Impossibly high bill - and no options provided except "prove us wrong"

JeffreyT
Semiconductor
16 Replies 28913 Views

BACKGROUND

Let me set the scene. We are two people in a house (in our sixties) and our electricity bill has been around $1000 each quarter for over 12 months. Around 50-60 kWh average daily usage. Now this is really really high for two people, no dependants, in a house on our own. However we have lived with it, even though the little "house" picture shows us that we ae using far more electricity that others in the area.

 

THE LATEST BILL

To our horror, the latest bill is $2307.71. A jump of over 100%! 100kWH average daily usage.

 

TO BE CLEAR

We have not changed anything. We have not added a new appliance, a new washing machine, nothing. What has changed is that AGL installed a Smart Meter in March this year. That's the change. 

The little house picture shows that we are using the equivalent of 20 people's electricity compared to houses in the area! There are two of us.

 

MY CONVERSATIONS

I have now spoken to frontline support a AGL, someone in the resolution team, and a manger in the resolution team. Here is the story I am given:

  1. The reading are correct because AGL says they are
  2. If they check the meter and it is faulty then we have to pay for the fact they checked the meter
  3. The onus is on us to invalidate their readings
  4. The bill is correct....because the bill is correct...unless we can prove otherwise
  5. We have to turn everything off in the house and spend time messing about with appliances (where we know there has not been a change) to prove to AGL that their bill is faulty
  6. Otherwise, the bill stands because.... it is their bill!

HOWEVER

  1. AGL is providing a service to us, and we are entitled to pay fair value for a service rendered. This is an impossible bill, and we should not have to pay for a service incorrectly rendered
  2. If AGL installed a smart meter, it is their meter that is making the readings, their system that is doing the calculation, and their system that is generating the invoice. It is beyond belief that AGSL says "trust us because you should" when a bill is provided that cannot, just cannot be correct.
  3. We did not ask for a meter change. AGL put in a "smart meter" for, on the surface, to SAVE MONEY on the people who now do not need to read meters, and, on the surface, to institute some sort of scam where they can now charge double, with the response: it is what it is (heard that somewhere else?)

And the onus is totally thrown back on us to prove them wrong. 

This totally unacceptable.

 

I am going to write to AGL one more time, and then straight to the media and the ombudsman. I cannot be alone receiving this appalling behaviour, and it is time that companies like AGL start to realise that there are customers with rights, and the supplier's role is to serve the customer, not to issue bills based on calculations that the consumer has zero control over, and then put the onus back on the customer to prove them wrong.

 

Does this resonate with anyone else?

 

62 REPLIES 62
Rebby
Switched-on
1 Reply 3152 Views

I just went through challenging a bill projection.

Double what the monthly bill has been consistently for the last two years. What's worse is that we were 3 people less for this last month bill cycle.

The resolution team asked me to read the meter & admitted to over billing by 50%. 

Now...how many people get incorrect bills & the consumer pays it regardless?! 

 

How is a bill projection estimated if it's so far off the general estimate?!

NeilC
Powerhouse
0 Replies 3150 Views

@Rebby 

 

Hi,

I know that this is silly but having a smart meter is one solution to fixing this.

The other issue I have found out only in the last Month (I am travelling in a caravan) is that if you have an actual meter reader that many will not enter the property even if you have a friendly dog.

 

My friend in Tatura Vic, told me about this, the gas meter reader pulled up in front of the house, then without even getting out of the car, drove off.

 

My friend then told her daughter, who rang their gas retailer. The next day a guy rolled up, sang out over the fence, that he was there to check the meter and came in. Their dog rushed up, with wagging tail and greeted him, after a few pats, he went to the meter and checked it. Leaving shortly afterwards.

 

Two days later another guy arrived to read the meter (again?) shouted out that he was coming in and  unlatched the side gate and came in, he stood there, waited for the dog, the dog sniffed him then rolled over on her belly.

 

As he was patting her, he said he had been put back on this route as people were not getting their meters read.

 

Now, the previous meter reader was Indian, my friend said that when an Indian approaches and the dog comes up, they simply just leave, taking the parcel etc back to the truck.

 

Luckily, they have a smart meter on their Electricity Meter Box.

 

Now AGL and I think most retailers, sub contracts meter readings (this is normally your Electricity Supplier) and have to rely on this service to get your meter reads.

 

The same goes for Gas.

 

You will also find that if you are on Monthly Billing that your meter reading will be estimated from time to time due to the fact that the reader is not in your area.

Cheers Neil


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NeilC
Powerhouse
1 Reply 3138 Views

@Ngoddard 

 

The trouble is that you did not read the posts correctly. The posts were directed to @bhupesh8.

This is a problem when users don't address members correctly and as a result people get upset.

 

One of the things that occur when you do a post is there is a box that states "Email me when someone replies" and by default this is turned on. Hence you get all replies on this post.

 

If you turn it off you won't get any replies.

 

You will see that I have specifically sent this reply to you, you should know that everyone would have got your post as well unless they have turn off replies.

 

Hope this helps

Cheers Neil


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rdsz
Conductor
0 Replies 3128 Views

Switch to Amber i you don't have a huge solar ! Thats what I did ...i switched straightaway 

 

rdsz
Conductor
0 Replies 3128 Views

The fist thing I did was to Switch to Amber and i didn't look back!!

Karyn
Switched-on
1 Reply 3126 Views

I had exactly the same issue, our last quarterly electricity bill came to over $1K when there are 2 adults and a 5 year old in a 2 bedroom apartment. The past 2 years each quarter was no more than $450 a quarter. I was outraged and tried to dispute to outcome. AGL said our usage had doubled and the KW prices had also increased. AGL seems to have a lot of these over charges and we do need to go to the Ombudsman. 

NeilC
Powerhouse
0 Replies 3125 Views

@Karyn 

Hi,

If you do not have a smart meter I suggest you go and read your meter(s).

Once you have the readings you can then easily work out your usage since your last bill.

Then simply multiply your usage by the number of days since your last bill by the cost per kW.

If you have a smart meter then you can get YOUR APPROXIMATE USAGE by logging into the APP or your MY ACCOUNT PAGE.

 

Now I say approximate usage because if you have a plan that is not a single rate the you will see an approximate figure that is reasonably close.

 

Also look to see if you bill states Estimated then it is not a ACTUAL READING, you will need to see why if getting an estimated reading.

 

If your meter(s) is in a shared meter box then make sure you are reading the correct meter(s), these NMI numbers are listed on your bill.

Now looking at My Usage page I see the following.

 

Usage from dowloaded .ZIP file Total kWh used 128.463 and Total Solar generated 1365.959 kWh
Usage shown on My Account Web page Electricy from Grid 128.46 kWh Solar sold to grid 1365.96 kWh.

 

The figures stated on my usage page show Costs of Electricity Brought $64.20 and $139.69 (credit) for Electricity Sold giving a credit of $75.50.

 

Now I can show you the actual figures obtained from the download file from My Usage page.

Peak kWShoulderkWO/peak kWExport kW Gen kWSolRate1KwSolRate2Kw
78.5930.08249.7881365.9591560.10653.42712.54

 

Having that data I can show the costs so far.

Peak$Shoulder$Offpeak$Supply$SolRate1$SolRate2$
 $39.8074 $0.0276 $18.5261 $49.1620 $98.0136 $35.6268

 

This becomes:

Brought=$58.36
Exported =$133.64

Compared to the Electricity Brought $64.20 and $139.69 from the Web page but my figures are Actual costs at my current rates.

 

But in fact they are reasonable figures, not that in these figures AGL do not state the supply cost.

 

In my case this is listed above as being $49.16.

 

The so far my actual bill so far is ($58.36 + $49.16) - $133.64 or $26.12 credit, but that of course does not take into credit the cost of GST which is $10.75 so the actual amount is $15.37 credit.

 

Now this figure is for 47 days into my 90 day billing period.

 

If I do some mathematics I can tell you that my projected bill will be:

Last Date Entered : 20/11/2023
Current Bill AGLJan24
This is an Estimated Bill
Supply $            94.14
Paper Bill $                  -  
Peak $            76.23
Off Peak $            35.48
Shoulder $              0.05
Total $          205.90
GST $            20.59
Costs Total $          205.90
Solar Feed in-$         255.91
Total Charges+Credits-$            50.01
Debit / Advance $                  -  
Total Payable+GST-$            29.42
Payment Required Per Fortnight-$              4.58
Credit $          262.26
Cost Per Day-$              0.33
You are 52% into this bill

 

Now I believe that AGL are pretty close in the APP and my usage page.

 

But I trust in having a smart meter. Prior to the smart meter, I used to read my Meters regularly and using the figures obtain my my costs well prior to receiving my 90 day bill.

 

Hope you can see some reasoning in this.

Cheers Neil


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Tanlou
Switched-on
0 Replies 2665 Views

Exact same thing has happened to me a bill 2 876 dollars after they put in a digital metre that I didn’t want.

gregans28
Conductor
0 Replies 705 Views

I have the same problem. One Winter electricity bill in 2023 was $1700.00 then same winter season $1300.00 (approx). Recently I changed to variable with off-peak use available. But it’s overnight 10pm to 7am, the weekends, 24 hours, are off-peak. However from 01/07/24 the weekend times change so it’s 10pm to 7am -7 days/week. Why?   And what is ‘Demand Rate’? Apparently AGL can use the highest rate of electricity used in a period/month and charge the entire period on that tariff-regardless of off-peak times. Even if the high rate was only for 30 minutes. Also one cannot have off-peak unless they have a smart meter which is causing even bigger bills. It’s all so confusing! I’m disabled on a Centrelink pension, over 70 and had a head injury 4 months ago so I’m finding it impossible to understand all the different modes they charge for electricity. Client meter reads are ignored and an estimate meter read is imposed regardless. Where are all the meter readers now? In one call to AGL about reading my meter the call centre worker stated that:

’If the pointer is between two numbers, note down the HIGHER number’.

Even though this is quoted on the AGL website: 

‘If the pointer is between two numbers, note down the lower number.’

i am beyond coping with this and rapidly becoming desperate. Looking at alternative energy suppliers.

good luck to everyone!

gregans28
Conductor
0 Replies 705 Views

Hi,

My usage is approx $26.00 to $28.00 a day. Only 3 people in house and minimal use of electricity, washer/dryer after 10pm. What is going to happen to us? Living in a car looks more appropriate now.