Former Ophir Electricity employee warns of possible issues with bills

CONCERN: Communications engineering consultant Robert Alford encourages people to check their electricity bills for anomalies. Photo: JUDE KEOGH                                                                                                            	                                                                                            0628power1

CONCERN: Communications engineering consultant Robert Alford encourages people to check their electricity bills for anomalies. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0628power1

A FORMER Ophir Electricity employee has encouraged people to check their electricity bills due to possible anomalies with Origin Energy. 

Clergate resident Tony Roser approached the Central Western Daily last week after the electricity readings on his bills no longer reflected the reading on his meter.

Communications engineering consultant Robert Alford, who formerly worked for Ophir Electricity, was moved to help Mr Roser after reading his story. 

“The issue with the customer is related to the method of metering that was used by the old supply authority, Ophir Electricity,” he said.

“All rural properties were metered with what was called master metering at the point where electricity supply was connected to the property.

“Other users on the property, tenants or special tariff for hot water, would be subtracted from the master meter.

“This process worked for many years with Ophir Electricity, Advance Energy and Country Energy.”

However, Mr Alford said Origin Energy could not process accounts with master meters after it purchased customers from Country Energy. 

“There would be a large number of rural customers in this area that now have the same problem,” he said.

“What they are being billed may be correct, but they have no way of comparing the meter readings at the meter to the meter reading on the bill for the master meter.”

Mr Alford said a lack of face-to-face contact with providers made resolving issues difficult.

Mr Roser has approached Origin several times and made a complaint to the NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman, but the situation remains unresolved.

“They probably need a more human face, but that’s the old way of doing things,” Mr Alford said.

“I think it’s got to go to [member for Orange] Andrew Gee. We need to have a look at what is going on because they’re trying to sell off electricity assets and it’s going to get worse.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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