Friday, September 30, 2011

Would You Ever Use Origin Energy?

Image Courtesy

My power went out yesterday. With a big bang.

Everyone else in the complex had power. I checked the switch board for the safety switch. No, all good there. I phoned 'Origin', my electricity provider. No all good there....account is actually in credit.

Wandered around to see if any workmen might have accidentally cut something important while doing their stuff. Nope. Collected my mail.

"Your electricity has been disconnected today... right now, actually... go directly to jail.... and thanks for coming". What?

I phoned Energex....the people who cut my power off. They informed me that they received written advice from Origin, my provider, to do so. It was 3.30pm by now and they informed me that, no matter what, there would be no way that I would have power again by nightfall. Tears. I had just been grocery shopping and I had a fridge full of food for my hungry boys, frozen meals in the freezer made by caring friends and to break my heart further, my boys lizards have 15 eggs hatching under a electricity run heat lamp. Boys + lizards + no electricity = more crying.

I rang Origin back. "What, you're at number 45 street? Your account says number 36 street. Your account is for number 36. We have no account for number 45". Ok, so Origin, what meter have you been reading to calculate the bills I have been paying? There is no 36 in this street. Umm, errr.

On hold. On my mobile. For 1 hour by now.

I cried. As you do. When you're female. And sitting in a corridor with your mobile plugged into the power point that the cleaners use. And this is just the last thing you need. And you have baby lizards needing heat. And a fridge full of fresh (but soon not to be) food.

Went and retrieved 'cranky site manager who hates my boys' and he opened up the meter box... yep, there were all the meters... and mine?... fuses removed, padlocked and taped. He had opened it earlier for the Energex guy and happily stood there letting him cut off my power!!!!! I retrieved the meter number and informed Origin. "Yep, that's the meter number we have been reading".... well that's at number 45.... the place you say you have no account for. The physical place that your meter reader has been attending to read the meter in order for you to bill me.

On hold. Again.

Meanwhile back in my memory banks. Hang on, the notices I have been receiving from Origin since August.... "You are an unauthorized user of power and hot water at number 45. Please contact us"... my replies were unanswered. My faxes and emails, with copies of my paid bills - unanswered. Even the one I sent 2 days ago that unfortunately included the word 'moron' in it. What about those?

On hold. Again.

2 hours later. "Umm, errr, we don't know what has happened. We're sorry for the mix up. We will get Energex to reconnect your electricity TOMORROW somewhere between the hours of 1pm and 6pm. Sorry about your food. Sorry about your boy's pets. We will be starting your account again and back billing you from the date in February in which you moved in". What? I have been paying my bills. "Yes, but that was on number 36. This is 45. You have been using power at 45 and it has to be paid for".

So my mobile phone bill for 2 hours on hold? The entire rotten contents of my fridge? And the impending one year bill for electricity that I have used at number 45 for the past year? I have to pay for it all ??????? So where is my money for the bills I have been paying at your ficticious number 36? Where are the replies to all my correspondence that said, "there is someone living here... this is me.... here are my paid bills".


What an expensive mistake. All at my cost. I will be getting my electricity connected and then closing my account with them. Today. I am looking for another electricity provider.

As my boys would say, "Origin???..... EPIC FAIL".

I am typing from a bed, not in my apartment. My boys and I were kindly taken waifs.
I am heading back this morning to clear out all my rotten food and check on the lizard babies.

There, I feel better now. I am sending a link to this post ... to Origin.


  1. OMG! What???? You poor thing! I would have been frantic. I don't blame you! What a shit day you had. Stick it to 'em baby!! Thinking of you xoxox

  2. Dear A-M I cannot believe they would do such a thing to you. I Hope you can get in touch with the ombudsman to sort out this awful mess. They should be at cost not you A-M.

    Please take care, hoping the baby lizards survive.
    Thinking of you.
    Love you lots xoxoxoxo

  3. I was going to say OMG AM, but Katrina beat me to it! holy cow. what a drama. We switched from Origin (after receiving disconnection notices after bills had been paid) to Integral, who offer a straight 10% off your bill every time. Then I find out when chatting to the lovely lady signing me up, that Origin had just bought out Integral!!! So, we'll see how it goes.
    Those dear little lizards and your poor fridge, it's so satisfying when you have a full fridge and you feel like such a good provider for the family don't you. so sorry for your bad day yesterday. sending you positive electrical currents today. Jane x

  4. This is appalling! Seriously A-M, you should contact A Current Affair or similar with this story. Good luck. x

  5. This is outrageous!! This is totally their fault and there is no way you should be paying for it.

    I'll be making sure I never use origin and warn everyone I know.

