Thanks Brendan. I suppose everyone has just about had enough of the topic …i.e. apparent shifty doings at energy companies…
It seems that most people signed up here are in the consumer campaigners group, and when @BrendanMays mentioned that group, it notified all of us.
There’s likely a setting you can change in your profile to stop the notifications
Ok thanks for that. I’ll check the settings.
Hi @baysider, welcome to the forum.
Just wondering what state you live in as in Queensland the retailers, like AGL, don’t do the meter reading. It is a metering company which then forwards the reading to the retail companies which then generate the bill.
If you live in an area where a metering company reads the meter (AGL will know this or it may state on your bill), there are some things to consider/work through before deciding to change.These include:
- Is the metering comany carrying out the reading?
No, then changing to any other retailer won’t fix the estimated bill issue as they will also do estimates if they have no meter reading information. It may be worth enquiring why the meter reading is not carried out (e.g. you have a scary looking dog that prevents intruders, prickly bushes, front property gate is locked etc)…I know you have ruled some of these out but they should be able to say b y the service was not delivered. If there is a reason, you might be able to resolve it from your end (ask for the next approximate meter reading date and lock the dog up, arrange for a master key lock to be ihstalled so that the meter reader can access the property/meter).
Yes, then you should be asking AGL why they are not using this meter reading to generate your bill based on actual usage. If AGL can’t answer this or choses not to use the meter reading information, then make n it clear that their service delivery is unacceptable as you will be paying for the meter being read, while AGL is not using this data…in effect it is wasted money paid by you
- Is there a timing issue with the meter being read?
Yes. Say for example AGL generates bill based on a date rather than when receiving the meter reading. If the meter reading is not received by the bill generation date, then they are likely to use estimates. If this is the case, I would be asking for AGL to change the date of your billing cycle to better match the date they are likely to have the meter data. If they don’t do this, ask any other retailers before switching whether they use meter data receival as the trigger for bill generation, not a fixed billing date.
No. Then you need to ask why AGL is not using the data.
While one is usually required to pay for a meter to be read even if it is an estimate (and not read), if it is the result of AGL or the metering company (for example don’t read your meter as it is too hard/don’t know its location on the property even though it is accessible to them) actions, I would be writing to AGL requesting reimbursement of the meter reading charges. You have paid for the service which has not been continually delivered as a result of no fault of your own.
If the meter is read because of something you have done (dog, locked gate etc), then this needs to be resolved to allow the metering company to read the meter. Changing retailer won’t stop the estimates unless these issues are resolved. It will also not be possible to make a successful request for the metering charge reimbursement if the issue is in your control.
The supply address shouldn’t impact on whether an estimate or actual readings are taken. Check the meter number on the invoices to make sure that they are the same as this is what they should be using to generate the bill. AGL should (possibly is a must rather than should) also change the supply address to the right one so that there is no confusion on either your or their part. Have you formally made this request?
A possibility is that their database/metering company database has been corrupted somehow (which may be evident from the supply address changed). If the database for meter reading/bill has been corrupted then it may not be feasible use the metering data to generate actual usage bill. Again this is not yoyr issue and something AGL/metering company needs to resolve ASAP. If this is also the case, I would be requesting for metering charges to be reimbursed.
Also, state governments have an Energy Ombudsman which can help resolve issues with bills such as your. They are as follow:
If you decide to go down the Ombudsman path, it is important that you document all your interactions with AGL and the responses you have received (phone, email, AGL website messaging, snail mail/letter) as this information will need to be presented to the Ombudsman as part of your complaint and to also justify why the Ombudsman needs to get involved.
From what you have indicated, the service at AGL and by the meter reading company is unacceptable and they need to look into this as you have a right to be only billed for the gas you have used. Having one or at worst two estimate bills could be seen as okay by a reasonable person (which I think I am), but 3 or more is very much very poor service and needs to be rectified.
