Business hit with $13k electricity bill a week after opening

BILL SHOCK: Greig Jamieson, owner of Jack’s Country Cuts, with the bills sent from Ergon that total more than $14,000.
BILL SHOCK: Greig Jamieson, owner of Jack’s Country Cuts, with the bills sent from Ergon that total more than $14,000. Allan Reinikka Rokaergonbill

FOR many small businesses every cent counts, and unexpected bills can be a big blow.

So when Greig Jamieson received a bill from Ergon Energy for $13,700 only a week after he opened his Rockhampton butcher shop, he was stunned.

After contacting Ergon about the matter a representative came out to read his meter, and allegedly told him his meter had previously been over read by 90,000kW.

After that Greig thought the matter would be rectified - until he got another bill days later, this time for $14,248.74.

"The guy reading the meter said, 'there's something really wrong here'," he said.

The first bill for $13,700 came with a disconnection warning notice to say the bill was due by July 29.

But Greig didn't move into the premises until August 1.

The second bill says he owes $545.56 in electricity charges and $13,703.18 in "other charges and credits".

"This is massively affecting my business," he said.

"In Rocky at the moment people need jobs, and this has directly stopped me from putting people on."

After receiving the second bill he contacted the Electricity and Water Ombudsman and is waiting to hear from them again.

Ergon Energy's corporate communications manager Bob Pleash said they were unable to discuss individual circumstances due to customer confidentiality requirements and privacy legislation.

"However when a new business account is established where there is no credit or payment history, we are required to obtain a bank guarantee or a security deposit, which may be refunded after a period of two years," he said.

"New businesses in the start-up phase are encouraged to discuss their electricity needs with Ergon Energy Retail to understand what costs are associated with their business account."

Customers who would like to discuss their circumstances can contact Ergon Energy Retail's customer solutions team on 13 10 46 or business service representatives on 1300 135 210.

Topics:  editors picks ergon energy power bills

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