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Topic # 157448 1-Dec-2014 20:38
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Ok we got a smart meter installed a month or so ago, our average power bill prior to this was a couple of hundred dollars (I think), first bill after was around 2 thousand (for a month and no i'm not growing any green shrubs in my shed), I am guessing that somebody cocked something up during the changeover, and we have been waiting for it to be corrected a month later and we have had another couple of hundred put on top of the couple of thousand, we have told them, and contacted them yet again last week.

Do they have such things as offices these days as I will in all likelihood have to go down and yell at someone politely to get their a into g, as coming into Xmas I don't need a huge bill and the possibility of bad credit rating/no power hanging over us.

Kind of regretting telling the last lot of door knockers to go away (the power company ones not the religious ones)




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  Reply # 1186638 1-Dec-2014 21:14
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When was your old meter last read? They will do a final reading at removal time and if you havent had a read in a very long time then its possible you are just catching up.




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  Reply # 1186662 1-Dec-2014 22:09
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FWIW their head office is in Brandon Street in Wellington. I don't think they are equipped for dealing with the public directly, I'm sure this is by design however.

Otherwise:
http://www.egcomplaints.co.nz/
or one of the usual consumer support avenues.






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  Reply # 1186684 1-Dec-2014 23:37
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I work for Contact on the generation side of the business.

The social media team is pretty good at sorting this sort of thing out. PM through the contact energy facebook page If the standard channels aren't working.

If you don't get any joy PM me and I will see if I can find an email address for someone who can sort this.

Regards

Warren

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  Reply # 1186688 1-Dec-2014 23:58
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Morgenmuffel: Ok we got a smart meter installed a month or so ago, our average power bill prior to this was a couple of hundred dollars (I think), first bill after was around 2 thousand (for a month and no i'm not growing any green shrubs in my shed), I am guessing that somebody cocked something up during the changeover, and we have been waiting for it to be corrected a month later and we have had another couple of hundred put on top of the couple of thousand, we have told them, and contacted them yet again last week.

Do they have such things as offices these days as I will in all likelihood have to go down and yell at someone politely to get their a into g, as coming into Xmas I don't need a huge bill and the possibility of bad credit rating/no power hanging over us.

Kind of regretting telling the last lot of door knockers to go away (the power company ones not the religious ones)


A $2,000 power bill is about 7000-8000 units (kWh's) based on West Auckland pricing, (this is a year's worth of power for a lot of households!), my bet would be one of the following:

a) transposed number in the final reading or similar
b) they've installed a previously used meter and the registers did not start at zero, and Contact has assumed they have.

Either way the metering companies should have photos of the old removed meter and the new meter at time of install (definitely the latter) My suggestion is:

1) Go outside, read your new meter (if it's an EDMI brand meter there might be a grey button directly above the metal disc (with the bottom missing, 2 holes and a screw) that can help cycle through the registers).  If it's >2000 already, good chance that b) is what happened.   Some meters you can access the current usage/load (EDMI you press and hold that button, and then when the display changes, each press goes to the next item, on ours there is a HuLu & LuLu (iirc thats what they are spelt as) that is the current kWH usage per register.  - Other meters just look up the brand/model if it's not clear how to switch between registers.
2) If the new meter looks to be reading right, ring up Contact and tell them you want the documentary evidence taken by the meter company that show what the meters were reading at change-over time.
3) Have a look at your previous bills and make sure that there is at least a couple of 'Actual' usage bills recently and they aren't all just estimates for some reason (maybe they got lazy), meters are generally read every 2 months at the very least though so it shouldn't be this (i.e. a huge post-estimated catch-up).

My bet is that it's certainly either a transposed number or a previously used meter.   After talking to Powershop today about some metering issues I got a good insight into the checks & balances that happen behind the scenes.  For instance, apparently the national registry will refuse to send (smart meter) data through to the power co's if there is a single descrepency between what it believes the config should be and the data they are getting (our current problem... fun...).  Pretty sure there'd be a check for 'abnormal' data too.



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  Reply # 1187321 2-Dec-2014 18:51
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richms: When was your old meter last read? They will do a final reading at removal time and if you haven't had a read in a very long time then its possible you are just catching up.