AGL also has a complaint resolution process. Its details can be found here:
The AGL complaints process should be followed before any complaint is lodged with the Ombudsman. It looks like you may have attempted Step 1 in this process, but it is also worth doing step 2 before Step 3 (which is the Ombudsman). If you have a account you can log into on the AGL website, you should be able to message them through the account pages. This will possibly prompt a response as they will know you are a verified customer.
Hope this helps and good luck.
Also let us know how you get on.
Thanks for all this. I’ll read it later today with much interest
Again, I appreciate the work that you’ve put into this for my benefit
(baysider) : Thanks again phbriggs2000. Some excellent suggestions. And, yes, I’ll get back to this forum… if / when I make any progress
Apologies. The formatting flipped out with my reply. But, still… hopefully, you can follow it
Yes, most meter reading is done quarterly. For those on month by month billing, the two intermediate months would be estimates based on past usage. The quarterly bill should be actuals. If estimating is done correctly, the quarterly bill should be similar to the monthly amounts.
Wonder what a lawyer would say about the change of address to the adjoining property even though you tried to have it corrected? If you don’t receive the bill because it goes next door are you responsible for paying it?
Jemena is a primary supplier not just a contractor. They would normally read meters quarterly.
All sounds grand in theory. However, the more I go back and look into this hornet’s nest, I’ve just confirmed that I had… wait for it… FIVE estimated gas bills … one after the other… from June to November. I’m starting to get the feeling that I should simply hand all of these accounts over to the Energy Ombudsman. AGL probably owes me close to a thousand dollars in refunds.
If they had done a meter reading every quarter, the quarter bill would have had adjustments (credit or debit amount) based on actual usage. It would have ‘reset’ the account for the next quarter. Having a number of estimated bill is concerning as the ones I have seen over estimate usage to minimise bill shock which may occur from underestimates. Five consecutive estimated bill increases the risk of overpayment.
If there has been an overpayment, one could ask AGL for interest on the money at rates such as that used by the ATO (or commercial rates since this would iofset their interest In debt) which may be a fair outcome. Would be interesting to see their response.
Is changing to a quaterly bill an option as this would remove the two monthly estimated bills between readings?
Read the first section atop page 2 to see how often the meter should be read! Not very tight, is it.
At the least you should be demanding a written/emailed explanation of why they state your meter cannot be read, but recognise that the system is based on quarters not months and you appear not to have ‘missed’ 2 quarters yet with 5 estimated monthly bills.
Regardless, when you have it sorted you might not get better meter reading services through another retailer, but maybe you can pay less for the privilege of being done over and get more competent customer services.
This thread might also be interesting for you.
Indeed. BBG. Thanks for that link. Exactly, my thoughts as I sit here today , gazing on the horror story that appears to be coming to the fore as I go back through my AGL accounts over the past twelve months. They’re all getting up to things and putting the boots in to consumers… apparently, because they’re being allowed to ! Not just the gas bill… but also the electricity… FOUR times bigger this year than it was at the same time last year. I’ve been totally preoccupied doing other things over recent months to go into it all. Without doubt THE worst thing that the Victorian Government has done in the past couple of decades … selling off the essential services.
… WITHOUT DOUBT … I meant to type …
Yes I used to be with AGL and gave them the opportunity to price match alternative suppliers when my contract was about to expire earlier this year. I wasted an hour and a quarter on the phone trying to get a better price while continually being put on and off hold. The operator was unable to give me a better deal so I told her I would go with the alternate service provider. I decided to go with Momentum after reviewing the government comparison website and Momentum organised the changeover and kept me up to date with what was going on via emails. I didn’t have to do anything. Shortly before the changeover AGL called me to ask why I was leaving and I told them I gave you an opportunity to price-match but you were either unable or unwilling to do so, and now I am moving on.
I have to say that AGL were courteous and respectful at all times at all times, but I did give them a blast for keeping me on hold for so long and achieving nothing.
