Wagga residents seething at unusually high power bills from Origin Energy

Brooke Jacobson and her husband Shane Jacobson received power bills totalling more than $2600. Picture: Kieren L.Tilly
Brooke Jacobson and her husband Shane Jacobson received power bills totalling more than $2600. Picture: Kieren L.Tilly

Imagine moving interstate to a regional city with your partner, settling in and just getting comfortable when at the end of your first quarter, you receive a power bill for about $2600.

That was the case of Brooke Jacobson and her husband Shane Jacobson.

The two moved from Queensland and have been living in Mt Austin since April. They received a power bill at the end of May totalling $80 then subsequently received a bill for $2600 in August for the July quarter.

“We were shocked. All that runs on gas is the hot water, cooking and heating which we only ran for a few hours a night,” Mrs Jacobson said.

“We called Origin Energy to see if there was a gas leak or problem. They told us there wasn’t a problem and they were going to check for a gas leak but they never got back to us.

“We’re going to have to go on a payment plan because we can’t afford to pay that amount all in one hit.”

It was a similar story for James Stanbridge from Lake Albert. Also with Origin, he received a $750 electricity bill for winter usage from mid-May to August this year.

But he couldn’t understand why he received a $1015 bill from August to October when he used “half the appliances” over that time than he did in winter.

“From May to August, I used the dryer, the heater every day for at least four hours and my partner and I used the electric blanket pretty much every night,” he said.

“After that bill, I hadn’t used the heater, dryer or electric blanket as much. To get a bill $250 more expensive left me shocked and disappointed.

“I just asked for an extension on the bill because I don’t know what to do now. I have to spend money for Christmas, I’m saving for a wedding and am putting $300 a fortnight to pay it off.”

An Origin Energy spokesman said Mr Stanbridge’s bills were based on “actual meter reads” and there had been higher usage rates at the premises “compared to the same period last year and to the last quarter”.

Origin Energy are further investigating Mrs Jacobson’s bills.