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Electricity Bill Errors In Australia

 

We decided to launch this page after discovering an alarming increase in the number of electricity billing errors. Easily discovered whilst performing our home electricity reduction services. Other pages focused on helping you sort out the electricity bill are:

 

 

Electricity Billing Errors Are Not New!

Whilst the increase in electricity billing errors we are finding during our home electricity audits is quite alarming, these kind of errors have been around since the creation of Aussie Home Energy. In fact it was these errors and the householder's confusion electricity billing that was one reason for the start of the business.

A couple of easy to remember metering and billing errors discovered mid 2010 were:

  • No Off-Peak Electricity Recorded - This home uses electric hot water. The error occurred when the client transferred over from one provider to another. Out of the two providers, one did not transfer the hot water usage to an off-peak tariff. Thus the client was awarded a large credit due to the over charging of the hot water usage, having being charged at the on-peak rate
  • No Peak Electricity Recorded - A couple of elderly clients, who have only ever paid for off-peak hot water and a service charge. Being in their home for just over 18 months, they were not aware of the electricity bills makeup. There was simply, no on-peak usage recorded on the bill. Nor noted by the electricity provider via the meter reader. A new meter had been installed prior to purchase of the home

 

Read the original AUSSIE HOME ELECTRICITY BILLING ERRORS posting on our blog or use our SEARCH TOOL to find more listed in our sites.

At the time we did not realise the systemic problem that is so well rooted in the Australian electricity billing  system. When bills are standardised in format, regulation is applied, then and only then will the mathematical errors and householders confusion and stress hopefully be reduced.

 

 

Alarming Increase In Number Of Rising Electricity Billing Errors

Home Power Audit Service

We seem to be discovering errors more frequently, within the Australian electricity billing system. The increase in errors seems to be matching the growing number of complaints to Energy Ombudsmen Australia wide.

We are a small home electricity reduction business finding errors easily and it is for this reason we have decided to act. To publicize these errors, with the aim to create an awareness of the issue and importantly raise an alarm! We feel the amount of errors going unchecked and unnoticed by the householder, must be great as we surely are only touching on the tip of an iceberg!

We are discovering errors in basic maths, that in the first place should not have been programmed into the billing software without double checking. But importantly you would think these issues are easy to discover and if so fixed, by the large electricity retailers. So why have some of the errors discovered, remained over multiple bills, if not years in some cases?

Are the electricity retailers ignoring the simple fact they should be at least checking a random sample of generated electricity bills?

 

 

Why Are These Electricity Billing Errors Occurring?

If any electricity retailer was really interested in client welfare and client retention, they surely would be doing their job better and sampling a few of the bills generated by their own computerized billing system? This random check sample making sure their electricity billing is correct and thus reducing phone calls to their call centre. Further more to reduce the growing number of complaints to the Energy Ombudsman.

We have been told on a few occasions, by the electricity retailer's help desk staff, that NO-ONE checks the electricity bills as far as they know. Meaning it is up to the end user, yes you Mr. Householder!

So if no-one is checking the electricity bills, neither the retailer in the first instance or the householder in the second, it is not suprising these errors go unnoticed!

Of course we find them easily, when we perform our home electricity reduction services.

We understand you the householder are simply to busy to spend valuable time checking the electricity bill. After all is it not the responsibility of the electricity retailer to make 100% sure the bills are correct? Well you may think that is the case, but they seem not to be doing so! So we would recommend you check your electricity bill asap!

 

 

What Does The Australian Energy Regulator [AER] Say?

