Mal­func­tion causes bill er­rors

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

MAL­FUNC­TION­ING power me­ter con­trol equip­ment could be cost­ing Monto farm­ers thou­sands of dol­lars.

Af­ter the is­sue was brought to light by Bur­nett In­land Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion con­sul­tant Ross An­der­son, an Er­gon En­ergy spokesper­son said a mal­func­tion­ing pulse at a Biloela sub­sta­tion meant some me­ters were not switch­ing be­tween peak and off-peak tar­iffs.

This left Monto farmer Boyd John­son slammed with an ex­tra $5000 on his last power bill.

But Mr John­son is by no means the only per­son to have such a mis­cal­cu­lated fee; con­sul­tant Mr An­der­son said such dis­crep­an­cies had been com­mon for farm­ers lately.

In the past six months, he had tal­lied up more than $400,000 worth of dis­crep­an­cies in the wider Monto area.

“Don’t ever as­sume the power me­ter is cor­rect, a huge pro­por­tion of the ones I see are wrong,” Mr An­der­son said.

But not all of these dis­crep­an­cies are the fault of the power com­pany, as landown­ers of­ten sign up to the wrong tar­iff, or are be­ing charged from the wrong ac­count num­ber.

The BIEDO busi­ness con­sul­tant is of­fer­ing free en­ergy au­dits to land­hold­ers to en­sure their bill is in line with what they ac­tu­ally owe.

Mr An­der­son re­ported his find­ings at a Ru­ral Re­gen­er­a­tion road show ear­lier this month, and farmer Anita Dent said she was shocked at the rev­e­la­tion.

“The power bill is some­thing I don’t ever re­ally ques­tion, I just as­sume it’s cor­rect and I have to pay it. It’s quite con­cern­ing.”

Er­gon En­ergy is aware of the is­sue in the Monto area and is tak­ing “re­me­dial ac­tion”.

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