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Have you been overcharged on a gas or electricity bill recently?

Have you been overcharged on a gas or electricity bill recently? Was it due to an inaccurate estimated reading? How difficult was it to get the issue rectified?

I’m writing an article and want to hear your experiences.

:point_right: Comment below, send us a DM or email community@choice.com.au.

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Not electricity or gas, but have been with water charges. We had had experienced where water has been over-estimated due to an inaccurate estimate and corrected (negative usage) when an actual reading was taken.

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Because Queensland government still owns much of the electricity network they are able to give some monies back to Queenslanders. Each of the four times they have done this so far my electricity retailer, AGL, has kept the money in their bank account for months instead of passing the rebate on as a credit to me. ANd each time I have rung and emailed AGL to get them to pass the $50 on to me I have been given the runaround. Sometimes they use as an excuse that their 'computer system does not know how do it" so the credit sits on my monthly statements month afer month until I get through to the section of AGL where you complain about how your complaint is being handled …
$50 electricity bill credit in 2018, 2019, 2020 (twice), and 2021.
Now Queensland government has announced a fourth electricity asset ownership dividend to all residential customers who are separately charged for their electricity.

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My son was billed around $1200 a few years back, lives by himself in a flat. Normal bill $350 or so. I looked at the Origin Energy bill it involved a smart meter changeover with the outgoing consumption estimated. Origin unhelpful, I went the the Ombudsman and fixed it.
I use Bill Hero now.

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Overcharged seriously over a long period of time due to the company dropping my concession entitlements off my account without notifying me they had done it, and then when I finally realised and called up to get it fixed they reinstated only some but not all of the concessions, so it took me another year to get it properly fixed. When I finally (a few weeks ago) realised what had really happened and found someone from the company willing to put in the time to unwind the “mistaken” half -fix and put a proper fix in place and get me awarded all of the back-concessions I was owed I ended up with more than $600 credit in my account

Very glad it’s sorted, and super furious about the whole mess!

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This is another example why one should ALWAYS read ones utilities bills.
ALLWAYS !!!

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With all due respect that’s true, but it’s also victim blaming

It’s another example of why utility bills should be clearer and list ALL of the concessions you’re currently enrolled for, not just the ones that actually saved you money on this specific bill. I DO always read every utility bill but it’s so SO easy to miss because different concessions kick in at different times of the year and the bills only list the ones that actually changed the totals on that bill. So unless you memorise exactly which concessions are supposed to be listed on each bill it’s super easy to not realise that something is missing

The thing that made me twig was that I found a page on the power company site that listed all the concessions I was enrolled for and realised it was wrong. If the power bills had all listed that, I would have noticed years ago!

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Perhaps consumers need to read the documentation provided to them as well as the utilities need to up their game with accuracy, timeliness and communication?

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I am in a year and a half dispute with AGL. In September 2020 I installed solar panels and Solaredge inverter. I opted out of the smart meter wifi and expected manual reads. Click Energy onsold to AGL in Dec 2020. Long-story-short AGL have been using guesstimates (always in their favour) and after 12+ months of bungled manual data collection/transmission they swapped out my smart meter.
I have notified the Ombudsman and copy in all my correspondence.
I recently supplied a spread sheet showing usage based on their billing dates (days vary each month) I am unable to put in the difference of peak, off peak, shoulder so concentrated on monthly usage totals to compare their amounts billed to actual usage. The biggest discrepancy is during the first few months of usage (Click Energy had the original contract) and despite collecting final data before handover to AGL keeps conveniently ignoring my solar FIT and the overcharge of usage in their favour for September to December 2020 and start the billing at $300+ in their favour. This has gone on all this time and I have seen wild attempts by AGL to get me to pay their erroneous billing. Example at one point all the bills owed were reissued after a meter read but when I checked they had simply halved their guesstimate and figures were no closer to reality.
Could be a plot for a badly written drama.
My next step will be to get readings of my offpeak hot water service so I can work out of the tiny power I use how much is from the HWS lower rate compared to peak premium rate. My estimate is they owe me money so are deliberately dragging this out.
Despite my offer of spreadsheets and the summary spreadsheet so far I get asked for more breakdown of data - sigh. I can be a persistent/stubborn person so have not backed down.
I just need to see the power usage agreeing close enough to what my equipment is registering.
Heaven help anyone who does not have a clever inverter capturing usage and solar production.
PS 1 person household, 18 panels, 6.48W.

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How do you even work out you’ve been over charged? Is it just where there is a significant spike based on past billing? I have a fairly technical job but even I find reading utility bills somewhat perplexing. They mention different rates for different times without being clear on what those times are. For example I wanted to set my garden drippers to turn on ‘off peak’ but couldn’t easily work out when this was so eventually gave up, who has the time. Is there a reason they are so opaque.

