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Power company defrauding me on bills. What can I do?

By TheBusDriver - 16 July 2013 19

I got my power bill a few days ago. It once again showed a stunning amount of dollars for a person living alone (the other half and I have considered moving in together but not quite yet). Over the past few years I have seen my bills go from under $100 in winter to over $300 while using less electricity.

I had become so concerned that I started to worry that someone was stealing my electricity. Then a couple of bills ago I went to check my meter readings, because I thought maybe they were being read wrong. I was surprised to note that the meter reading was way out of line with the number recorded on the bill. So I started recording the reading every week. For my last two bills, the meter reading on the bill could not have possibly fallen anywhere within the readings I recorded every Friday. (yes I was analy retentive about it but it is a lot of money we’re talking about here!)

So, now that I have evidence that my power company is defrauding me by making estimates, what can I do about it, and how can I make them pay for not only the money they defrauded me of, but also all the anxity, grief and freezing cold days I had to ensure because I was too worried about having to pay for the electricity? By my recordings, I have used about a third of the power I was being billed for. This could have been happening as far back as 2006.

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Power company defrauding me on bills. What can I do?
IrishPete 8:11 am 18 Jul 13

Monomyth said :

I live in a one bedroom apartment by myself and my electrcity bill is $400-$600 every quarter… I have no idea how to read a meter though. I’ve been on the website but I have Dyscalculia (ike dyslexia, but with numbers) and I simply can’t figure it out. It’s actually pretty depressing.

Take a photo of it with your smartphone and upload it to RiotACT or a similar website. There are lots of different types of meter, so it’s not easy advice to,give without seeing a photo.

IP

Monomyth 12:17 am 18 Jul 13

I live in a one bedroom apartment by myself and my electrcity bill is $400-$600 every quarter… I have no idea how to read a meter though. I’ve been on the website but I have Dyscalculia (ike dyslexia, but with numbers) and I simply can’t figure it out. It’s actually pretty depressing.

JC 5:44 pm 16 Jul 13

OP your grief and anxiety is self inflected so you should get nothing what so ever for that.

The moment you realised your bill was wrong you should have checked the bloody meter, I reckon any fair minded person would do that. Simple.

Now if checking the figures that you saw on the meter were over and but close to, what was on the bill you call ACTEW and get it sorted out. And whilst I have no doubt people will have horror stories, in reality if the issue is a miss read, or an estimate It is all very simple to rectify, no fuss and no anxiety.

Where it becomes hard is where the reading matches the bill, but the owner still reckons it is too high, but in your case that doesn’t seem to be the case.

A_Cog 12:59 pm 16 Jul 13

davo101 said :

Here’s an idea: why don’t you call them and ask?

Yep, I did this and they sorted it out and just sent me an amended bill. No drama.

But the lesson is: always check your meters yourself when you get a bill.

caf 12:36 pm 16 Jul 13

The meters measure a cumulative total, so the estimates don’t end up costing you anything – when they eventually do a real reading you’ll get a lower bill. In fact it’ll save you money if they overestimate – given that prices are rising, you’ve effectively prepaid for your future electricity use at the lower, older rate.

HiddenDragon 11:57 am 16 Jul 13

My water meter was misread last time, and I paid the small difference – so I assume I will have little to pay for actual usage next time. If I am charged for “estimated usage” this time, they’ll be hearing from me. If the problem is with the reading of a meter, rather than the operation of the meter (due to ant over or underlords etc.) resolution should surely be a quite straightforward matter.

ScienceRules 11:48 am 16 Jul 13

You could probably shelve the use of the word “defruading” until you have evidence of this. It looks like your meter may be wrongly calibrated or they are reading it incorrectly.

Certainly your first step would be to contact ACTEW and ask for help in getting the problem fixed. They are almost always helpful (although you may cop an attitude if you open your exchange by accusing them of fraud) and will probably re-credit your account with the overcharged amount.

No real problem for you if you handle it right. Good luck!

tuco 11:39 am 16 Jul 13

dungfungus said :

Dork said :

You can ask them to check how accurate it is. I believe you have to pay for it though and then when they check it, if it’s off by a certain percentage they will refund you the cost of the audit and what ever incorrect payments have been put through. I believe you will have to do this before taking further action.

A lot of imported meters had infestations of tiny, exotic ants which created false readings and power failures to HWS. Mine was replaced and compensation negotiated. Electricity costs have increased about 25% in the last 18 months.

I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords.

dungfungus 10:55 am 16 Jul 13

Dork said :

You can ask them to check how accurate it is. I believe you have to pay for it though and then when they check it, if it’s off by a certain percentage they will refund you the cost of the audit and what ever incorrect payments have been put through. I believe you will have to do this before taking further action.

A lot of imported meters had infestations of tiny, exotic ants which created false readings and power failures to HWS. Mine was replaced and compensation negotiated. Electricity costs have increased about 25% in the last 18 months.

pajs 10:52 am 16 Jul 13

I’ve been through this process with ActewAGL. I suggest you start with the call centre staff – I had several exchanges and found them genuinely willing to help, including to push investigations of past billing history along, and commit to times for calling me back to update.

I had a few things go wrong in my electricity billing, including with the Green Choice component, tariffs and bundle discounting. I worked my way back through the billing history, re-doing their calculations and cross-checking. It really helped to have a solid, written record of what had gone wrong, and the checking I’d done, when calling them and pushing to have things investigated.

It took a while, but I ended up with a quarter and a bit of no power bill to pay, given how overcharged I had been.

Best of luck.

davo101 10:29 am 16 Jul 13

Here’s an idea: why don’t you call them and ask?

Gerry-Built 10:09 am 16 Jul 13

The supplier has a requirement to have in-house dispute resolution – go to them first. Every other avenue is going to expect you have made that step, at least, anyhow. write up your evidence and present it to them. Details should be easy to locate on their website or your bills. Going through this step, they’ll be required to provide you with the info for the next step, should it be required.

Madam Cholet 9:57 am 16 Jul 13

I was always under the impression that they estimated for three quarters of the year and then did an actual reading for one quarter where everything would be equalled out.

Maybe not as it sounds like your bills for one person are a bit steep. My last winter bill was about $417 for a family of three including all the other electrical items such as cooking and water heating. We started using our heating late May due to the slightly warmer temps and some other measures that we have in our house that provide heat through the roof cavity. We only heat the room we are in at the time, although we do not hesitate to turn another heater on if we are at opposite ends of the house. I am also at home one day a week so the heater is on full blast then too if necessary. We don’t heat our house overnight.

Dork 9:42 am 16 Jul 13

You can ask them to check how accurate it is. I believe you have to pay for it though and then when they check it, if it’s off by a certain percentage they will refund you the cost of the audit and what ever incorrect payments have been put through. I believe you will have to do this before taking further action.

Holden Caulfield 9:12 am 16 Jul 13

I’ve heard of ACTEW making/creating estimates if access to the meter is restricted. Is that the case for you?

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