Tuesday, December 2, 2008

AGL just as bad in South Australia

AN elderly South Australian Housing Trust resident was so upset to receive a quarterly electricity bill for almost $4500 she ended up in hospital. Greenwith widowed pensioner Wilma Verneulem, 72, yesterday told The Advertiser she was stunned to open an account from energy provider AGL demanding $4489.71 for just three months of electricity use.

Residents in a group of six units where Mrs Verneulem has lived since 1993 said it was the final straw in a Housing Trust and electricity supplier bungle that has been ongoing for more than a decade.

An advocate for the residents, Doug Eadon, yesterday said over the years people living in the group of six units at Nellan Dare Court had received electricity bills for all of the units in one of their names.

"It is beyond a joke – Wilma was taken to the Modbury Hospital the other day with high blood pressure because of all the stress about this," Mr Eadon said.

After inquiries by The Advertiser yesterday, an AGL spokeswoman said the utility would contact Mrs Verneulem to "sincerely apologise for the incorrect high bill". She said the error was due to a "mismatch between the distributor's meters at Mrs Verneulem's property".

"As a consequence, incorrect consumption was calculated which resulted in the high bill," she said. "Due to the inconvenience caused, AGL will waive the outstanding charges."

Opposition housing spokeswoman Vickie Chapman yesterday said a State Government policy to charge tenants for an essential service without giving them independent meters caused such problems.

Housing Minister Jennifer Rankine said there would be an inspection today by Housing SA officers to "ensure the residents are happy".

Source