Commander Electricity: FAQs - Commander

Commander Electricity FAQs

There are a number of requests that always seem to come up when people are dealing with Electricity and Gas, to make things easier for you (and us), we have created a list of these questions and answers.

Your Commander Electricity & Gas Bill

My bill was higher than I expected. What could be the reason? Navigation Show below Hide below

My bill was higher than I expected. What could be the reason?
There are many reasons why your electricity bill could be higher than you expected. There are a few questions you can ask yourself, which help you investigate why your bill is higher than expected.

Increased consumption

  • Was it colder or hotter than usual, did you use heaters or air-conditioners more than usual?
  • Did you have additional people staying with you?
  • Have you brought any new appliances, needed to fix an existing appliance or operate an existing appliance for longer than usual?

Correct comparisons

  • Are you comparing bills from similar billing periods? You use different appliances during certain periods of the year such as heaters or air conditioners.
  • Are you entitled to a concession? Are you comparing your current bill to a previous bill where a concession was included? Some concessions are seasonal and won't be applied to all bills.
  • Are the bills you are comparing of similar length? For example, one billing period may have been for fewer days while the next is for longer. Divide the total of your current charges by the number of days on each bill to find your daily average and compare those figures.

Actual vs. Estimated Meter Reads

  • Have you considered that your last or current bill might have been an estimated one, followed by an actual? A previous estimate may have been estimated too low resulting in a higher bill once the meter is read. If you need help determining this call our Contact Centre on 133 914.

Options. If you feel the meter has not been read accurately, we recommend the following options:

  1. Read your meter, check to see if your current reading is more than the reading on your bill. If it is less than the reading on your bill then call us.
  2. You can call us to request a special meter reading, which will require the meter reader to return to your property to read the meter again. A fee may be charged if you proceed with this option and the meter reading is found to be correct.
  3. After all other options have been exhausted you can request the meter to be tested. A fee does apply for this test which will only be charged if it is deemed that there is nothing wrong with the meter.

How do I pay my Commander Power & Gas account? Navigation Show below Hide below

You can call us on 13 39 14 and pay over the phone via credit card (American Express & Diners 4.125% surcharge applies), payment in person at an Australia Post outlet (a fee may apply) and we also accept payment via bPay.

What should I do if I have problems with my electricity supply? Navigation Show below Hide below

If your supply is disrupted or interrupted or you are experiencing any type of fault or failure, you should contact the faults number on your bill. If you cannot find that number then call us on 133 914 and we will transfer you to your distributor. If you call outside our business hours of 8am-6pm you will be transferred to the National Response Centre.

Feedback and Complaints

If you have a complaint relating to our service, please contact us and we will respond quickly and work to satisfy your concerns. Click here.
Commander Power & Gas aims to resolve all telephone enquiries and complaints at the initial contact stage. If we are unable to do so, we will notify you immediately and advise you when the matter is resolved. All written enquiries are answered within five business days.

How I will receive my bills? Navigation Show below Hide below

Commander Power & Gas will send you an email letting you know your bill is available to be viewed using our account management system. If you wish to receive a printed bill in the mail, there is a charge of $2.95 per bill charged quarterly for electricity bills and $2.95 per bill charged bimonthly for gas bills.

What if I am unhappy with your resolution? Navigation Show below Hide below

If you feel the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, please request to have your complaint referred to a higher level. If you still believe that your enquiry has not been satisfactorily resolved, you can contact the ombudsman in your state;

  • Victoria - the Energy and Water Ombudsman on 1800 500 509 or visit their website www.ewov.com.au
  • New South Wales
  • South Australia

What is an NMI? Navigation Show below Hide below

Your National Meter Identifier (NMI) is a unique number that is assigned to each premise and links your electricity meter with your premise. All energy retailers must include the NMI on their electricity bill.

Does my bill include GST? Navigation Show below Hide below

Yes, your electricity charges are subject to GST. However, if there are any debits or credits on your bill that do not include GST, we will highlight these items should they occur.

What can I do if my account seems too high? Navigation Show below Hide below

There are many reasons why your electricity bill could be higher than you expected. These can all impact on your electricity consumption or reading and add up to a higher bill than expected.

  • Has anyone been home during the day more than previously?
  • Have any additional people moved in or visited with you?
  • Have you purchased or used a new appliance or began operating an existing appliance for a longer period due to seasonal temperatures such as Heaters or Air Conditioning?
  • Are you comparing your current bill to a previous bill where a concession was included (for example, the Victorian Winter Energy Concession is only applicable for bills issued during the months of May - October).

What is an Estimated and Actual Meter Read? Navigation Show below Hide below

As a retailer, Commander Power & Gas does not read your meter; we rely on the relevant network distributors for meter readings. Once your meter is read we will use the information to calculate your bill.

