What's a reasonable amount of time to wait for a refund from an electricity retailer?

I had the final electricity meter reading for my previous property taken one month ago. A couple of weeks later I received the bill with a credit (due to the electricity rebate). I followed up to find out when I would receive the refund and the help desk person said they are processing a high volume of refunds and it could take a few weeks. This seems like just an excuse and the real problem is that they are having cashflow problems.
Brains Trust, how long should I wait before I start pressing the issue? I can’t help think that if it were the other way around and I owed them money, they would expect me to pay straight away.

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Check their web site as well as their FAQ - a search engine often finds it more quickly than you could. If not found check whether they reference refund times in the T&C for your account/plan as well as if a final credit is refunded automatically or has to be requested.

A baseline for expectations is some quote refunds take up to 14-16 business days to process plus a day or so in the banking system.

There are a few variables you need to ad for better advice such as which company and state you are in, and whether you formally requested the credit to be refunded? The latter is not always automatic and an account in credit can go on into perpetuity in case you ever rejoined them.

This extract is an example of how some operate, my bolding:

If you’ve got a credit amount from a finalised Origin account, you can apply to have this paid out to you.

If you have not applied (if it is with one that requires a request) they have not even started the process.


That seems reasonable, where it could be up to about 5 weeks.

It is standard for businesses run on 30 day creditor payment cycle (noting some have 60 or 90 days which means payment dates would be about week longer than these).

Payments in accounting systems are usually closed off about a week before payment to allow checking/reconciliation and ensure sufficient funds are in the payment account to cover payments being made.

30 days + 7 calendar days (5 business days) gives about 5 weeks. Depending on when payment is made, one needs to wait up to 5 weeks from when they advise a payment will be made.


Good point but I have requested the refund and provided my bank account details. They just seem to be deliberately dragging their feet.


As indicated above, you have to wait for their payment run, which reasonably could take up to 5 weeks if they have 30 day payment cycles.

Also, one has to remember that when the electricity retailer issues a bill to you, they give time for bill payment. Around 4 weeks is common. What you are asking is for the retailer to make a fast payment to you, when you are happy for the retailer to allow you a longer time to make a bill payment to them. This is an unreasonable expectation.

To do special, one off payment run like you wish them to do is unlikely to happen. The reason is cost. The last large organisation I worked for were reluctant to do special payment runs as a one off cost in the order of $100+. The cost being personnel time to process, gain approval and action a special or one off payment.

Just be patient.

Not my experience with refunds, including Origin and AGL.

Without knowing which retailer the OP is relying on,

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We have had a different experience. With Origin and closing our account with them, it took about 4 weeks to receive outstanding solar credits (a modest amount which was direct debited). At the time we also had a number of calls from them asking to transfer the account to our new address - which wasn’t possible as Origin isn’t a retailer where we now live. We also had issues with Origin about 6 years ago where solar credits took over 2 months to be paid (at the time we manually requested payments through their accounts portal). We were told at the time that there was a software upgrade where some payments were ‘lost’ in their system.

As indicated above, if you make a request on the day(s) before accounts close-off, credits might be quicker (could be a week or so for most businesses). If you just miss the close-off, then the payment would be just more than than standard run period. Businesses don’t often release their close-off dates (except EFY ones) so it isn’t possible to estimate when one is likely to receive a payment.

Closing an account and receiving a refund is different to monthly/quarterly credit payments (which can be soon after a tax invoice is issued and tie in with payment runs). When closing an account, the retailer needs to be certain that the account doesn’t have any potential outstanding amounts attributed to the account. It also requires a final bill read by the metering company and receipt/processing of these readings.

As a tax invoice has been issued, a guide for payment may be a similar time of the month solar credits were usually received. This assumes that the closing account runs line up with standard solar credit runs.

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I’m not one to speculate how any business arranges the sequencing of payments. I’ve worked for large Aussies who batched once or twice weekly. There are others who have moved closer to daily (over night) timing. Many service based businesses already have a routine of processing each business day. Ask anyone who has a direct debit payment from CC or account set up.

Our experience when leaving Origin last year was payment was in the bank 8 working days after the final day of their supply (smart meter). The 8 days included a day or two for us to submit the request including providing account details as we paid quarterly on invoice.

As an aside Medicare refunds typically appear in our nominated account within a day or two of paying for the service over the counter.

It’s not to say that customers can cause the process to take longer with any number of possible explanations.

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