AGL and Origin Energy Receive The Most Energy Bill Complaints in NSW

Energy Water Ombusdman NSW Annual Report Cover Page 2010-2011In the 2010-2011 financial year the NSW Energy & Water Ombudsman resolved a whopping 17,559 complaints about energy and water bills in NSW.

This was a rise of 17% over the previous year. Two areas which saw a big rise in complaints were marketing and billing.

Confusing contracts and pushy marketing

A growing number of customers reported that they had experienced misleading or pressure marketing or had their accounts transferred without consent. Often this occurred when a non-account holder was approached by a marketer or when the marketer did not make it clear to the customer that they were agreeing to a contract.

- EWON Media Release 16 November 2011

This doesn't surprise me at all. The entire 'energy industry' is stacked full of misinformation and pushy marketing.

In fact, I think this is the number one problem with implementing energy efficiency.

It also adds some weight to my very boring suggestion to go and read your electricity contract.

Bills that just keep going up

Affordability issues also contributed to the increase in complaints. “Customers are expressing concern and anxiety about paying their bills, particularly in the light of political and media debate about further price increases.”

- EWON Media Release 16 November 2011

It also shouldn't come as much of a surprise that many complaints arose from unexpectedly high electricity bills.

Receiving a very high energy bill can be quite distressing. The gut instinct for most people is to complain to their supplier.

From my own experience, I have not come across many errors on bills. In the vast majority of cases unusually high electricity bills can be explained by actual increases in energy consumption (ie. it's usually not a billing issue).

See my related post: Top 5 Causes of a High Electricity Bill

The Ombudsman's report does however note several problems that are the fault of the energy retailers. Here are some examples:

  • Provider not applying the contract discount to all the tariffs on your bill
  • Provider charging you multiple times for meter readings (gas bills)
  • Provider not reporting all data on your energy bills (eg. if you have two meters they might only list data from one meter)

AGL and Origin Energy lead the way for most complaints

There is no doubt the increase in complaints against these two companies would be driven by the fact they are doing their best to 'muscle in' to NSW. AGL and Origin were originally retailers in Victoria but are also vying for business in NSW (something they have been doing for several years now).

The deregulation of the industry and the more recent sale of the energy retailers in NSW has certainly knocked competition up a notch (read: increased the number of shonky marketing tactics).

Complaints by Energy Retailer AGL Origin Energy

Number of complaints by Energy Retailer (source: EWON Annual Report 2010-2011) 

The Ombudsman's annual report has thrown up a few particularly interesting issues. Apart from those discussed above, I would like to talk more about how you can compare your energy bill against the very best deals being offered.

- Ryan McCarthy

By Ryan McCarthy |

Know someone who might be interested?
Share this article:

next post → ← older post

Got a Question?

stop sign

Please see our FAQ, delivery, pricing, and product pages for commonly asked questions and answers.

About Reduction Revolution

Reduction Revolution is a business focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. Our products will help slash your energy usage. But they also often improve comfort, save time, and reduce your maintenance costs. That's why we say waste less, live better.

Australia New Zealand Map

Reduction Revolution Pty Ltd is an Australian owned and operated business (ABN 74 141 672 764).

Since 2010 we have supplied over 40,000 customers across Australia & NZ.

Click the links below to find out more:

About Us
Blog Posts - Frequently Asked Questions - Delivery Details - Discounts & Wholesale - Warranty & Returns - Contact - Search

Meters & Monitors
Power Meters - Energy Monitors - Thermal Imaging - Thermometers - Water Monitor - Light Meter

LED Lighting
Downlights - Light Bulbs - Filament Bulbs - LED Tubes - Oyster Lights - Strip Lights - Batten Lights - Panels / Troffers - High Bays - Motion Sensors - Floodlights - Emergency Lights

Energy Savers
Heating & Cooling - Hot Water - Cooking - Standby & Control - Pool Pumps - Portable Power

Read Our Customer Reviews!

Latest Blog Posts

  • Energy Bills Explained - How to Decode Your Electricity & Gas Bills

    Electricity bills and gas bills are often confusing and hard to interpret. Unexpected or high energy bills may even give you a mild headache. Once you know what to look for, they will make a lot more sense. Then you can get... read more

  • Should You Buy ALDI LED Light Bulbs? [2019 Review & Update]

    This weekend ALDI is selling a range of LED light bulbs under the name 'LIGHTWAY'. It seems they've done away with 'Muller Licht' brand from previous years (which got some terrible reviews). Although only on offer once a year, they're worth reviewing... read more

  • Top 10 Causes of (& Solutions to) High Energy Bills

    If you've received a high energy bill you can end up feeling pretty helpless. I've spoken to many people over the years who think their high energy bill was caused by: an electricity leak, a faulty appliance, an incorrect utility meter, or even... read more