Well according to their website in March 2016 the following is stated:

Here's what you should check to make sure your energy bill is accurate:

  • Your name, address and the date on the bill
  • How much you need to pay (including any credits or money owed from previous bills) and when you need to pay it by
  • Your meter number. The number on your bill should match the number on your meter
  • The billing period: the period in which you used the energy you're being charged for
  • The meter readings that have been used to calculate the amount of energy you've used during the billing period (measured in kilowatt hours or kWh for electricity and megajoules or MJ for gas). If your bill is based on an estimate of how much you've used, this should be clearly marked on the bill
  • The amount your retailer is charging you for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity or megajoule (MJ) of gas
  • The supply charge for the billing period (this is a fixed charge for supplying your property with energy, and is not based on how much energy you use)
  • Any other fees or charges being applied
  • Any amount credited to your account as part of a rebate, concession, etc.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, you energy retailer's customer service number should be included on your bill. Your bill should also show your customer account or reference number, which you can quote when you contact your energy retailer

End of quote.

All very important if not obvious points everyone should be checking and not overlooking or assuming  correctness, whilst attempting to pay the bill as fast as possible to get the Pay On Time Discount!

What the Aussie householder really NEEDS TO SEE is CORRECT BILLING!

And unfortunately the AER does not seem to have this regulated or a system in place to endorse correct billing in Australia. Otherwise this page would not be here.....

 

 

Rubbish Electricity Bills No One Can Understand

Imagine having had years of electricity billing, where you had a least a clear idea of the kWh used and costs for three peak meters and the one hot water off-peak meter. Then you switch providers for a better deal and await the new bill to see your savings etc.

After being used to four lines of usage and costs per bill, you then receive the following bill!

 

Rubbish Electricity Bill Australia : 24 Steps For Giving Your Retailer The Flick
Click image to enlarge

 

Clearly something needs to change here with the way Australian electricity bills are formulated / structured. The electricity retailer in question has not been able to supply a reason for what is shown on the bill they provided, even after a month! They simply had no idea of their own billing!

Now this is a big worry, no wonder Australian householders are getting to the point where they are starting to believe pigs can fly! Especially over those electricity retailer's electricity billing systems that clearly are a joke!

 

Flying Pig Over Battersea Electricity Power Station

 

 

The Outcome Of Bad Electricity Billing

The rush to settle the account is often at the forefront for many busy householders, as one can often get a 12% fine for paying late. Thus you are being forced to pay the bill quickly, with little regard to an accuracy check. And yes the electricity retailer knows this.

So at the end of the day the Australian electricity retailers have created a swath of electricity customers whom:

 

  • File electricity bills in a rush
  • Do not understand complex bills
  • Do not check the bills
  • Get fined for paying late

 

The outcome of the present electricity billing structure in Australia is this, there is a BIG lack of understanding by the householder, with little care to finding a fix by the electricity retailer. Thus the scenario replays time and time again!

 

Electricity Bill Analysis Service

Click HERE for the answer

 

 

Electricity Bill Errors Over Two Years Old!

It is hard to think this could happen, but some of the electricity billing errors discovered during our home electricity reduction investigation have been in the client's electricity bills, for more than a couple of years. It simply shows the electricity retailers are not concerned when it comes to correct billing! The electricity bill is a major player in many Aussie householder's costs and you would think someone would care! It appears not!

Is now not the time we got this correct?

Let us hope an increased awareness of these constant errors in electricity billing, helps create a regulated standardized electricity bill layout for all.

It is not good enough for large or small Electricity Retailers to spit out bad electricity billing that can:

 

  • Be full of simple mathematical errors
  • Be difficult to understand due to lack of information or to complex information
  • Lack basic details such as the number of days billed and total kWh used for the period

 

 

Are You Doubting The Correctness Of Your Electricity Billing?

Most of our home electricity audit clients are usually doubting their electricity billing in some way or another. They report usage as often staying the same, but the costs have sky rocketed. They simply want answers fast!

If you want answers to why your electricity billing seems amiss, then we offer you two home electricity reduction services.

 

IN-HOME ELECTRICITY AUDIT   :   ELECTRICITY METERING & BILLING CHECK

 

 

A Sample Of Electricity Billing Errors In Australia

Systemic or not this is the question we ask you to think hard about. Try and decide whether you think the electricity billing errors shown on this page, prove an error to be systemic or bill specific!

