18 December 2020
You've just received an unexpectedly high electricity or gas bill. A higher bill may be possible given many of us have been at home more than usual recently, but you think the bill is actually wrong. So what can you do? Read our tips and suggestions.
- Check if your bill is an estimated bill. Energy laws require retailers to include on the bill whether it is an estimated read or not – you might see 'estimated reading' or 'E' next to the usage charge.
- If you have an estimated bill, you can submit your own meter reading to your retailer – this is called a 'self-read' and you should contact them to discuss this. You can take a photo of your meter and provide that to your retailer. If you have solar or a smart meter you may not be able to submit a self-read though. But if your self-read is clear and shows that the bill is wrong, your retailer must adjust the bill.
- Ask your retailer why your bill is higher than expected. They must review the bill at your request, and this must be in line with their complaints policy. Make sure you ask them what the timeframes are for resolving complaints under their policy.
- If you think your meter may be faulty, you can ask to have it checked but your retailer can charge you a fee if it turns out that your meter isn't faulty. Ask them about what you may be charged in this case.
- If you've paid your bill and it is later found to be wrong, there are rules around how your retailer must return any money you are owed.
- If you're unhappy with your retailer's response about your wrong bill, contact the energy ombudsman service in your state and territory. This is a free and independent service.
- If you have a current complaint about a bill with your ombudsman or retailer, you have extra protections, including that your retailer cannot disconnect you while your account is in dispute.