Mel Kuilboer is not happy after receiving a powerbill totaled at more than $400 up from the same time last year.
Mel Kuilboer is not happy after receiving a powerbill totaled at more than $400 up from the same time last year.

Class action call after shock power bills

ANGRY  Townsville residents are demanding a class action against the city's only electricity supplier after receiving bills more than double the usual price.

Many frustrated Townsville residents have taken to social media after opening their bills last month to find they had been slugged double or triple the amount of their last bill.

Alice River resident Melissa Kuilboer has lived in the same four-bedroom house with her partner and four-year-old son for four years.

She said her bill for the last quarter was $1200 when the average for her household was usually $600-$700.

Ms Kuilboer said the family tried to be as energy-conscious as possible.

"During the big wet last year, we had four air cons all on and our fans running 24 hours for weeks and the bill was only $800," she said. "Now, we are doing the same thing as we always do, we don't have any extra people in the house and we are not doing anything out of the ordinary and the bill goes up $400."

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Ms Kuilboer contacted Ergon Energy, which said she needed to undertake her own power analysis.

"You can't do anything about Ergon so when the class action was being mentioned (on Facebook) I thought, I will be straight in on that to try and come to an explanation where this power consumption is coming from," she said.

It is a similar story for Julia Bell and her partner, whose electricity bill more than doubled in the last quarter for their 270sq m Kelso home.

Ms Bell received a $1385.02 bill last month compared to $607 for the previous quarter.

The couple has always received a bill in credit due to the 22 solar panels on the roof, until the two last bills.

Ms Bell has contacted Ergon five times and was told to "to go through all your appliances and work out which one is chewing the most power".

"I rang Ergon up and the lady said that it is correct because I thought they must have just done an estimate," she said.

"I said: 'How is that right if our previous bill for the exact same stuff that we used has more than doubled?' "

An Ergon Energy spokeswoman said electricity consumption was assessed on a "case-to-case basis".

"Electricity use is highly variable across our customer base," she said. "In the hotter months in Queensland, and especially during heatwaves, airconditioning has a significant impact on electricity use."



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