7 April 2017

Response by ActewAGL CEO Michael Costello

| Canfan
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The RiotACT ran an article on Horror stories of ActewAGL billing practices abound on 29 March 2017.

It received wide readership and reached approximately 30,000 people across social media.

The following statement has just been received from ActewAGL CEO Michael Costello.

Friday 07 April 2017

Statement by ActewAGL CEO Michael Costello

I acknowledge the increasing, widespread customer concern in relation to billing expressed by customers through the media and online, including through The RiotACT. I sincerely apologise to all our customers who’ve suffered the frustration and stress of having to deal with an incorrect gas bill or estimated bill from ActewAGL.

We have a problem, which has multiple complications, that is resulting in different and unexpected technical outcomes that are generating incorrect bills, particularly around estimated bills.

We take full responsibility for this, but by way of explanation, this is a complex issue stemming from an industry-wide system change that we were directed to make by the national regulator last year.

Gas meter data is collected by distribution companies and is fed into the ‘market’ so that all gas retailers can access the information to bill their customers.

It’s a convoluted process with many ‘touch points’ along the supply chain – from a customer’s premises to the meter reading business, to the distribution network, to the market operator, and then to gas retailers who process your gas bill.

The system change tightened the timeframe for recording and processing gas meter information, causing issues with meter information between all gas distributers and retailers in the ACT and NSW.

As CEO of this organisation, which has both distribution and retail arms, I am disappointed that we haven’t been able to recalibrate the entire process to consistently provide accurate billing. Since last year we have made some progress in reducing the number of estimated bills being generated, but much more work needs to be done.

From the Board right through to the staff who are trying to help every customer when they call ActewAGL – we are all feeling the frustration that this issue is causing and we’re working in crisis mode to get our billing right. This involves a dedicated team of internal and external experts checking systems and processes, end-to-end, through the billing pipeline.

In addition to responding to customers who contact us directly, we have proactively attempted to follow up with customers who’ve expressed concerns with their bill through the media. I also strongly encourage any customers who have issues with their gas billing to please contact our customer team on 1314 93.

I know this is causing some people a lot of anger and stress – quite rightly – and we will work with them individually to ensure they pay only for the gas they’ve consumed. I also want to assure customers that we will rectify this system problem as soon as possible.

Michael Costello

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Groundhog day? The new billing system introduced a few weeks ago seems to have managed to mess up my accounts, I wonder how others will fare. The ICON water bill email went to an old email address that had been changed 18 months ago, and the bill had an old (incorrect) account holder name. The ACTEW gas bill shows when I log in, but not the water bill (even if I use the ICON Pay Bill link in the email and log on), so I can’t pay it online. The electricity bill has vanished, no notification and doesn’t exist in the system at all either. Hopefully whoever has it will pay it 🙂 Sigh.

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