The meter reader will endeavour to read your meter on the scheduled date. However, in some cases a meter reading cannot be obtained so instead of an actual meter reading, we will receive an estimated reading. There are strict rules and guidelines that govern how and when your bills may be estimated.

Why are bills estimated? Navigation Show below Hide below

Bills are normally estimated because the meter reader could not get to your meter. Possible reasons why your meter could not be read, resulting in an estimated bill includes:

  • The meter is inside and there was nobody available to give access when the meter reader tried to read your meter.
  • Locked gate. The meter is behind a locked gate and there was nobody home when the meter reader tried to access your meter.
  • Blocked access. There may have been an obstruction preventing the reader getting to the meter (e.g. garden waste).
  • Dog. The meter reader feels threatened by a dog, which prevents the reader getting to the meter. Keep in mind it is not that your dog may have a good or bad temperament, but whether the reader feels their personal safety may be at risk.
  • Legally, you are required to maintain clear access to the meters on your premises.

I have received an estimated bill, what are my options? Navigation Show below Hide below

If you have received an estimated bill you can check your current meter reading (call us if you need help with this) and compare it with the estimated reading on your bill. You may find the estimated bill is in line with the current reading.

If you are unhappy with the estimated bill then a special meter reading can be requested at a charge. Based on this reading, any difference can be reconciled to ensure that you pay for no more than the energy you have actually consumed over the billing period. Or you can wait until your next bill where a meter reading will reconcile your consumption on the next bill, ensuring you only pay for the energy you have actually used.

How do I arrange a special meter reading? Navigation Show below Hide below

If you want to arrange a special reading to correct an estimated bill or to check a current reading, then call our Contact Centre on 1300 857 073. We would be happy to arrange an appointment for a special meter reading at your premises. This can take place anytime during business hours, Monday to Friday. Appointment dates and times are set by your distributor so we may not be able to accommodate all requested timeframes.

Please contact 1300 857 073 (from 8am to 6pm AEST Monday to Friday) to arrange a convenient time to allow us access to your meter.

Please be advised there is a fee associated with this type of reading.

What are energy charges? Navigation Show below Hide below

Your energy charges are the charges for the actual electricity that you consume.

What will happen if there is not enough money in my account when my installment is due? Navigation Show below Hide below

Any defaulted payments will result in a dishonour fee being charged to your account, if you know there will be insufficient funds in your account, you may cancel the direct debit payment by calling us at least three business days before the due date.

What if I don't agree with the amount due? Navigation Show below Hide below

If you don't agree with the amount of the settlement payment then let us know at least three business days before the payment is due to be processed and we will not debit the disputed amount to your account until it has been resolved. However, we may ask you to pay any undisputed amounts.

Can I cancel my Direct Debit agreement? Navigation Show below Hide below

Yes, you can cancel your direct debit agreement by calling or writing to notify us at least three business days prior to your next payment date. If you cancel your direct debit agreement, you will need to organise a new way of paying your instalments in line with your market contract.

Do I have a choice about who my retailer is? Navigation Show below Hide below

Some States have introduced full retail competition (FRC). In states where FRC has been introduced between different energy suppliers, you can purchase your electricity from the licensed energy retailer of your choice.

What are non-energy charges? Navigation Show below Hide below

Non-Energy Charges cover other costs relating to the supply of electricity. We pay these charges on your behalf.

These costs include the physical "delivery" of electricity to your premises - often referred to as the Network Tariff. All Non-Energy Charges are either imposed by, or are controlled and regulated by government, a regulator, or network distributor.

What if I change my account details? Navigation Show below Hide below

If at any time you wish to change your bank or personal details, please advise us as soon as possible before your next payment date.

Do I have a choice about who my retailer is? Navigation Show below Hide below

,p>A distributor is responsible for maintaining and operating or electricity poles and wiring within a specific geographical location. Because of this, you are unable to change your distributor unless you move to another area.

What is the Service to Property Charge or Daily Charges? Navigation Show below Hide below

For electricity, the service to property charge may cover part of the provision and maintenance of the meters, poles, wires and billing and some retail operating costs. It is applicable to each electricity account.

If I change my retailer, will the quality of my supply be affected? Navigation Show below Hide below

When you change retailers, your electricity continues to be supplied through your current distributor's electricity poles and wires. Because it is the distributor who is responsible for the quality of your supply, there won't be any change.

Having difficulty in paying your account? Navigation Show below Hide below

Please call our Contact Centre on 1300 857 073 before the due date of your next account or instalment to discuss our range of options to help you pay your account.

What is a Pay on time Discount?  Navigation Show below Hide below

A Pay on Time Discount, is a discount on Market contracts that is provided, where your bill is paid by the due date.