    How awful for you.
    Sending you lots of hugs!

  6. That really is apalling. Your poor thing. I'd be crying too. At least you can switch to another provider. In Tassie we don't have any choice as there's only Aurora and they jeep increasing their rates. Not good.
    I really hope the lizards are ok. I didn't know they had eggs. That's very exciting x

  7. I second what Thea said, definitely fire off an email to A Current Affair with a link to your blog post.

  8. I agree with what Thea said. Definitely fire off an email to A Current Affair with a link to your blog post.

  9. Origin always do door knocks in my area trying to get people to change providers. I know definitely that I will never be tempted after reading your sorry tale.

    I really feel for you. I would be so upset at such shoddy service! xx

  10. Ombudsman - that's my first port of call for anything like this. It's amazing how fast they back-pedal when the ombudsman is on their case.

    We had a similar issue with Tru Energy - they were apparently billing us for the wrong gas meter, and were sending us "unauthorised user" letters accusing us of stealing gas (like we could DO that - how would we have got the gas even connected if they didn't connect us???)

    When I sorted that out, there were constant billing mistakes, and then they failed to transfer a credit from our old account to our new one when we moved... that took another five phone calls and a couple of faxes to sort out.


    Just call the ombudsman first thing today.

  11. Oh A-M I have no words..well words I could write here! Origin you should be ashamed of yourselves but im sure if you take it further you will be compensated for their appalling customer service..SHAME ON YOU ORIGIN!!

  12. Dealing with corporations and their faceless phone jockeys is one of modern life's most frustrating events. You must be even more annoyed since you had responded to their letters and threats, and yet your missives must be laying around somewhere in some anonymous printing room.

    The people that we have to deal with in these situations, generally have no accountability, and quite often there is no follow through when you do make a call.

    My advice A-M is to take your problem to the top, and make as much noise about it as you can.

    I hope that you get resolution and recompense for the spoiled food at least!

    Good luck and chin up!!!


  13. Dear A-M, my hubby and I have also had major issues with Origin and incorrect billing. For 15 months they sent us accounts approx 4 times more than our average bills. They threatened to disconnect us unless we paid. We paid then disputed the accounts (4 times), got a credit note each time and was then billed the exact same amount the following week. Hopeless!

    The meter readings they were using to calculate our bills were totally fictious. Like you I spent many hours on the phone reading out the figures directly from the meter. Our bills were never sorted and we lost out financially. We moved to another company quick smart realising Origin could never get it right.

    I share your pain.

  14. Hello AM

    I am soooooooooooooo sorry you had to endure this.
    How absolutely absurd in a 21st century world.

    I know the emotions you felt yesterday as I was talking to you on the phone about it and you were so upset.


    This A-M will have a positive outcome - but the guff and crap you have to go through to get the result will be ridiculous.

    I thoroughly recommend to go to the electrical ombudsmen - I new an ombudsmen once and he told me they take all cases reported with value very seriously and investigate them all.

    Now you know I have an express road into Today - Tonight - lets do it!

    Glad the spaghetti you had in the freezer from me was eaten :)

    hugs and help



    I think you should speak to the ombudsman AND seeking damages!!!!
    Don't you dare pay them twice A-M!
    Sending you all my positive energy to help you be strong and deal with these fools!
    How outrageous!

  16. Oh my Gosh! Dear A-M, I don't even know what to say. Life can really suck sometimes. You hang in there and I hang in here, let's pray to survive and laugh about all of this in the future! Near future!
    Thinking about you and sending my love.

  17. Dreadful, forget A Current Affair. Go to the Ombudsman (when your power is on again). Itemise your fridge and freezer, take photos etc and write detailed notes on your circular conversations.

    Good luck. x

  18. A-M get onto the electricity ombudsman. I assume there is one in Qld. They are the best people to deal with this. I've had troubles in the past (in Vic) and have had positive results.
    If you've been paying then there will be a paper trail/account trail. Getonto the ombudsman right away. You're money's gone somewhere and they'll find it and give origin a slap.


