigation.

The Investigation

EWOV requested Mr A’s billing and account history, customer contact notes and meter read data from the company. EWOV also discussed the case further with the company. The company advised that its billing system has a limitation that means that it can only issue electricity bills every three months, despite having access to daily usage data from the Smart Meter.

EWOV reviewed the Energy Retail Code in relation to billing frequency. EWOV noted that section 24 of the Energy Retail Code (in summary) requires bills to be issued at least once every three months, but it does not require bills to be issued more frequently, unless the customer and company agree to a more frequent billing cycle. On this basis, EWOV was satisfied that the company was fulfilling its requirements under the Energy Retail Code.  The company advised that as an alternative, it could place Mr A on a monthly payment plan but actual bills would still be issued quarterly.

The Outcome

Mr A elected to make monthly payments based on his average usage. The company applied a $100 credit to Mr A’s account in recognition of the inconvenience caused by the billing system limitation. It also advised that it would waive the exit fee if Mr A decided to transfer his account to a different company.  Mr A accepted this outcome and EWOV closed the case.  

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