The amount of the Pay on Time Discount will be shown on Your Bill (if applicable), along with the Date that the bill must be paid by in order for the Discount to be applied.

Commander Electricity Pay on Time Discount is applied to the usage component of the Bill, after any applicable concessions have been deducted.

What types of energy contracts are there? Navigation Show below Hide below

Market contract

A market contract is a contract negotiated between you and a retailer. Unlike a deemed or standing offer contracts, the Essential Services Commission does not oversee the terms and conditions, and the prices do not have to be published by the retailer. Market contracts may have a fixed term (generally between one and three years).

Standing Offer contract

This is a contract where the contract terms are approved by the Essential Services Commission and at prices that are periodically published by each retailer and are available on their websites. Standing Offer contracts must be offered to you by the retailer who is Financially Responsible for the energy supplied to the meter, where you do not want to have a Market contract with a retailer of your choice.

If you do not know who is responsible is for your meter, you can call your distributor, who is able to determine which retailer is responsible.

Deemed contract

This is the type of contract you will be on if move into a premises, start consuming energy, and do not enter into a specific contract with a retailer. A deemed contract will be between you and the retailer who is Financially Responsible for the meter at the premise.

Deemed and Standing Contracts have Terms and Conditions that are approved by the Essential Services Commission and prices that are periodically published by each retailer and are available on their websites.

Dual fuel contract

Dual fuel contracts are a special type of market contract where you buy your electricity from one retailer and your billing cycles for electricity are synchronised. Commander Power & Gas does not offer dual fuel contracts.

What are loss factors? Navigation Show below Hide below

Electricity is lost in the course of transmission from the generator to your site. In simple terms, the further electricity has to travel from the generators, along transmission and distribution lines, to your site, the more electricity needs to be transmitted to compensate for this loss.

The calculation that determines how much customers pay for this are called loss factors. Loss factors for your geographical area remain the same regardless of which retailer you choose.

How do I understand my bill? Navigation Show below Hide below

We have prepared this guide to help you understand your electricity bill.

Click here to download the bill explainer.

What should I consider when choosing a supplier? Navigation Show below Hide below

You reasons for choosing a particular supplier can be varied but there are some important factors to consider.

Rates/Tariffs/Prices.

Your electricity bill is calculated using several different components. These include distribution charges, regulated market charges, supply charges and GST as well as the cost of the energy used. When you compare different rates it is important you take into account all aspects of your bill.

Payment options

Do the payment options the retailer offers suit your financial situation.

Service

With today's fast paced lifestyle you want to know you are going to receive good service no matter whom you are dealing with. You need to know you will get a fast, reliable response when you have a question, or want advice or information.

Other Considerations

Some of the other things to look for when comparing energy offers are any early termination or exit fees that may apply, and any other discounts, charges and services which will be included in the market contract.

What are energy charges? Navigation Show below Hide below

Energy is measured as follows:

  • Electricity - watt hour
  • 3.6 megajoules = 1 kilowatt hour

Electricity Energy Units:

  • 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) = 1 thousand watt hours
  • 1 megawatt hour (MWh) = 1 thousand kilowatt hours
  • 1 gigawatt hour (GWh) = 1 thousand megawatt hours

How do I transfer my electricity supply to Commander? Navigation Show below Hide below

You can arrange your transfer by calling our Contact Centre on 133 914, our friendly sales staff will not only organise your electricity connection they can also discuss your internet and telecommunication needs.

Please have the full address of your premise, identification, such as your driver's licence number, at least one contact phone number available and have your energy bills handy.

You can also complete an online sign up form and our Customer Service team will promptly action your request.

Do I need to install a new meter if I move to a market contract? Navigation Show below Hide below

No. You will not have to install a new meter, even if you change retailer.

How do I arrange to get my electricity connected? Navigation Show below Hide below

You can arrange connection by calling our Contact Centre on 133 914, our friendly sales staff will not only organise your electricity connection they can also discuss your internet and telecommunication needs.

Please have the full address of your new premises, identification, such as your driver's licence number, and at least one contact phone number available. Make sure you give at least two business days notice to allow us time to organise your connection.

Moving premises Navigation Show below Hide below

You are able to finalise your account by calling our Contact Centre on 133 914, please try to give at least three business days’ notice. When you call, have your current account number and full address of the premises you are moving to available.

What are my cooling-off rights? Navigation Show below Hide below

If you change your mind after entering into a contract you can change your mind without penalty for a certain period after you have entered the contract (called "cooling off"). Generally, you have 10 days to cancel a market contract, without incurring any fees or charges.

If you cancel a market contract within this "cooling-off" period, you will continue to be charged for the energy you use under the terms of your existing energy contract.