Burned by hot water surprise: pensioner's $2509 shock bill

A South Grafton pensioner received an almighty shock when her quarterly electricity bill issued on 6th July, 2017 amounted to $2,509.35.
A South Grafton pensioner received an almighty shock when her quarterly electricity bill issued on 6th July, 2017 amounted to $2,509.35. Bill North

A SOUTH Grafton pensioner has had a "huge weight lifted" from her shoulders after news that the outstanding amount on a whopping $2509 energy bill from Origin would be waived.

When the substantial bill from the energy provider arrived in 76-year-old Daphne Hunter's letterbox last month, she and her daughter Leanda tried to find out why and soon discovered the cause - a leaking, faulty valve on a hot water service which had been installed almost a year before.

"Unbeknownst to Mum, the hot water was continually heating up and running away into a drain," Leanda said. "How long this was happening for they did not know."

The reason it took so long to be picked up was that the meter reader had not done an actual reading from the home's meter in nine months and previous bills had just been estimated.

The last bill based off an actual meter read for the October-December quarter in 2016 came in at a much more reasonable $345.35.

"When (she) asked why, no reason was given," Leanda said.

"It was suggested there may have been a problem for the meter reader entering the property.

"This was vehemently denied by (Mum) who admitted having a small companion dog inside the house but told Essential Energy the dog has no access to front yard."

Leanda said she and her mum were told by Essential Energy, who carry out meter readings on Origin's behalf, that meter readers were completely within their rights to only read meters once every nine months.

But it meant that by the time the bill arrived, the cost had blown out exponentially.

After unsuccessfully trying to have the bill waived, Leanda contacted The Daily Examiner.

"(My mum) was beside herself and sick with worry about how she will meet the cost of the impending bill," she told The Daily Examiner last week. "How could this happen to a 76-year-old widowed pensioner who has consistently always paid their accounts on time and been a model citizen?"

Daphne had already paid $1000 off the bill when on Friday, after a phone call to Origin from The Daily Examiner, she  was notified that the outstanding amount to be paid on the bill, $1509, would be waived.

"It's a huge weight that has lifted," Leanda said.

"We are so thankful."

Topics:  consumers editors picks electricity power power prices

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