Electricity prices will increase by 18 per cent in New South Wales from July 1.
“Consumers need to take action to ensure they’re getting the best deal possible from their energy provider," says Ms Jo Ucukalo**, CEO of Handle My Complaint, an Australian-wide complaint resolution service.
“Energy is one of those things where there’s not a huge variation in price but other factors can make a big difference when it comes to paying bills”, she said.
According to Ms Ucukalo, “Getting proactive with bills can save consumers money and help avoid account rage”.
“If people are experiencing difficulties paying a bill, contact the retailer and discuss the various options available. Ignoring a bill will only make matters worse”, said Ucukalo.
Here are Handle My Complaint’s Top 10 Tips on how to best avoid energy account rage.
1. Shop around – Contact retailers to compare price, discounts offered and their commitment to customer service. Ask “Why are you a good company to deal with?”
2. Check for rebates offered – Confirm eligibility for low income household, Health Care Card holder, medical energy or pensioner rebates.
3. Meter reading regularity – Check if your retailer accepts ‘self reads’ to avoid estimated meter readings.
4. High bills – Compare usage with the same period last year. Consider if any new appliances, lifestyle changes, family members or visitors may have caused higher consumption. If doubts persist, contact your retailer.
5. Seasonal peaks – Discuss options for bill adjustments to smooth out seasonal peaks with consistent payment amounts throughout the year.
6. Billing intervals – Ask for monthly bills if that will assist with budgeting.
7. Payment problems – Communicate difficulties paying a bill and don’t ignore follow up requests for payment. Discuss options to repay the amount owing. Guidelines for customers experiencing financial hardship ensure energy supply continues.
8. Consider communication - Chose a retailer who satisfies your needs - online billing or paper statements, access to a call centre or online communication.
9. Payment suspension for complaints – Ask that related outstanding payments be suspended until the complaint has been investigated. Get confirmation in writing. Continue to make timely payments for subsequent bills if they’re not in dispute.
10.Keep a record – During all communication, document names, dates and points discussed.
Handle My Complaint charges on a success basis, meaning clients only get charged a fee for service when their complaint is successfully resolved.
*For more information on Handle My Complaint, see: www.handlemycomplaint.com.au
Handle My Complaint
Company summary: Handle My Complaint are complaint experts working on behalf of consumers to negotiate and resolve disputes. The typical Handle My Complaint client is a consumer without the time, know-how or persistence to resolve a dispute themselves. Handle My Complaint charge on a success basis
Commenced operation: February 2009
Sample of complaints handled: Unfair bank fees; telecommunication troubles; wrongful energy disconnections, unsatisfactory travel experiences; unacceptable beauty services; faulty electrical appliances and customer service complaints to name a few.
Background on Jo Ucukalo: Founder and CEO, Ms Jo Ucukalo is passionate about improving processes in business and government and is regularly called on to talk about consumer rights. She is leading the way with her campaign for change in a number of industries.
P: 0404 860 185
M: 0422 611 072