Energy bill shock - have you experienced it?

Hi everyone,

Have you ever received a big energy bill that has caught you by surprise? Known as bill shock, it can easily affect anyone, even if you’re cautious with your power use and energy provider.

We’d like to hear from you about bill shock, especially if:

  • You have experienced energy bill shock while working from home
  • You have solar and have avoided bill shock while working from home

Please feel free to send me a DM if you’d prefer.

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We did when the highest summer quarter bill of around $1,200 arrived at our previous home around a decade ago.

Our elder daughter and kids had stayed with us and managed to use 93kwh in a single day.

I immediately started reading the meter daily to keep tabs on our usage and replaced all incandescent light bulbs with CCFL bulbs.

When the piece-of-junk Rheem electric hot water system failed as it was designed to do, we replaced it with a Saxon heat pump and cut water heating usage by 80% and costs by 70%.

When the piece-of-junk Kleenmaid Amana fridge failed. we replaced it with an LG 2 door icemaker fridge wfhich was vastly more efficient.

It was still a very hot house with sisilation under the roofing iron but no ceiling batts and no rotary ventilators and on the leeward side of the hill that blocked the prevailing brezes and would still use around 22kwh daily when we were away on holidays in summer.

Our current home is very cool with double insulation, 2 rotary ventilators, all LED light bulbs, solar hot water and inverter air conditioners, and even with the swimming pool. it only used around 22kwh when we are home in summer with everything running.

Now that we have our solar and battery system, the only one that gets bill shock is Ergon as they now receive next to nothing.

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We have a rural shed on a separate meter and minimal power usage (charge a battery, run a bar fridge, spin the drill once a month). Ergon offered us $120pa to go to monthly direct debit/ emailed bill and gave us a $500 credit (some sort of dividend as the Qld Govt owns Ergon). This put us in credit to about 2 times our annual bill. Our monthly payment has reduced several times, and I guess we are on the lowest amount and still building credit. I guess they didn’t realise there were very low use business meters out there.

We get a rebate at the farm house (considered residential, not business) of about $200 with the same $120 for DD & email billing. We have replaced (as they died) inefficient appliances with Choice recommended and have reduced our usage. Again, our payment has reduced several times. We are now in credit for 2 years usage and building more credit every month. I just wished this happened 4 years ago when we were struggling for money.

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This is a story related by my tenants, so I cannot verify it 100%. They are a young family with Ergon getting power bills of $1,500+ per quarter. Queried it each bill and told that it was correct. I paid for the installation of a solar system and allowed them to keep the feed-in payment, expecting that at their current usage it would be nil to minimal. With some advice, they escalated it to the Ombudsman who contacted Ergon and an inspection of the house meter proved it to be malfunctioning. They are in a rural area far from an Ergon depot. I don’t know if they got a refund or how much they pay now.

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Home or not, I’ve been avoiding it for nearly 30 years, off-grid solar and wind!

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While we haven’t experienced this ourselves, in Tassie there have been reports of many bill shocks in the last billing cycle:

The meter owners seem to have estimated a lot of energy uses and based their bills on estimates…not factoring in a different season and also higher use from COVID-19 working from home increases. When a real meter reading was taken in the last bill cycle, the inadequacies of the previous estimates were quickly highlighted.

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