We would love to see examples of your electricity billing errors. For your examples to be included on this page, we will need a clear copy of your electricity bill. All personal information / metering id and account details, will be deleted from the electricity bill before inclusion on this page, for reasons of Privacy.

We are simply creating awareness that electricity bills are in fact happening. If you are not checking your electricity bill you need to NOW!

 

 

Electricity Bill Error #1A

Period : Dec 2012 - Mar 2013

Number Of Days : 94

Retailer : Energy Australia

Problem : The top line of the each TOU period, in this case peak power is mathematically incorrect.

Energy Australia Electricity Bill Error - Daily kWh Error Peak Power

Error : Total kWh used for TOU peak period is incorrectly calculated to a daily kWh amount. The correct total kWh should be 440.108 / 94 = 4.682

NOT the value of total daily kWh @ 7.09852 as shown the bill! See the bill HERE

 

Electricity Bill Error #1B

Period : Jun 2014 - Sep 2014

Number Of Days : 90 [Split 18/72]

Retailer : Energy Australia

Problem : This bill of September 2014 still shows the same error. The top line of the each TOU period, in this case peak power is still mathematically incorrect.

Energy Australia Electricity Bill Error - Daily kWh Error Peak Power 

Error : Total kWh used for TOU peak period is incorrectly calculated to a daily total amount. The correct total kWh should be 50.273 / 18 = 2.7929

NOT the value of 4.18942 as shown on the bill!

 

Energy Australia Electricity Bill Error - Daily kWh Error Peak Power 

Error : The bill displays the same error again in the 72 day period. The correct total kWh should be 430.886 / 72 = 5.9845

NOT the value of 8.28627 as shown on the bill! See the bill HERE

 

Comments: Whilst this did error did not affect the costings of the electricity bill, it displays incorrect maths and is confusing. This error is ONLY ever on the peak power. The mathematical error is not shown in the shoulder or off-peak, which are correct. The error occurs throughout all of the analysed clients bills, up to the most recent of September 2014. We have not sited bills prior to Dec 2012, but would guess the error was there prior to the sample analysed.

Could this be a systemic electricity billing error, occurring across many of electricity retailer Energy Australia's client base? We would say maybe yes, otherwise why only this client, whom has a common style of electricity bill format.

Outcome : The client changed to a retailer with better QOS and tariffs.

 

 

Electricity Bill Error #2

Period : 12/04/2014 - 10/07/2014 [Split 10/80]

Number Of Days : 90

Retailer : Click Energy

Problem : Two information boxes with two different 'Average daily usage' figures.

 

Click Energy Electricity Bill Error - Daily Average kWh Error

Click Energy Electricity Bill Error - Daily Average kWh Error

 

Error : Looking at the billing period and visiting a calendar, the number of days is in fact 90 [Split 10/80]. The total kWh used when summed is 5117.58 kWh. The correct daily average kWh should be 5117.58 / 90 = 56.862 kWh. This is correctly shown in the lower box, with average daily consumption @ 56.9 kWh.

So what is the 46.1 kWh in the box with the graphs?

 

Comments : We can come close to the figure of 46.1 kWh only if we take off the Controlled Load 2 [total 1181.76] thus we arrive at 3935.82 / 90 = 43.73 kWh with no controlled load 2. We are not sure why this would be displayed as a figure of value anyway. We are just trying to work out the error!

This Click Energy electricity bill does not importantly show:

  • The number of days billed for, which make electricity bill analysis difficult, one has to calculate this from a calendar
  • The total kWh used for the period of the bill, making the checking of daily average kWh difficult as one has to sum all of the values above

 

Importantly the billing is mathematically incorrect as shown and importantly missing vital information. Thus making it confusing for any end user and time consuming to analyse!

Outcome : Client found a better deal and switched retailer, after having no joy with a real explanation for this error.

Further Investigation : This same issue has been common with all of our Click clients since the initial finding. So in July 2015 we asked Click to investigate. Their response does not seem to still answer, as to why such a systemic error is still current at this time. Maths is maths at the end of the day and the total number of kWhs divided by the number of days billed should always give the same result! So why add confusion Click?

