A shared water meter and leak causes concerns and high bills (May 2016)

Energy disconnection and water restriction, High bills
Case Number 2016/5245
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr D was dissatisfied about a higher than expected water bill and the way that water was billed to him based on the metering set up. Mr D believed that the set up of the water meters between his property and his neighbour’s property had contributed to his property receiving a high water bill. He said that his neighbour had more people living in the house than he did and therefore they used more water than he did. Mr D had raised his concerns about the most recent water bill and thought the water corporation was investigating. However, he then received an imminent water restriction warning notice. He contacted the water corporation and it arranged for the relevant meters to be tested and assisted with a leak test. It also explained the metering set up, how bills were calculated and confirmed the bill appeared to be correct based on its investigation.

Mr D was not satisfied with the water corporation’s response so he contacted EWOV on 7 March 2016 for assistance and an Assisted Referral was raised. However, this did not resolve the complaint and Mr D re-contacted EWOV on 11 March 2016 and the case was handled as an Investigation.

The Investigation

As part of EWOV’s Investigation, we reviewed the contact notes, billing history, meter test results and the metering set up. This all confirmed that the account had been billed correctly and that the meters were functioning within Australian standards. During the Investigation, Mr D found that there was a leak in a water pipe between his property and his neighbour’s property, which was the responsibility of the two property owners. As the leak occurred beyond the responsibility of the water corporation, and because Mr D was having trouble resolving the water leak issue directly with his neighbour, EWOV referred him to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal for assistance with this aspect of the matter.

The Outcome

In order to resolve the complaint, the water corporation waived the meter test fees as a goodwill gesture. It also confirmed that Mr and Mrs D’s credit rating had not been affected. The water corporation offered to install another check meter for Mr D at no cost, after the water leak issue had been rectified. This would allow Mr D’s consumption to be metered individually. It explained how billing would occur in the future with the new metering set up and accepted a $100 per fortnight payment arrangement to manage the account balance. Mr D was satisfied with the outcome and the case was closed.

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