Advanced meters were not the cause of high electricity bills for a group of customers whose meters were changed by their electricity retailer last year.
Several customers who received unusually high bills after advanced meters were installed on their properties complained to the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner (EGCC) Scheme.
It turned out the high bills were back bills for electricity used since the meters were installed.
“Our investigation showed there were delays in certifying the meters, which meant the meters could not be read. Once the meters were certified, the reading was for a longer period and led to higher bills than usual,” Commissioner Judi Jones said.
“From the customer’s point of view, the increase in bills followed the change in the meter,” Ms Jones said.
The issue is one of several identified in the EGCC Scheme’s Annual Report 11-12 as affecting groups of people. They include:
• The decision by several companies to stop accepting calls from mobile phones to their 0800 numbers
• Moving customers with debt to prepayment meters at short notice
• Door-to-door salespeople quoting low prices to prospective customers, but not honouring the quoted price
“Once we raise these issues with the companies they usually get sorted out quickly,” Ms Jones said.
Quick facts for 2011-12
42% of complaints about billing
95% of complainants are satisfied with the complaint handling process
92% of member companies consider the Scheme is meeting it purpose
28 final recommendations: 14 upheld, 11 not upheld
The EGCC Scheme is a service for complaints the parties have not been able to resolve themselves. It is free to complainants. If the parties cannot resolve the complaint after conciliation and mediation from the Scheme, they can ask the Commissioner to make a recommendation. If the complainant accepts the recommendation but the company rejects it, she can make a binding decision. The Commissioner made three binding decisions in the year, after two years in which none were issued.
See the full report online at http://www.egcomplaints.co.nz/docs/EGCC_AR_12.pdf
For more information, contact:
04 914 4525 or 0800 22 33 40