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47 posts

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# 171623 25-Apr-2015 16:23
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Over the last couple weeks at work (I work for a power company) there's been a bit of discussion around when we should be contacting customers about large bills. This all came about due to a question from our call centre, asking why we didn't contact two specific customers that had received very large bills.

There's been all kinds of ideas thrown around at work while we look at impact, etc of any changes.

So I figured I'd post a simple survey here to see what people consider a large bill. For the below strawpoll, assume the bill is correct and is for your property

http://www.strawpoll.me/4200637   

Feel free to add specifics in a post


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  # 1291353 25-Apr-2015 16:29
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Voted

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  # 1291358 25-Apr-2015 16:33
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... assume the bill is correct and is for your property.

By "your property" do you mean home or business?  - it makes a hell of a difference undecided




Sideface


 
 
 
 




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  # 1291359 25-Apr-2015 16:35
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Sideface:
... assume the bill is correct and is for your property.

By "your property" do you mean home or business?  - it makes a hell of a difference undecided


Home at this stage.

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  # 1291362 25-Apr-2015 16:48
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Deamo: Over the last couple weeks at work (I work for a power company) there's been a bit of discussion around when we should be contacting customers about large bills.


As a shareholder in power companies, my preference is never.

I voted for a set percentage, but I'd only want such contact if I set the percentage myself. It should also be weighted for seasonal variation, and consider other factors. It is likely you need to consider both typical usage for the user, over a period of years, along with variations in average use due to external factors (e.g. weather). In other words, the debate is likely to go on a while longer, because there is no simple answer.

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  # 1291378 25-Apr-2015 17:02
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None of the options suits me.

I would want the option to be advised if my bill is more than a percentage above for the same month a year ago.

I would expect my power usage to follow a similar profile to a previous year.

My winter and summer monthly usage varies by a 2 to 1 factor.








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  # 1291381 25-Apr-2015 17:09
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My Meridian power bill shows my monthly power bills in a bar graph format, compared with the same month for the previous year.

I would want to be notified if my bill was 25% higher than for the same month in the previous year.

This shouldn't be too technically difficult, assuming that the customer has been with the same provider for more than 12 months.




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  # 1291405 25-Apr-2015 17:56
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How about "certain percent more than the same month last year"  - obviously this assumes you've been a customer for more than a year, if less than a year then I would prefer a fallback to percent more than average.  

(lol, just scrolled up as I finished writing this to see Sideface suggested almost exactly the same thing! And even copied half my name too :p EDIT: then I scrolled up a little further and see the same suggestion again from Gordy7. Guess I was way too slow.)

 
 
 
 




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  # 1291420 25-Apr-2015 18:18
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SirHumphreyAppleby:
Deamo: Over the last couple weeks at work (I work for a power company) there's been a bit of discussion around when we should be contacting customers about large bills.


As a shareholder in power companies, my preference is never.

I voted for a set percentage, but I'd only want such contact if I set the percentage myself. It should also be weighted for seasonal variation, and consider other factors. It is likely you need to consider both typical usage for the user, over a period of years, along with variations in average use due to external factors (e.g. weather). In other words, the debate is likely to go on a while longer, because there is no simple answer.


Indeed, that's partly of why nothing has changed so far.

Gordy7: I would want the option to be advised if my bill is more than a percentage above for the same month a year ago.


Agreed, silly of me to overlook that one.

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  # 1291432 25-Apr-2015 18:28
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As an ISP we also consider ourselves a utility and will simply contact our customers if we think they should be on a different plan to get a better deal.

With my personal power consumption at home, we have a heat pump in winter and summer running so I can pretty much assume the same amount of power usage all-year-round... it may be only about 20% more in winter. So if my power bill was more than $400 a month, I would want to know. Its usually about $300-$350.
That would allow me to find out if the hot water tank is leaking, or something is wrong.




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  # 1291433 25-Apr-2015 18:29

First you need to decide how many false positives you want / can tolerate. But surely by the time a bill has been calculated it is too late.

Also any of those options will cause problems for me. As my power usage varies with the number of flatmates. And with when I use my TIG welder / plasma cutter.





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  # 1291442 25-Apr-2015 18:51
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I voted for a % above the average bill which is the majority vote. That would be work OK but a percentage above last years bill for the same period would be more accurate and sensitive for unusual events.

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  # 1291473 25-Apr-2015 19:34
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Voted.

I probably would not want to know unless it exceeded a specific figure higher than the highest bill we have experienced, so about $750/month.





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  # 1291529 25-Apr-2015 21:49
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You should have seen my power bill when I was crypto mining with a garage full of Radeons!

Garage door hot to the touch on a cold winter's morning.


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  # 1291536 25-Apr-2015 22:08
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Geektastic: Voted.

I probably would not want to know unless it exceeded a specific figure higher than the highest bill we have experienced, so about $750/month.


Good Lord! How many square feet of hydroponics are you growing for $750 a month>

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  # 1291581 26-Apr-2015 01:10
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At least they'd probably be legal hydroponics. People doing illegal stuff bypass their meter - both to avoid alarm bells and maximise profits :-)

As to the topic at hand - I voted for the more than a set dollar value as I keep a fairly close eye on our monthly electricity spend as a result of a bill shock almost 10 years ago.

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