Ask RiotACT: Canberrans, is my electricity bill normal?

brenn 10 September 2019 25
Ask RiotACT

Hi Rioters, relatively new to Canberra and hoping for some perspective on my electricity bill.

Moved into an old house in O’Connor and received our first bill. It was $500 for one month! I’ve never even had a bill that high for a full quarter so I was shocked! Generally, I’d see a bill of about $300-$400 per quarter sharing with four people. Now we have three people, two of whom work really long hours so are barely home.

I called ActewAGL and they said it looked like it was electric heating because historically it is always really high at this time of year – getting up to $1,400 per quarter some years!! He told me this was the lowest it’s ever been.

I would blame it on heating but I just don’t think that can completely be the case. We have been really conscious of running the heater – expecting it to be expensive – so have mostly been using our fireplace, an electric blanket when on the couch and hot water bottles in bed. We almost never use our dryer and all our lights are LED bulbs. Since the first bill we’ve completely stopped running the heater and when I estimate the bill online it looks like it’s going to be about the same as last month.

Also, our heater is gas. Our gas bill was much more reasonable and the guy from Actew told me it was a very small amount used. Would it use a lot of electricity to power it? Our hot water is electric but would three people having showers once a day make your bill this high?

Has anyone had an experience like this? Is this normal? Should I be concerned or just accept it and cry once a quarter when the bill comes in?

Thanks in advance for any advice 🙂



What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
25 Responses to Ask RiotACT: Canberrans, is my electricity bill normal?
Ren Webb Ren Webb 7:25 pm 12 Sep 19

Quite normal for winter but doesn’t have to be contact actsmart for free advice, workshops, and energy assessments

Lindsay Adams Lindsay Adams 8:23 am 12 Sep 19

Sounds like you may have a leftover account added on

Racheal Green Racheal Green 11:06 pm 11 Sep 19

Suggest you query if it was an actual or estimate reading and then if an estimate, take photos and ask them to revise the bill. In addition check what type of meter you have. Meters really do only have a short life span. 7 years on average so this may also be an issue

brenn brenn 11:04 pm 11 Sep 19

Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions! Genuinely really appreciate it! ?

Definitely not from the previous tenant as that was paid up but will look into whether they have properly read the meter.

For anyone interested, they told me I can rent a kit from ACT libraries that helps you measure how much energy your appliances are using. Will report back if anything interesting comes of it ?

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 8:24 pm 11 Sep 19

I had a cold, home about six years ago and I think my last winter bill for the all electric house was about $600. Fibro walls with no insulation, single glazed windows with thin curtains, no insulation under the floor and only thin insulation in the ceiling. $500 a month does seem high to me, but I guess since when I had that house electricity prices have gone up some. In my new house (again all electric), my electricity use in the August bill was $99.07.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:32 pm 11 Sep 19

Yep three long hot showers a day would easily run your bill that high!

Karen Baldwin Karen Baldwin 7:13 pm 11 Sep 19

I had an older home, my winter bills were around $1,700/quarter for gas (with ducted gas heating) and around $1,300/quarter for electricity

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:48 pm 11 Sep 19

The 70-plus “plans” on this page might be a target for an ACT Government which has recently been patting itself on the back over its crusade on petrol prices –

Helen Morgan Helen Morgan 6:01 pm 11 Sep 19

Doesn't sound right to me

Aldith Graves Aldith Graves 5:18 pm 11 Sep 19

Did they read the meter when you moved? Is the account in your name & from the dates you moved in ?

Lesley Fitzpatrick Lesley Fitzpatrick 8:52 am 11 Sep 19

That probably reflects the previous owners use. AGL usually don’t bother to read the meter. They just estimate based on past usage. It’s a rort

Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:34 am 11 Sep 19

“I have been checking my meter everyday to see the numbers and it looks like it’s faulty.”

I had a similar problem 10 years ago. The meter was removed for testing and it was found to be full of very small, exotic ants. It was replaced and adjustments to the billing made.

Arety Kr Arety Kr 7:21 am 11 Sep 19

I got a 1200 bill 2 weeks ago when I normally pay 400 for the same period. It's not even possible to use that much with the only appliances I have. I have been checking my meter everyday to see the numbers and it looks like it's faulty.

    Racheal Green Racheal Green 11:03 pm 11 Sep 19

    Arety Kr speak to ACTEW your meter may need replacing. They only have a 7 year shelf life

Jill Lee Bee Jill Lee Bee 6:17 am 11 Sep 19

Theres nothing normal about AGL

Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:13 am 11 Sep 19

What kind of heating does it have and how often do you use it?

Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 5:14 am 11 Sep 19

Could be that it was an estimate based on previous tenant's usage, or that a reading wasn't done when they left.

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 5:05 am 11 Sep 19

Sounds normal to me with an older home in the ACT

Geoff Rey Geoff Rey 12:05 am 11 Sep 19

Our elec bill for the last quarter was $800. We have gas hot water. Gas cooking and gas heating. So I have no clue how the bill could possibly be so high. Getting ripped off like usual I suspect

    Jill Lee Bee Jill Lee Bee 6:18 am 11 Sep 19

    Geoff Rey that seems too high. They charge to check the meter though if you query the bill, its totally unfair

    Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 7:14 am 11 Sep 19

    Geoff Rey yikes.

Kerry Jackson Kerry Jackson 10:58 pm 10 Sep 19

Make them read the meter again.

    David Murn David Murn 3:48 am 11 Sep 19

    Or read the meter yourself? Probably a good idea, before calling them and making yourself look like an idiot.

Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 10:49 pm 10 Sep 19

I’d ring up and query it

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site