Are utility invoices infallible?
Genesis Now has encountered many incorrect invoices for electricity and natural gas which have been sent to our clients. These errors and overcharges seem very prevalent, and involve a wide range of electricity and gas retailers.
In just the energy invoices for Genesis Now’s own electricity and natural gas we have found in the last year:
- threatening letters from Origin Energy claiming that we were stealing their electricity, and threatening to cut supply. The letters had our name and address, but the completely wrong National Meter Identifier. We had two separate electricity accounts with Origin Energy (which were always paid on time), and got two separate threatening letters per month, for six months, each time with two new, wrong NMIs.
- ‘actual’ gas meter reading by Origin Energy which bears no resemblance to the front of the meter (see the independent photo of the gas meter and the invoice including the claimed ‘actual reading’ below) , resulting in a claimed gas consumption of 56,483 MJ. The actual consumption was zero, as we had left the building, consumption was minimal, and the previous estimated reading was overestimated. As this was the final meter read and invoice for this account, if we had paid the invoice, we have no way of getting our money back when the meter is read (really read) in the future. We wonder how many occurrences there are of false, final ‘actual’ meter reads resulting in customers paying for energy they did not use.
- estimated electricity meter ‘readings’ in our new premises (two Momentum Energy electricity accounts) resulting in overstating our electricity consumption on our two supplies, as shown below. As these were our first accounts in this building, and with this supplier, it is difficult to understand what the ‘estimated’ readings were based on. Our invoiced and actual electricity consumption figures on the two accounts for our first invoices on these accounts were:
- NMI64073135220 Invoiced electricity use: 3019 kWh. Actual electricity use 505 kWh. i.e. overcharged by 498%.
- NMI64073135238 Invoiced electricity use: 1473 kWh. Actual electricity use 21 kWh. i.e. overcharged by a factor of 70, or 7000%.
We have also identified overcharges incurred by our clients, which have pursued, and achieved refunds of up to $175,000. Issues include:
- incorrect meters (e.g. meters programmed with K factor which does not match the current transformers used), – resolved after much effort, resulting in $100,000 being refunded.
- excessive maximum demand charges (ratcheted up without the customer having exceeded their previous ‘contract’ maximum demand charge) – $175,000 refunded.
- overlapping invoices for the same supply point,
- being invoiced by two retailers, for the same NMI and period,
- the Network provider billing the customer for electricity they have exported to the grid.
If you suspect that your organisation’s electricity or natural gas invoice is wrong, you might be right. Contact us and we can look into it, with you.