Thursday, November 4, 2010

What your Power company desperately tries to hide...

Yes that's correct, we're discussing what your Power company desperately tries to hide -
Your Power company actually  has NO idea what meter is at your house.  Before we go any further I'll briefly explain why meters matter -
Meters measure the quantity of electricity going through them.
Power companies bill different meters art different rates.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the simple fact is that different meters are charged different rates.

So you would think that your power company would know what meter is at your property.  The truth is that they don't.
The reason for this is that 90% of the meters in New Zealand are owned by third parties.  The largest of these parties is AMS (advanced meter services) an organisation that doesn't even need its own website.

Almost all electricity retailers have lease arrangements with these third parties for these meters.  This lease arrangement means when you switch electricity companies the meter remains on the site.

However what happens is that your old electricity company passes on the meter information that they hold to the new electricity company.
This information is never checked by the meter owner (i.e. AMS).  And with some retailers they manually process this information.

What this means is if you shift house, lets say you move to 9 Jones Crescent, you call up your retailer, Genesis and say "I've moved to 9 Jones Crescent, please supply my power" the person in the Genesis contact centre will say "certainly, this property is currently supplied by Contact Energy, we can certainly supply you with electricity, but the switching process will take 6-8 weeks".

What happens is that the 'back office' of Genesis Energy will manually write out the details about the property, and send this in an email to Contact energy.  Contact Energy will locate their details about 9 Jones Crescent, and manually send the metering details to Genesis Energy.  Genesis Energy will then manually by hand input these details into their database.

The number of times a mistake is made is HUGE.  The number of times a meter is entered incorrectly and the customer is billed incorrectly is HUGE.  

This post is turning long, so we'll stop it here and continue tomorrow.  Hopefully you can see why the errors are made, tomorrow we'll talk about why these errors are not picked up upon, and what you can do.

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