I live in Central Victoria and have received my much-reduced first-bill from Momentum and paid it. So far so good but it still early days.
Thanks for that suggestion. .
My real concern with AGL is that… at the moment, they’re continuing to issue these massive estimated bills… and this is a company which can’t even get my 'supply address" correct on the account… despite having been told on two occasions.
The whole thing is a SU of monolithic proportions. Privatization has turned into a confusing nightmare of rip offs, deceit and utterly appalling… almost non existent …service
Anyway. Thanks, I’d better get back to the accounts … and decide where I go from here … in every sense of the expression …
phBriggs200 : But, the thing that’s currently concerning me is that I’ve had two bills over recent months that add up to something like $400… utterly impossible. The only gas appliances that I have are the central heating and the hot water. And, as mentioned in my original post, I haven’t used the central heating AT ALL this winter. Then she tells me that , they’re going to give me a refund / credit of only $100 !!.. and the next bill will also be an estimate !! Why ? The reader was here last week !!
BBG: I just read that information. Very interesting… or should I say … infuriating ! So, obviously, as I’ve already said, the energy companies have simply been green - lighted to stick the pointy - toed shoes into we, long - suffering, customers as much as they like. What a joke. Well, according to that info … if they are only going to “try” and “attempt” to give me a accurate bill whenever it suits them… I might “try” and “'attempt” to pay the said bills … whenever I feel like it. I’m staring to think that the Russians had the right idea back there in 1905 … or whenever it was.
Just following up on my previous posts.
I’m afraid the nightmare on AGL Street is continuing.
I had (what appeared to be) a productive conversation with one of their customer service people earlier this week via their online chat facility. As I’d pretty much lost confidence in their ability and / or willingness to honor agreements, I made a point of photographing each part of the conversation i.e. my questions and their answers. However, it seemed at the end of it, that we’d finally sorted things out as far as the gas account was concerned including the fact that I would now do my own readings. Fine. Problem solved. Let’s all move on.
I was told that there was a credit of approximately $100 owing due to previous over charging - the result of an estimate. I normally just get them to deduct any such amounts from my next bill. But , as I’ve got a couple of major expenses coming up next week, I asked if it would be possible on this occasion, for the money owing to be transferred to my bank account. And that was all I asked them to do - a one off transfer. In order to facilitate this, I had to provide my account details. Fair enough
Today, I get a text message advising me that all future monthly account payments will be automatically withdrawn from the bank account that I nominated via direct debit - starting with my current electricity bill which is due early next week !! Only problem is that the account in question is just a weekly cash account. There is normally no funds in it, except whatever shopping money I transfer to it before I go to the ATM. Furthermore, at no point of our discussion was any mention made by either myself or the AGL rep in regard to yours truly paying all future bills via direct debit nor have I made any such requests at any time via my online account.
Their Direct Debit Agreement includes the following statement :
(Quote) : " If you cancel your Direct Debit authority, we will no longer rely on this Direct Debit authority. If you are leaving AGL, a final account will be sent to you and the amount due will be debited from your nominated financial account ". However, as I say, they’ve gone ahead and done all this without any such request from me and , if I do leave (something that is VERY likely at the moment !!) they’ll be trying to get their bill paid from an account in which there is normally no money !!
I’ve come to the conclusion that AGL is, either (a), staffed almost entirely by complete and utter blithering idiots (b) totally disreputable or © both of the above.
Last year I got five estimated gas bills back to back. I’ve also had nine electricity bills that had to include credits due to incorrect charges. How the hell can so many electricity accounts be “wrong” when I’ve got a smart meter ? Wasn’t that the whole point of those damned things i.e. to provide completely accurate, remotely monitored readings 24/7 ? AGL are also continuing to include the wrong supply address on both of my accounts despite having been asked to correct the mistake on two occasions. Now, they’ve successfully master minded this latest screw up with the direct debit mess. They appear to be the energy industry’s answer to “'Dad’s Army” . It is, truly, utterly unbelievable