Retailer Response : Quoted from email "However, I can confirm that the top left figure for the average daily usage is not an accurate reflection for the usage of the bill period in reference. This figure is dependent on a number of factors depending on the customers meter set-up, if they have solar and their billing history with Click which varies per customer. Our customers will just need to refer to the box on the bottom left of the invoice for the accurate average daily usage figure for the billing period. This figure is calculated by simply taking the total usage of the bill period and dividing this by the number of days in the bill period. I can confirm that the billing of our accounts is audited regularly both systematically and manually by person."

 

 

Electricity Bill Error #3

Covau Incorrect Electricity Bill

Period : 26/07/2016 - 25/10/2016

Number Of Days : 92

Retailer : Covau

Problem : Incorrect electricity billing where the total power used for 92 days [806kW] results in Usage Graphs and statistics ALL at error.

806 / 92 = 8.76kW per day

Error : 1 - Peak  / Off Peak incorrectly switched in graph.  2 - Both the averaged daily usage and same time last year are incorrect.  3 - Peak and off-peak costs are incorrect.  4 - Average daily usage incorrect. Why include the usage statistics when all are misleading?

 

Comments : The above usage errors have been the same for more than a year now. The retailer has been notified of the errors since October 2015 via email and telephone conversation.

In July 2016 the retailer mentioned Pay On Time Discounts POTD for usage and service charges. Though so far we have not seen the service charge POTD correctly itemised on the bill. Having to do the bill maths ourselves before notifying the retailer of the issue. Not included here as to many errors.

Outcome : We await the next bill after once again detailing the errors to the retailer. January 2017 finally has good graphs and data for areas 2,3 and 4. It took a while!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Spot The Errors Answer?

 

Electricity Bill Analysis Service

Answer : Amazingly each top line of each tariff period
is mathematically incorrect!

           

          The correct values should be as follows:

          Off-Peak   280.57 kWh   9.6280 c/kWh   $27.01

          NOT the value on the electricity bill of $78.24

          Peak   198.64 kWh   36.7690 c/kWh   $73.03

          NOT the value on the electricity bill of $151.79!

          Shoulder   538.12 kWh   17.1810 c/kWh   $92.45

          NOT the value on the electricity bill of $228.48!

 

The incorrect values on the bill add up to $458.51 with the correct value being $192.49

 

Now this is a pre GST saving of $266.02

 

    The client with this electricity bill error was amazed by:

  • How such an error being allowed to happen in the first place
  • How the error was not picked up by the retailer
  • The difficulty and lack of empathy shown by the electricity retailer, when the client tried to explain the error. According to the retailer that kind of error was impossible, though another call centre operator had already pointed out, NO BILL CHECKING occurred
  • The electricity retailer denying this of billing error could be systemic in any way
  • A refund credit and not a bank account refund without a lot of protesting
  • A $50 petrol voucher being offered for their trouble
  • No real acceptance by the retailer that the error was major!

 

At the end of the day, our client was happy we found the error during the ELECTRICITY AUDIT SERVICE and further more alerted them to a much better retail electricity offer elsewhere!

 

 

Articles On Electricity Billing Errors

We have been onto this case of electricity billing errors for sometime now. Here are some of our articles on our blog on the subject:

 

 

Your Comments / Feedback

We would love to hear what you have to say about this page, the billing errors, or simply anything of value you want to share with our readers regarding the subject of electricity billing errors in Australia.

We will be adding a comment stream soon to this page. In the meantime please with the subject Electricity Billing Errors.

 

 

Get Your Electricity Billing Errors On This Page

CONTACT US in the first case where we will discuss the error and then ask you to forward the required documentation.

 

 

Useful Sites

Product Review Australia is a great place to read more about service offerings from some of our best and worst Australian Electricity Retailers, go HERE.

 

 

Aussie Home Energy - Helping You Discover & Rectify Electricity Billing Errors

 

Office : 02 8064 3992      Mobile : 0428 449 422

 

 

 

 

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