Current Affairs

Power: meter reading versus estimate

A meter reading or an estimate: What’s the difference?

By Kevin Milne
Power - meter reading versus estimate

I recently received a power bill for $2117.89. I thought it must have been a mistake. I rang the power company and it turns out their latest meter reading was the first actual reading of my meter in over two and a half years. Previous bills had been based on estimates only. I cannot understand why there had to be so many estimates. The meter is outside the house, there is no fence, animals or obstacles. Should I have to pay the full amount?

The invoices you were sent should have indicated whether they were estimates or readings. If they stated they were based on estimates only, you needed to be aware that they could fall well short of the actual amount of power used and you might get a big bill later. You should really have contacted the power company earlier to get an actual reading and to find out why so many of the bills were estimates. But it is a mystery why the power company hasn’t been reading your meter for so long. You need to question them on that and they need to give you a good explanation. Whatever the outcome, my experience in situations like this is that power companies are usually happy to come up with a repayment plan for you, such as spreading out re-payments. They won’t want you defaulting on payment. If you get no help, I recommend you contact The Electricity and Gas Complaints Commission.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email, or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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