By now, we should know that a number of things can happen to cause a perceived high bill; your meter might have been incorrectly read, your meter may need recalibration, or the good old marketer has not shown up to your door in forever. Whatever it is, receiving a perceived overestimated bill does not call for immediate agitation. You should know that as an electricity consumer, you can dispute a perceived overestimated bill. This article guides you in handling overestimated billing issues.
While the electricity company is reviewing your claim, you are not expected to pay the disputed amount. However, you are required to pay the last undisputed bill to prevent disconnection. It would also help to use energy efficient appliances, this will not only reduce your bill but also make it easy for you to calculate your bills yourself so you have an idea on what to expect.
To dispute an overestimated bill and prevent it from happening again, you can follow these steps:
- Write a letter to your DisCo stating dissatisfaction with the bill and asking for reconciliation. The letter should be addressed to the head of the local office or the head of the customer service department of your DISCO. But first, read your bill carefully to make sure you understand every detail. This will help you lay the right complaint and give the right figures when disputing the received bill.
- Speak to a customer service representative from the DisCo- Before doing that, get all relevant information such as your account number, account name and location ready. On reaching the representative, write down his/her name, date and time you called for record purposes. Taking notes during the conversation might help, especially for follow up.
- State that you’re disputing your bill, go further to explain a valid reason for the dispute. Generally, you will not be at risk of disconnection if you formally dispute the bill and pay any undisputed amount.
- Request for a meter reading. If your bill was an estimate rather than based on a direct reading, you can request a reading. If you do not have a meter, ask for a load analysis to be done. Keep in mind that you are still responsible for paying your bill, regardless of whether it is estimated or actual. Even if you disputed part of the bill, you must pay an amount during an entire billing cycle (as received per month).
- Request a meter accuracy test- if your bill was based on a direct reading, you can ask the DisCo to test the meter and make sure it is functioning properly.
- Pay the undisputed part of the bill- while the dispute is ongoing, you must continue to pay at least part of the bill. It shows good faith and if your DISCO has been overbilling you they will have to refund eventually.
- You should also conduct your own load analysis, look behind every appliance in your home to find the power rating, take the number in watts. You can add up all the wattage yourself.
When they provide you with a final reading, request for the hours of supply, when you multiply those hours of supply with the total load reading, 60% of the value gives you the range of what your estimation should be.
- If you are unsatisfied with the result of the bill reconciliation with you DisCo, you can forward the complaint to NERC through their forum. You can find the nearest NERC forum here