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The only way is to read the meters oneself and check this against the usage nominated on the bill. At the time we received the water bill, I didn’t know/hadn’t found the meter (we have 2 and one used to be a mystery). I have since found the meter and plan to do checks around the time the meter is read/estimated.

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That would be in your plan documents and would not change through the life of the plan.

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Your smart meter will have the readings for consumption for each tariff time period. There will be a seperate register for each value which is cumulative from zero from the date the meter was installed.

AGL on their online App indicate approx next due dates for a read. Irrespective of that date taking a full set of readings from your smart meter manually should enable a close approximation of the proportion of consumption for each tariff. These can be used to pro-rata estimate correct billing. This may also be useful if AGL cannot provide the final readings for the period the previous meter was in use.

The following may or may not help with reading the meter. AGL or your area distributor may be able to assist in advising which tariff/consumption each register reports.

https://www.agl.com.au/help-support/energy/meters-and-reads/reads/read-your-own-meter

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Well, my charge rate has gone up
and the Prime Minister says electricity prices have gone down.
Now I have been offered a new “wonderful” deal, over a thousand words I think, that doesn’t say what it actually costs. We are playing mickey mouse here.

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I take it this is about retail rates not overcharging due to faulty meters or poor estimates.

Assuming for the moment that the PM is as honest as the day is long, there are several possible reasons for such a discrepancy.

  • What price we are talking about matters, was the PM talking about wholesale or retail? Did he talk about absolute figures or was it the fraction that electricity costs make up of living costs? Even if inflation is low and generation costs are going down there will come a time when rates rise following inflation.
  • Do the plans you are on and being offered have the same structure? Is one fixed and the other based on time of day? Did you get a new meter?
  • The when and where matter to, not all States’ prices are changing by the same amount at the same time. There are historical oddities that need to be worked out so the comparison of past and present are not always the same in each case.
  • New generation technology is reducing the wholesale price but distribution costs and retail margins may vary.
  • Your retailer may be the odd one out. Have you checked with others?

So in summary, if power generation prices are going down across the nation that does not mean your retail rate will necessarily go down immediately.

If you can tell us who your retailer is and what the proposed change is somebody may be able to make more specific comments.

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My electricity provider, Origin Energy guessed what the reading might be at the start of the contract and then guessed how much electricity might have been used thereafter. As such, they just made up a number for the amount actually owed.

I wasn’t at the property, couldn’t read the meter myself, but wasn’t using any electricity, so I knew the bill was very wrong. When I finally got Origin to read the meter, their representative tried to scare me into paying the original bill. I discovered later (when I got a friend to check it) that the reading was actually not only lower than their estimate for the bill, it was lower than the “estimated reading” that they put for the start of the contract. Let me just make that clear. The actual reading was less than the figure they claimed was the reading at the start of the contract, and they knew it, but the representative told me:

“I have checked and I can see that we had an actual reading coming through. Would you like me to adjust the bill accordingly to that reading? Just wanted to also let you know, that the actual reading we had this time is higher than the estimated reading.”

This was a shameful and unconscionable lie! The company later admitted that they had no idea what was owed, because they didn’t read the meter at the start of the contract and they didn’t read it before they sent the bill.

What’s more, when negotiating with Origin’s complaints department, the rep said he’d have to revise the figure for the initial reading at the start of the contract. He made up a number lower than the true current reading and told me that the amount owed would be about the same. That is until I pointed out that blind Freddy could see he’d just invented a new starting figure. Then he capitulated and said they wouldn’t charge me any usage fees.

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It appears the issues you are facing might not be directly the responsibility of Origin, and Origin might be trying to resolve a tricky situation where a special meter read wasn’t organised at the time of property settlement. I have addressed what should have happened and why the bill is the way it is here…

Please continue the discussion in under Best Energy Thread rather than continuing the discussion in two different topics.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Best electricity providers

Update to the AGL saga.
Finally AGL has replaced the faulty smart meter and now the kwh usage is closer to my own Solaredge tracking - small discrepancies are okay. They have agreed to pay for the undercharged solar and a credit is being issued. They are not backing down on the overestimated electricity usage so no credit there. Still RESULT! I have received an email “Therefore we can conclude that the difference is 2,729 kwh. Your solar feed in tariff is currently 16 cents which results in $436.64 credit which has not been applied to your invoices.” When they took over the Click account I had also been promised repayment of $150.00 deposit for the smart meter. This also got refunded. Note to others - I kept all my correspondence including when the smart meter was activated, created a spreadsheet with billing month discrepancies and notified the Ombudsman regularly with updates.

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I concentrated instead on total kwh usage and kwh generated by solar because the original smart meter data was questionable and ended up being replaced.

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