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Ergon Energy - why monopolies are a bad thing

We moved from Brisbane to Hervey Bay in March of 2016 and had to go with Ergon as this is the only supplier of Electricity in The Wide Bay.

In October we decided to install Solar as our fist Bill was astronomical over $500 for the two of us which included a Pensioners discount. We received a good quote from a local electrician and our 22 Panels were installed at the end of November. We received instruction from our electrician that the system should not be turned on until inspection by Ergon and installation of the new metre to feed our excess back into the grid.

Well here we are January 9th and Ergon have advised me that a crew will be out to inspect on the 17th January nearly six weeks after the installation. The reason for such a delay." We are very busy in your area" So we are looking forward to the 17th and a charge of $400 to install the new metre. I’ve lost that much feeding what we have generated back into the grid.

In Brisbane it was all completed the same day!!

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We are also in an Ergon monopoly area, and for all but one of our electricity accounts, the ‘extra’ charges - Service fee, Meter Charge, Minimum Payment - are higher than the actual usage. Eg 98%, 82% of the bill is ‘fees’. We are not big users. There are “service fees” on each Tariff (residential, HWS, etc).

Checked the www.energymadeeasy.gov.au site for other offers. The only one is a reseller who is dearer. Our bills have been going up. The State Govt moved a big slice of State debt to Ergon, now they have to recoup it somehow while the State Govt crow about having reduced debt.

The cost for us of setting up solar outweighs the benefits we could accrue as the feed-in tariff is about 4 cents a kwh and we would still have to maintain an Ergon connection with all the fees.

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If you get rid of the HWS meter and put it all on residential, you could save part of the fixed charges. Adding a solar hot water system (if you have a HW tank in good working order, you really only need an evacuated tube manifold and pump, and no extra tank) would almost eliminate electric element heating. PV solar might then be worthwhile.
PV should cover a large percentage of loads such as air conditioning.

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Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your story regarding the poor service (and high charges) you have experienced from Ergon. Unfortunately in the deregulated markets of VIC, Southern QLD, NSW and SA there are also shortcomings and indications that electricity retailers are price gouging. This recent report from CME indicates that the regulated retailer in the ACT (also a monopoly player) actually has lower retailer charges than charged in the unregulated markets of NSW, VIC, SA and Southern QLD. Comparisons with the UK also indicate widespread price gouging by Australian energy retailers. So deregulation may not be the only factor in play here. We hope that by regularly drawing attention to these shortcomings we can apply pressure that will lead to improvements. Thanks for sharing your story, I hope your solar system is up and running soon. Maybe pairing solar systems with batteries may be the only way the electricity retailers will really sit up and take notice as more people go off the grid.

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Or you could always spend a little more on a battery system, go off grid and disconnect!!!

See how they like them apples!!!

They are going to bring themselves down - just as Telstra did with their landlines - pretty soon!!

Ergon is in the news today. @Fred123 occasionally references them. A very arrogant quote to compliment their apparently arrogant business practices.

Ergon Energy’s retail executive general manager said: “We regret the situation that has resulted for this customer… I can however advise that Ergon retail has been working with this customer to resolve their complaint… sometimes we might not get it right in the eyes of our customers, but we always strive to learn from that so we can deliver a better experience.”

It seems like Ergon is expert at fobbing off customers, not so much ‘working with them’.

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Same grubs, different day.

I have known persons who worked for Ergon and their predecessors who would steal anything from their workplace that wasn’t bolted down, and in some cases, even if it was bolted down, they would steal the bolts too.