A family who were overcharged $16,900 for electricity over six years are warning others to check their power meters after being lumped with inaccurate charges.
Angela and Brett Beveridge were shocked to see their energy bill, usually between $600 and $700 a quarter, had jumped to $1,280 after moving to an acreage on the outskirts of Rockhampton.
A dodgy power meter was to blame for the increase but their provider, Ergon Energy, refused to offer assistance, the couple claimed.
Angela and Brett Beveridge (pictured) were overcharged thousands of dollars on their electricity bill due to a dodgy power meter
At first, the family began to turn off all their appliances when they were not using them, but the $5,000 per year bills kept rolling in – $3,000 above the national average.
Even when the couple moved out in 2015 after their home was partially destroyed by Cyclone Marcia, the exorbitant charges continued – receiving a $1,000 bill.
‘In that six month period we still got a very high power bill even though there was no power running to the house,’ Mr Beveridge told A Current Affair.
After realising the home was empty, Ergon Energy agreed to waive the bill, but did not take any steps to refund the couple for the previous years.
‘At no point did they offer to come out and investigate, replace the meter, do a meter test on it, every single time they just kept saying your bills were consistent,’ Mr Beveridge said.
‘I told them over and over again that something is wrong with the meter but they refused to have a look at it,’ Ms Beveridge said.
Eventually, the Beveridge’s had their old meter replaced without being notified.
A dodgy power meter (pictured, the replacement) was to blame for the sky high bills but, Ergon Energy, refused to offer assistance, the couple claimed
Their bills immediately halved from $500 to $250 per month, the couple said.
When they asked to have the old meter examined to prove it was faulty, Ergon Energy informed them it had been destroyed.
‘I think that’s disgusting and convenient that the meter was all of a sudden, disappeared or destroyed,’ Mr Beveridge said.
‘Ergon refused to listen to us, and I believe now they’re covering up the mistake that they’ve made,’ Ms Beveridge said.
The energy and water ombudsman investigating their complaint estimated the couple were overcharged $16,900 over six years, the couple claimed.
But because the ombudsman cannot investigate complaints dating back more than a year, Ergon Energy was only required to credit the Beveridge’s account $1,907 to cover the past 12 months.
The Beverage’s home was partially destroyed by Cyclone Marcia in 2015. Although no one was living in the house the family were still charged exorbitant bills
The ombudsman for Queensland’s energy and water sector warned faulty meters are ‘uncommon’, but do cause some problems – urging households to get in touch if a bill seems unusual.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Ergon Energy for comment, but the company’s executive general manager Ayesha Razzaq said in a statement they can not provide any specific details on the matter due to privacy laws.
‘We regret the situation that has resulted for this customer,’ he said.
‘Our priority is to always work with our customers to help them understand their energy use and find the best solutions to meet their energy needs.
‘Ergon Retail has been working with this customer to resolve their complaint and was advised by the Ombudsman Thursday 18 June 2020 that the customer had accepted the resolution.’