Trouble with the Electricity Bill


If your electricity bill kept increasing no matter what you did, what would you do? This happened to a New Zealand man over a period of six years. He complained repeatedly about his electricity bill, and even though he used less and less electricity, his power bill still increased.

In the meantime, his neighbour had an increase in the number of people living there, but their electricity bill went down. It wasn’t until 2017 that an electrician took a look at the meter box and discovered that the wires for the two houses had been accidentally switched. The electricity company offered the man a refund of $2,106, but the man would not accept this. He felt that the company should also compensate him for poor service as they had not taken his complaints seriously.

The case went to mediation with an organisation called Utilities Disputes. They agreed that the man should be paid $1,200 compensation because the electricity company did not take the man’s repeated complaints seriously. This brought the total compensation up to $3,000.

Utilities Disputes deals with about 2,000 disputes about electricity and gas each year, and more than half of those relate to billing and customer service.


no matter what: regardless

take a look: examine

switch: swap, exchange

compensate: if you hurt someone, you can compensate by giving them something nice. Compensation is one way to get justice.

take something seriously: if you take someone/something seriously, you believe it and take action.

go to mediation: if you can’t agree with someone, you might get help from a neutral person. The person who helps you both to negotiate is a mediator. You can take your problem to mediation.

dispute: a disagreement or argument is a dispute. Dispute is a term usually used in a legal context.

billing: the business of writing bills, or invoices, for customers.

Spelling challenge:

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