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Thanh* got an electricity bill more than double his normal bill. He didn’t know why.

Thanh got a high electricity bill for more than $1,000, much higher than his usual $484 bill. His electricity company told him the bill was correct and based on an actual meter read. Thanh was not happy with this response, so he called EWOV. He wanted his electricity company to investigate the high bill, test the meter and reduce the bill so it was in line with previous bills. Thanh wanted to transfer his account to a different electricity company right away.

After Thanh contacted EWOV, we raised a case with his electricity company. Thanh told us that he wasn’t happy with its response, so we escalated the matter to an Investigation. This means we review all relevant information and work with the customer and company to reach a fair and reasonable outcome. He said that while the company agreed to complete a meter test, it hadn’t told him anything further.

As part of the Investigation, we reviewed Thanh’s billing and the meter reads recorded at his property. Our independent review confirmed that all bills were based on actual meter reads and had not been estimated. The electricity company explained that a meter test was completed on 3 August. This showed the meter was running to Australian standards, which means it was correctly recording usage at the property. Thanh’s usage returned to normal and showed a seasonal pattern after the high bill. All of this information indicated that the bill was correct.

When we discussed these findings with Thanh we asked about any changes in usage during that period. We wanted to know if anyone had used any additional appliances or carried out extra work at the property. When probed, Thanh talked about his son’s recent use of a cooling appliance in his bedroom. He explained that the gas ducted heating made the room too hot. Thanh also said that his son stopped using this appliance after he got the high bill. Thanh acknowledged that it was likely this appliance caused the high bill.

To resolve the complaint, the electricity company offered to waive $62 from the arrears to bring the balance to $350. Thanh agreed to pay the remaining balance.

Thanh was satisfied with our review of his account. He was happy with the response provided and the case was closed.

Case number: 2018/16434

*Names have been changed

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