A residential customer received a higher than expected gas bill

Trouble paying a bill, High bills
Case Number 2018/1801
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mrs R received a bill from her gas retailer for just over $1,000. She was concerned that she was paying for her usage as well as her neighbours. She contacted her retailer and was told to check her meter and compare this with the billing. She compared her bill and meter and found the readings were in line. No further explanation of why the bill was unexpectedly high or what could have caused this was provided to her by her retailer. Frustrated with the lack of clarity, she contacted EWOV.

EWOV raised an Assisted Referral and requested a senior level staff member from the retailer contact Mrs R to resolve the complaint. Because she did not receive a response and returned to EWOV, an Investigation was opened.

The Investigation

EWOV’s investigation into the high bill aimed to determine whether Mrs R’s company had contributed to the cause of the high bill. It’s often only possible to identify what is not the cause. Mrs R was advised this means that a high bill Investigation is a process of eliminating the possible causes of a high bill.

EWOV was able to determine Mrs R had been billed accurately with the meter correctly recording usage. She had been billed for the right address, meter and on an appropriate tariff. A review of the meter data over 12 months suggested seasonal factors had contributed to the higher than expected bills as the usage increased and decreased in line with the winter period. The high bill received by Mrs R also included charges from a previous bill that had not been paid.

The Outcome

Mrs R agreed with the results of EWOV’s Investigation and understood that the winter period and a previous unpaid balance had contributed to the higher than expected bill. As the bill had placed her into short term financial difficulty, her retailer offered her a payment plan within her capacity to pay and assistance through its Hardship Team. She was advised the Hardship Team would review the payment arrangement on a quarterly basis and contact her if any changes needed to be made. Mrs R was satisfied with this result and the case was closed.

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Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, High bills
Hot topic

Hot Topic − Fair and reasonable (August 2018)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings, Outages, brownouts and power surges, High bills, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes