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.
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:
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?
Hi @JeffreyT , it's difficult to address issues like this within the community because we don't have access to your account or the history of this case. You've stated that you intend to speak to the Resolutions team again, and that's the course of action I would advise. There is also the Complaints form on this page if you'd prefer to go down that route.
There are a whole range of factors that can contribute to unexpectedly high bills, and without some investigation and troubleshooting it can be difficult to say what factor or combination of factors is to blame in this case. A faulty smart meter is rare, but it is one possible cause, so having that looked into may be worthwhile. As far as I'm aware, you would only be responsible for the cost of a technician if the meter is found to not be faulty, so it makes sense for you to rule out other possibilities first.
Thanks for the response.
I have already written to the dispute resolution team as a last resort. The to the ombudsman to help resolve this.
The issue I have is exactly the issue you raise - it is up to ME to prove the bill wrong, even though I am the customer The only assistance AGL offers, as a service provider, is to "check the meter" and a bunch of web links. I don't find that satisfactory at all i.e. the bill is always right, unless someone can prove it wrong.
For the amount of money paid in the lifetime of a customer (say, 60 years at $4000/year - $240,000) you would expect a process where AGL would be able to provide some support e.g. send someone out (yes, at AGL:'s cost) to assess what could be going wrong, either at our end or at AGL's end.
The concept of "you are the customer, however we will charge what we like unless you can prove we are wrong" is from the dark ages. Most other companies have discarded this approach, as they realise that positive word of mouth and a focus on the customer leads to huge growth for the business.
@JeffreyT , I hear you and I absolutely agree that positive word of mouth is invaluable. Customer satisfaction matters a great deal to everyone I know at AGL.
I think it's not so much that the onus is on the customer to "prove the bill is wrong" but rather that the customer is usually in a much better position than AGL to assess the most common causes of a high bill within their own household - for example, are there new or faulty appliances, changed usage patterns or environment, estimated bills, and so on.
It's a challenge to address, because bill shock is a common issue and in the vast majority of cases the cause of the increased usage is something more common than a faulty meter. If a technician was sent to check for meter faults as the initial step in every report of a high bill, this would result in everyone paying a great deal more on every bill, even if only a portion of the cost was passed along!
None of this is to say AGL doesn't make mistakes, of course we can and do get things wrong sometimes and will always try to remedy those situations.
I hope this is resolved to your satisfaction soon. Please do drop back again and let us know when you discover what the cause was - you never know what might be helpful to other people having the same problems. One customer I recall who found their usage mysteriously high eventually discovered after almost a year that their neighbour's electrician had wired a new air-conditioner onto their meter rather than their neighbour's!
Go out and read your meter, note down all of the readings. (You could take photos)
24 Hours later do the same readings.
Convert the readings into consumption and then review it.
If you still think it is incorrect then you can ask that your meter be checked (think that this is about a $750 fee) if the check proves the meter is correct then you pay.
A good example of this is when people install an illegal solar system and instead of you reducing your bill the meter charges you for output from the system.
A good electrician should be able to examine your system in about an hour and diagnose your issues.
If you have a remote meter you could download your CSV file and if you like send me a private message and I will send you an email address to send the file to me then analyse your data for free.
If you don't want to do this you can ask AGL to send you a NEM format file and if you understand spread sheets you can look up how to read the data and do it yourself.
Does you bill state that it is a read or a estimate?
In the pages here is story that one user was being charged for the next door neighbours flat.
Once again, if the readings are true the AGL will charge you for electricity going through the meter.
Its now up to you to proceed as you wish.