What to do if you receive a high energy or water bill

Ever experienced that sinking feeling when you open a bill and find out it’s much higher than you expected?

There could be many reasons that your bill is higher than normal.

  • Your usage or charges may have increased.
  • Your bill may be estimated.
  • There could be an issue at your property.
  • Your energy or water provider may have made a mistake.

Here are some steps to follow to find out the cause of your high bill and get help with your billing issue.

Check your bill

The first step when you receive a high bill is to check your bill to look for reasons why your bill is higher than normal.

  • Compare your energy or water usage to previous quarters. If it has increased, think about why – did you have extra guests staying, were you watering your garden more or did you use more heating or cooling?
  • Check to see if there are any amounts owing from your previous bill.
  • Look to see if this bill (or any previous bills) use an estimation instead of an actual read.
  • Did your provider inform you of any cost increases?

If you have checked your bill and are still unsure why your bill has increased, talk to your provider. It can help to jot down some notes to let them know what you’ve checked and what you wish to clarify.

Your provider can help you resolve the issue and investigate if necessary.

Common issues and how to resolve them

Here are some common billing issues and how you might resolve them with your provider.

My provider has increased their prices

If your provider has increased its prices, you may receive a higher bill than you were expecting. You could save money by switching energy providers and plans. You could also contact your provider to check if you are on the best value plan for your needs. Read more about how to compare electricity plans.

My bill is an estimated bill

This means you have been charged on an estimate of your energy or water use. If you have a basic electricity meter, before the pay by date, you may be able to request an adjusted bill based on your own read. Read more about estimated bills.

My bill seems too high

If you believe your bill is unusually high and your energy or water usage hasn’t changed, you can ask your provider to review the bill, which may include a meter test or check of the meter read data.

I think there is an error with my meter reading

If you think there has been an error with your meter reading or charges on your account, your provider can look into this. Here are some tips for checking and understanding your meter.

If there has been an error, they will be able to issue an adjustment notice.

I received a backbill and I’m worried I can’t pay it

If you receive a backbill for your energy or water account, you are entitled to request a payment extension equivalent to the period of time covered by the backbill. You will need to contact your provider to discuss a payment plan or other assistance as each provider may have different requirements.

I think my bill might be correct, but I can’t afford to pay it all

If you have checked your bill and it seems correct, but you think you’ll have difficulty paying, chat to your provider. They may be able to help with a payment plan or other assistance.

I’ve spoken to my provider but I can’t resolve the issue

If you’ve spoken to your provider and you still need help resolving your billing issue, contact us – the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland. Submit a complaint online or call 1800 662 837.

To discover how we've been able to help customers with high bills, read our customer stories.