QCOSS made a submission to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) around the proposed rule changes regarding estimated meter reads:
• to prohibit the use of estimated meter reads
• to require retailers to apply a specific methodology for estimates where the customer has installed a solar system
• to require retailers to accept a customer self-read of a meter as the basis for an estimated meter read.
QCOSS agrees that there are issues with estimated meter reads. This issue is not going away any time soon. Even some advanced meters will continue to be read manually. For example, where there is no access to the communications network required to support advanced meters that can be remotely read.
• Over-estimated meter reads: results in over billing, overpayment, and could cause financial hardship in the period before the actual meter read and the customer is credited with the overpayment.
• Under-estimated meter reads: this will result in under billing, underpayment, bill shock and may cause financial hardship or even disconnection.
We support the proposed rule change to require retailers to accept a customer self-read of a meter as the basis for an estimated meter read. We do not however completely agree with the proposal to impose a civil penalty for grossly inaccurate meter estimate as the basis for a customer’s bill.