MYSTERY BEHIND WHY FAMILY STARTED RECEIVING MASSIVE POWER BILLS

A Queensland family is mystified as to why their electricity bills suddenly became astronomical when they weren't doing anything different.

When Kylie Hill, who lives with her husband and four children, got a quarterly power bill for $1,774.79 she was shocked and called her supplier, AGL, to question it. 

'I said, "Are you sure you've got the right house?" "Yes", they said,' Ms Hill, who lives in Brisbane's south-western suburbs, told A Current Affair

'Straight away, I was confused... like, I don't own a big factory!'

She initially put the bill down to running too many appliances and made changes including turning things off when they weren't in use.

It worked, sort of. Their next bill was a lot cheaper, but the mum said it was still quite a bit more than they expected.

'That was $750. Even that's a lot,' she said. 

'Then the next few quarters though, all over the $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 ... $3,900 was the biggest bill,' she said.

She was still no wiser as to what was using so much power to send their bills skyrocketing, and the family was paying thousands of dollars more than they thought they should be.  

Despite their consumption-cutting efforts and no one being at home during the day, electricity bills have totalled $15,000 over the pat two years. 

Ms Hill came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with her meter and asked AGL to do some tests.

When the tester came, he found that 'the watts were up so high that we had enough electricity going in here for like five houses'.

But there was nothing running constantly other than the fridge, so AGL put the family's account on hold while it investigated the cause of the high power bills.

They didn't find any solution, though, and started billing again. The last two bills have come to nearly $7,000.

Electrician Justin Czarkowski did an independent assessment and said though the cost of their bills was concerning, the meter's figures seemed accurate.

'We measured the actual current with the fluke meter, and then compared that to what the meter is saying and those measurements are comparable, they're within a milliounce of each other,' he said.

But he couldn't find any particular issue within the home that would lead to such large bills.

'There's not a lot on in this house as it stands, and doesn't really explain why you would be getting a $3,000 bill,' Mr Czarkowski said.

A Current Affair sent the family's data to financial experts to see if they could figure out the answer.

Richard Foxworthy of Bill Hero, a service that breaks down and compares energy bills, found the Hills used more than five times the average consumption.

'It's certainly possible to consume that amount of energy, but it would be unusual if that's actually the case for Kylie and her household,' he said. 

AGL said it was 'committed to working with customers', but that the Hill's usage bill is accurate.

'We want to help our customers understand the safe and simple changes they can make around the home to conserve energy and reduce their bills,' a statement from AGL said.

So there is still no answer for the family, just a lot of very expensive electricity bills.

'We've done the right thing with AGL and paid everything they've sent us except for the last one... they need to give us a break,' Ms Hill pleaded.

AGL STATEMENT 

We want to help our customers understand the safe and simple changes they can make around the home to conserve energy and reduce their bills.

Switching hot washes for a cool cycle, air drying your clothing or properly sealing cracks around windowsills and doors are small changes that can make a difference.

In summer, we recommend setting the air conditioner between 23 to 26 degrees. In winter, as a general rule, only heat the room that is in use.

We also encourage customers to get in touch with us early if they are finding it difficult to pay their bills.

We are committed to working with customers and we know from experience that seeking help early can make an enormous difference.

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2024-06-13T01:15:57Z dg43tfdfdgfd