Case study: Customer worried about receiving delayed high bill

*Pam moved into a rental property in January 2022 and opened an electricity account. She provided her Centrelink details so she could receive the Low Income Household Rebate. By April 2022, she hadn’t received a bill so she contacted her retailer who said it would follow up with its billing department. Pam didn’t hear anything further and by July 2022 she still hadn’t received a bill.

She was worried that the bill would be high, because of the longer than normal period and the lack of opportunity to review her usage or make sure she was getting the Rebate. We referred the complaint to the retailer at a higher level, however Pam came back to us as she still hadn't received a bill.

We found there was an incorrect non-residential tariff assigned to Pam’s property. Due to the mismatch, the account wasn’t correctly set up, so bills weren’t being issued. The retailer liaised with the network to correct the tariff to residential and established a residential account commencing 1 June 2022 with the customer’s informed consent.

The retailer issued billing for the period 1 June 2022 to 4 October 2022 with the Rebate correctly applied. The customer wasn’t required to pay for usage between January 2022 and June 2022. The retailer had already applied a total of $200 in customer service credits while dealing with the complaint directly, so the account was in credit by just over $50 after the bill was issued. Pam was happy with the outcome and aware she could contact the retailer to discuss a payment arrangement once she received her next bill. She was also advised she could access further assistance such as EAPA vouchers in the future.

*name changed to protect privacy.