Its was normally read every couple of months by the meter reader chappie, as our meter is inside we may have missed the odd read, but not so many that we would be $2000 out

This is a cut n paste from the latest bill


Previous balance $1,851.03 (this is the disputed bill)
Total previous charges $1,851.03
Pay $1,430.82 on/before 25 Nov 2014
and save $420.21 with your Online OnTime discount

Summary of Current activity Charges Credits
Fixed daily charges $10.67
Variable charges $160.08
GST $25.61
Total current charges $196.36
Pay also $153.15 on/before 8 Dec 2014
and save $43.21 with your Online OnTime discount
(includes $19.97 of GST on current charges)
Total amount due $2,047.39
Total amount due with prompt payment package discounts* $1,583.97


So as you see the current months bill is about $200, the previous month was $1851

Anyway, i'll try through the facebook page thingie

See below for the usage stats

Click to see full size





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  Reply # 1187338 2-Dec-2014 19:17
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Should also mention wife phoned up Contact when first bill arrived, was told it was an error and would be fixed, second bill arrived and she emailed and went through the help thing on their website.

Dammit all i thought the smart meter would be the smart option as in we wouldn't have screwed up reads.

also dodgy bill is for 23 Sep 2014 to 18 Oct 2014, which is why Sept and October are so far out


and here is where the error is

Click to see full size

Have a look at the numbers highlighted in yellow






'We love to buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.' WARREN ZEVON


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  Reply # 1187369 2-Dec-2014 19:32
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Definitely lodge it as a formal complaint (or if you have already - which it seems you have because the copy & paste acknowledges that the amount is in dispute), have they advised you are deadlocked yet? They have to after 20 working days from complaint date if there isn't an agreed upon resolution).

If your complaint is deadlocked, they aren't handling the complaint as a complaint etc, go to the commissioner ASAP (the URL is already in this thread), key thing you have to be deadlocked or tried to raise it as a complaint already & Contact has refused to treat it as a complaint or advised of your rights etc.

Also small tip, leaving the ICP # in isn't a good idea when you blank everything else out, that uniquely identifies the properly (so do the meter #'s for that matter).  Although I do notice UN (old United Networks), do the new meters have 'Metrix' labeling all over it? (Kinda curious).

Edit:  (quickly typed the above, gone through and corrected it)

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  Reply # 1187394 2-Dec-2014 20:01
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Morgenmuffel: Should also mention wife phoned up Contact when first bill arrived, was told it was an error and would be fixed


The call centres are given a script to follow, so when they hear a person call in and say their first bill was really high, their default response is to say it will be corrected and an amended bill will be sent out. I doubt they even check your account, they just state their scripted response and move onto the next person in the queue. When you speak with them it's really important to take down the person's name and note the time/date because you'll need all of that info if you complain to the Electricity Commission. Emails are good because you have it all in writing. I think from memory the Electricity Commission has a two month stand down period from the time you last complained to Contact's complaint line and got no resolution, so bare that in mind.

I've read/heard numerous cases where the power bill has sky-rocketed after a smart-meter was installed. Some people say it's because the old meter had slowed down and now the new meter is reporting the true usage, and other people say that smart-meters can pick up radio frequencies from neighbouring houses and charge you for those. Apparently you can demand that Contact removes the smart-reader so maybe you could try that?

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  Reply # 1187408 2-Dec-2014 20:16
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HTroy:
Morgenmuffel: Should also mention wife phoned up Contact when first bill arrived, was told it was an error and would be fixed


The call centres are given a script to follow, so when they hear a person call in and say their first bill was really high, their default response is to say it will be corrected and an amended bill will be sent out. I doubt they even check your account, they just state their scripted response and move onto the next person in the queue. When you speak with them it's really important to take down the person's name and note the time/date because you'll need all of that info if you complain to the Electricity Commission. Emails are good because you have it all in writing. I think from memory the Electricity Commission has a two month stand down period from the time you last complained to Contact's complaint line and got no resolution, so bare that in mind.

