Frequently asked questions

Why have my bills suddenly increased?

How can I save money by reducing my energy use?

Can my supplier estimate my accounts?

Can a supplier bill me back past the current period?

What happens if I can't pay the bill by the due date?

I've received a disconnection notice what can I do?

How long should it take to put the power or gas at a new property?

I think my meter is faulty. Can it be tested? Who pays?

Do I have a right to compensation for damage or loss from an electricity voltage variation?

Do I have a right to compensation for damage or loss from an outage or interruption to supply?

 

Why have my bills suddenly increased?

There may be several reasons:

  • Increased use of air conditioners in summer or heaters in winter
  • Extra people living in your household
  • LCD or plasma televisions, pool pumps, spas or water beds
  • Appliances left in stand-by mode
  • Faulty, old or inefficient appliances
  • a leaking hot water cylinder
  • Gas leaks
  • The meter reader couldn't access your meter so your account has been estimated; or you received a high catch-up bill based on actual readings
  • Additional charges such as late payment fees or account establishment fees
  • Increased tariff
  • Billing delay

If there is no obvious reason that your account is significantly higher than usual, contact your supplier and request them to review it. If you are not satisfied with their advice, contact us.

Back to top

How can I save money by reducing my energy use?

Reducing your energy use means lower bills. These websites have practical advice on energy efficiency:

Back to top

Can my supplier estimate my accounts?

Suppliers should do their best to send you a bill based on an actual reading of your meter. If they cant access the meter, they can estimate the account, but they must be able to take an actual reading at least once every 12 months. It is your responsibility to make sure the meter is accessible. This relates to both gas and electricity.

Note that meter readers from Aurora Energy will not normally enter a property to read a meter if they cannot be satisfied that a dog on the property is unrestrained. This is for good reasons related to occupational health and safety.

An estimated bill is based on past use, taken from the same period over the previous year. This might not match the amount youre actually using. After you get an estimated bill, your next bill that is based on a meter reading may be higher or lower than you expected, depending on whether the estimate was lower or higher than your actual use.

If a bill is estimated, this must be clearly identified on the bill.

Back to top

Can a supplier bill me back past the current period?

Yes, it can issue an account for an undercharge or a catch-up bill.

In the case of an electricity supplier,there are limits on how far back the supplier can go. These are imposed by the Electricity Supply Industry (Tariff Customers) Regulations 2008.

An electricity supplier can recover an undercharge for a maximum period of one year before the date of discovery, even if the undercharging or non-charging has been for longer than that. This time period is only relevant for undercharging as a result of inaccurate metering of consumption. For undercharging which is the result of fraud or tampering with the metering equipment, there are no limits to how far the supplier can go back and recover.

To recover the amount of an undercharge, an electricity supplier must separately itemise the amount, state how the undercharge occurred and how it has been calculated. The supplier must allow you at least the same period to pay the account as the period in which the undercharge occurred for example, if the supplier is seeking to recover six months of undercharging, then they must allow you six months to pay the account.

Gas suppliers can also recover undercharges, but are not subject to such controls.

Back to top


What happens if I can't pay the bill by the due date?

It's important to tell the company if you are having trouble paying your account so your first step is to ring the customer service centre. f the issue can't be resolved with the call centre consultant, ask to be put through to a supervisor or someone in credit management.

A payment plan should be offered to you in the case of electricity supply, as long as you have a good payment history with the supplier. If you are suffering severe financial hardship, there are charities that may be able to assist with one-off payments.

Contact Aurora Energy call centre.

Gas suppliers do not have hardship programs but they may be able to offer payment arrangements.

Back to top

I've received a disconnection notice what can I do?

It is better to contact your energy supplier if you cant pay a bill but if you have delayed doing this and received a disconnection notice, call your supplier immediately to discuss payment options.

These include:

  • Payment plans you agree to pay a nominated amount regularly towards your bill
  • Centrepay Centrelink customers can nominate an amount that is automatically deducted from their pension or benefit payment every fortnight, and paid into their energy account
  • Financial hardship programs are available to electricity customers who are experiencing extreme difficulty paying their bills due to unforeseen circumstances such as loss of income or illness
  • Financial hardship payments may be sought from local charities.

If you can't arrange one of these options, contact us.  Your supply cannot be disconnected after 2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays or anytime on Friday, Saturday and Sunday or a public holiday. Other limits apply.

Back to top

How long should it take to put the power or gas on at a new property?

When you request a connection, the supplier must pass the request on to the distributor. The distributor must do their best to connect the property on the date agreed with you.

If no date has been agreed, subject to safety and other requirements being met, the electricity distributor should connect within 10 business days of the request. If Aurora Energy doesnt meet its connection standards, they will credit your account with $30 for each business day they are late, up to a maximum of $150.

If gas is available in your street, TasGas would usually install and commission your gas supply within 4 to 6 weeks of your lodgement of a CCR form; and your prompt payment of any connection charges.

Back to top

I think my meter is faulty. Can it be tested? Who pays?

You can ask to have your electricity or gas meter tested, but if the test shows it is operating correctly, you must pay for the test.

Most tested meters are found to be operating within the Australian standards. If they're not, theyre more likely to run slow than fast this means youre more likely to have been undercharged than overcharged. Your supplier is able to recover the undercharge as a result of inaccurate metering.

We suggest you try to work out whether something else is causing your high bills before you ask for a meter test.

Back to top

Do I have a right to compensation for damage or loss from an electricity voltage variation?

Your electricity supplier should aim to provide you with a safe, reliable and good quality service that meets the standards specified by the Tasmanian Electricity Code. However they cant guarantee quality of supply at all times.

Now and then, random power surges, power dips or "brown-outs" do occur. These may cause damage to electrical equipment.

Sometimes these surges or dips are caused by factors outside your suppliers control. Examples are storm damage to the distribution or transmission system, branches falling across the wires, wildlife coming in contact with equipment, bushfires, motor vehicle accidents or vandalism. Where injury or damage to your property results from such factors, your supplier may not necessarily be liable for compensation. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Back to top

Do I have a right to compensation for damage or loss from an outage or interruption to supply?

Theres no clear right to compensation but Aurora Energy is subject to Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) requirements. Under these requirements, the company must make payments in recognition of poor service, but the payments are not intended as compensation.

Depending on the circumstances of the interruption, you may be eligible under these requirements for a GSL payment of between $80 and $160.

The independent Tasmanian Energy Regulator audits your suppliers tracking of interruptions and payments to ensure that correct payment is made.

If you suffer loss or damage to your property as a result of an event that exceeds the GSL monetary limit, you may be eligible for compensation. Claims can be made by contacting Aurora Energy on 1300 13 2003.

Back to top