Customers billed for the same period by previous and new retailer

There are different retailer models including where some customers pay monthly bills, instalments or purchase a set amount of kilowatt hours at a particular price. Or, they may have just paid bills issued by the previous retailer. Customers have reported receiving bills at a past date and are confused as they think they have paid twice for the same energy. They also face an additional administrative burden in trying to recover funds paid to the previous retailer and dispute a bill with their new retailer.

We have previously reported instances where a previous retailer has gone into administration, leaving the customer to deal with administrators and unlikely to receive a refund.

Case study In June 2022, a customer transferred his electricity account. He then received a bill from the new retailer for the period 22 March 2022 to 21 June 2022 for $510.

He contacted the new retailer on several occasions to dispute the bill - as he was billed for a period before he agreed to transfer the account to them, and he considered that he had been billed by his previous retailer for the same period. He was not told that the account would be transferred at a previous meter reading.

The retailer advised him that the bill was correct and payable, and he should contact the previous retailer for a refund for any period where the billing had overlapped.

In August 2022, he received a disconnection warning, so he contacted the retailer again and agreed to pay the service availability charge from the date he agreed to transfer his account.

The customer contacted EWON for further assistance and initially the complaint was referred to the retailer for resolution at a higher level, however the customer returned to EWON for further assistance as he was unable to resolve the issue. He had also received contact from a collections agency regarding an overdue account from his previous retailer.

 EWON contacted both retailers to request information and confirmed that he had not been billed twice for the same period. The new retailer also made an offer of resolution to apply a credit of $250 to the account, which represents 50% of the first bill. The customer accepted this offer and that he would contact the new retailer within two weeks to discuss payment of his account.