I've read/heard numerous cases where the power bill has sky-rocketed after a smart-meter was installed. Some people say it's because the old meter had slowed down and now the new meter is reporting the true usage, and other people say that smart-meters can pick up radio frequencies from neighbouring houses and charge you for those. Apparently you can demand that Contact removes the smart-reader so maybe you could try that?


a) Power companies have been slapped around by the commissioner enough to take complaints about HUGE bills seriously from the get go.  To say they likely don't even check the account is a bit far fetched.
b) The main thing is, is that the company has to advise of your rights once you've made the complaint and advise if the complaint is deadlocked - from what I read last night this is now 20 business days.   By the sounds of it, the OP's wife's first call should've been treated as a complaint and the 20 business days must surely be up by now...
c) It's not a case of the bill skyrocketing after install (and there seems to be anecdotal evidence around that the whole consumption before/after isn't really true, just some old meters didn't read right/underread so people get caught unaware).

OP, I've had another idea....

The meter reading listings show 3 registers for what I'd assume is your new smart meter (after all, they started at 0000002), and they've entered 3 old readings but:

One meter has a unique number (this is okay), the other two 'meters' have the same numbers, but one has an extra 'A' (A & AA), the A and AA meters had different previous readings, but ended up on the same 'current' reading, it's as if they only wrote down 2 of the 3 readings they were meant to and got lazy.

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  Reply # 1187457 2-Dec-2014 21:07
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nigelj: 

a) Power companies have been slapped around by the commissioner enough to not take complaints about HUGE bills seriously from the get go.  To say they likely don't even check the account is a bit far fetched.


This comment is ignorant and arrogant. When I dealt with the Electricity Commission last year they resolved the situation within days and the company reversed the whole bill. The power companies do take the Commission seriously and their service is excellent. Ignorant comments like this put consumers off going through the correct channels with their issues.

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  Reply # 1187462 2-Dec-2014 21:12
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HTroy:
nigelj: 

a) Power companies have been slapped around by the commissioner enough to not take complaints about HUGE bills seriously from the get go.  To say they likely don't even check the account is a bit far fetched.


This comment is ignorant and arrogant. When I dealt with the Electricity Commission last year they resolved the situation within days and the company reversed the whole bill. The power companies do take the Commission seriously and their service is excellent. Ignorant comments like this put consumers off going through the correct channels with their issues.


Ekkk, the 'not' shouldn't have been then, I meant to say... "enough to take complaints ... seriously from the get go".  the not changes the meaning completely. Fixed.



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  Reply # 1188119 3-Dec-2014 17:09
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Ok doke, Well I got a reply back this morning that they are escalating it and will let me know whats going on




'We love to buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.' WARREN ZEVON


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  Reply # 1188234 3-Dec-2014 20:16
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Morgenmuffel: Should also mention wife phoned up Contact when first bill arrived, was told it was an error and would be fixed, second bill arrived and she emailed and went through the help thing on their website.

Dammit all i thought the smart meter would be the smart option as in we wouldn't have screwed up reads.

also dodgy bill is for 23 Sep 2014 to 18 Oct 2014, which is why Sept and October are so far out


and here is where the error is

Click to see full size

Have a look at the numbers highlighted in yellow



Also the Meter Numbers A915814:1 & AA915814:1. They're virtually identical.
Sometimes happens when you switch electricity suppliers. Someone at your old company accidentally doubles-up on the meter & chaos ensures

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  Reply # 1188314 3-Dec-2014 22:58
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Morgenmuffel: Ok we got a smart meter installed a month or so ago, our average power bill prior to this was a couple of hundred dollars (I think), first bill after was around 2 thousand (for a month and no i'm not growing any green shrubs in my shed), I am guessing that somebody cocked something up during the changeover, and we have been waiting for it to be corrected a month later and we have had another couple of hundred put on top of the couple of thousand, we have told them, and contacted them yet again last week.

Do they have such things as offices these days as I will in all likelihood have to go down and yell at someone politely to get their a into g, as coming into Xmas I don't need a huge bill and the possibility of bad credit rating/no power hanging over us.

Kind of regretting telling the last lot of door knockers to go away (the power company ones not the religious ones)


I'm reminded of an old Not The Nine O'Clock News sketch where the pope performs a miracle by ringing British Rail Enquiries and actually getting an answer...!





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  Reply # 1188365 4-Dec-2014 00:38
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OP - Im guessing your house must have had a 3 phase meter installed. And did you orginally have 3x single phase meters before the replacement? As it appears that they entered the final reading from 1 of the old meters against 2 of them in their system. It would help to know what your old metering setup was. (3x single phase, a single phase and another single phase but dual register meter ect?)





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