Customer believed their water bill was too high to be right

High bills
Case Number 2018/10645
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms W contacted EWOV, dissatisfied with the charges applied by her water company. She had received a bill, which she believed was high because of estimated meter reads. Ms W told EWOV that her usual billing since 2016 only ever shows 18-26 kilolitres (kl). However, the most recent bill recorded 479 kl of usage. She advised that there are no leaks at the property and no appliances such as a pool or spa that could use this amount of water. She contacted the water company with her concerns, and it applied a 50% reduction to the bill. Ms W advised that this still left $200 in dispute. Dissatisfied with the water company’s response Ms W called EWOV. In order to resolve the matter, Ms W wanted the water company to investigate the extra usage charges and reduce the bill by a further $200.

The Investigation

When Ms W contacted EWOV an Assisted Referral was lodged with the water company, requiring a higher-level representative to contact her directly. We escalated the matter to an Investigation after Ms W recontacted EWOV dissatisfied again with the water company’s response.

As part of the Investigation, EWOV reviewed the billing Ms W received, meter reads recorded at her property and contact between her and the water company. This confirmed that all bills had been based on actual meter reads and had not been estimated. It also showed that prior to lodging a complaint with EWOV the water company had completed a reticulation test in January 2018, which confirmed that the meter was running to Australian standards and applied an “Unexplained High Usage” rebate of $458.38 in February 2018. Based on the meter reading taken after the high bill, Ms W’s usage had returned to normal with 20 kl recorded. All of this information indicated that the bill was correct.

In order to help Ms W repay the arrears of $200 it accepted a payment plan of $10 per fortnight, with all future bills paid on the due date. A direct contact at the water company was provided in case Ms W had any issues moving forward.

The Outcome

Ms W was satisfied that a full review of the account had occurred, with the response provided to her complaint and the case was closed.

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