If you haven’t been billed for all of the electricity or gas you used, your retailer can send a backbill, also known as a catch-up bill. A backbill includes charges for consumption not included on past bills or not previously billed.
There are a number of reasons why you might receive a backbill:
- your retailer may have had a problem with its billing process and was not able to issue you a bill on time
- your last bill, or last few bills, may have been estimated and the estimated usage was less than what you actually used
- there may have been an error in a previous bill
- your last bill may have been based on an incorrect meter reading
- there may have been a problem with the meter reading process.
Rules about backbilling
Retailers can send you a backbill to recover the amount undercharged for past energy used. However they:
- cannot bill you for usage any further than nine months prior to the date you were advised of the undercharge where it was the fault of the retailer – even if that means some of your usage won’t be billed
- cannot charge you interest on the amount being backbilled
- should explain why the amount is being backbilled and state the amount as a separate item on the bill must offer you time to pay the amount.
If you want to check a backbill, you can request the records from your retailer. They must provide you with the previous two years worth of billing data.
You must be offered equal time to pay the backbill, up to a total of 12 months. For example, if the backbill is for six months, the retailer must give you six months to pay.
Read more about backbilling rules in the National Energy Retail Rules (Rule 30).
When these rules don't apply
When the backbilling is not the retailer’s fault, the backbilling restrictions don’t apply. For example, if the meter can’t be accessed because of a locked gate or dog in the yard and you receive a ‘catch-up’ bill after providing access, there is no limit on the length of time the retailer can backbill you for.
How EWON can help
If you are having trouble paying your bill, contact your retailer. It can help arrange an affordable payment plan that allows you time to pay the backbill and stay on top of your ongoing usage.
If you're not happy with their response, you can lodge a complaint with us.