  19. Well that's absolute nonsense that Origin is trying on. Unfortunately in these big corporations the left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing!
    Heaven forbid that commonsense would rule the day.
    Don't even get me started on Telco companies and their lack of accountability!!!!!!!
    Oh and the complex manager.....noice one bud.
    ps. glad to hear you are in fighting mode today sweets!

  20. totally write to the ombudsman, and seriously dont scrimp on the tally of costs. a colleague of mine did, and got everything back, plus more.

    good luck darl xxxx

  21. That's awful A-M. Bureaucratic bungling at its worst. And how horrible of the maintenance manager! He needs a life ;) I hope it gets sorted today. Vx

  22. As has previously been stated, Ombudsman, Ombudsman, Ombudsman. The electricity situation in this state has been very dodgy for quite some time (from a customer service point of view), even before deregulation. Given that you have all of the necessary documentation on hand, I suspect this will all be sorted (with reimbursement) quite quickly.

    Now, what of 'cranky site manager who hates my boys' - he knows who you are, didn't think to maybe mention something when he opened the meter box?? Loser.

    I am fuming on the inside, and wishing you the best of luck for a speedy resolution.


  23. This has happened to me too, they made an error and said they wouldn't reconnect my power for 3 days as they were busy.. and I was a 22 year old girl who lived on her own with no friends or family close by.. they are the pitts

  24. I'm sure you're all over this by now but this is the ombudsman you want:

    There is really good advice here about keeping records of everything if you're not doing that already:

    You seem to need to lodge a complaint and go through the retailer's complaints system unsuccessfully before the ombudsman will help.

    Good luck. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

  25. I am outraged. What a load of nonsense from Origin. Someone over there needs to get their act together ASAP.
    In the meantime, hang in there and take your mind to a happy place.

  26. My blood is boiling after reading this. I can just imagine the despair and frustration you must have felt last night. I hope you are properly recompensed for all of your out of pocket expenses and the impact it has had on you and your boys - and that your next energy provider is more efficient and customer friendly.

  27. That is the most appalling frustrating thing I have ever heard.You should contact A Current Affair immediately. You poor thing have a lovely weekend.

  28. In this order; Ombudsman, Insurance company (for spoilt food etc), New power supply company, send bill for lost time and money at your hourly rate and mobile phone cost (believe me we have done this and won on it) THEN a BIG glass of charddonay...or maybe you can start on the charddy sooner!
    Our power is being turned off next week for one day, at least we got notices! Grrrr to Origin, I switched years ago as they were useless. Energy AUstralia has the lowest tariffs!
    Hope the bubby lizards are ok.
    Good thing you didn't have medication needing refrigeration and good thing it's not summer yet! Phew for that! Go kick some butts!

  29. Good on you A-M for using your blog voice to draw attention to this appalling customer service. Big companies need to stop getting away with these practices.

  30. OMG! the bloody rotters.
    HUGE fail.
    breath deep A-M....breath deep.
    hugz from here.
    cheryl xox.

  31. I don't know about AU but in the states there's gov't regulation/public utilities commissions. And the press and tv. That's an awful why to run a public service company.

  32. OMG, disgraceful. Official complaint to Origin including a bill for your ruined food and mobile phone charges. Official complaint to the real estate agent you rent from and the Body Corporate. Then ombudsmen, Dept of Fair trading, Choice, A Current Affair/Today Tonight, Sunrise/Today Show, talkback radio and the Courier Mail. Keep all the emails/letters/bills and notices. Switch providers. Don't pay Origin another cent. Big corporations cannot be allowed to get away with this. Good luck and keep us posted.

  33. No way can they do that. Don't give up, take this further. Link this to Facebook somehow to and we can repost. Hope the lizards are ok.

  34. Bloody hell you don't need this! Let's get MOTH into this, his reputation to get action via a phone call to Not Customer Service is legendary. I know that by the time he is yelling 'Put your Manager on NOW!' a resolution is not far away. And then there's always A Current Affair - always a good trump card to play. Stay angry girl & you'll have the last laugh.
    Millie xx

  35. What a bloody nightmare!! Ridiculous, stupid, appalling... dickheads.

    I feel stressed just reading about what happened to you.

    Poor little lizard babies. Hope they're ok.

  36. Oh A-M, even more for you to endure! And all at the hands of a faceless, uncaring large corporation. Second on what Maria said. Best of luck and hugs, Di.

  37. What an awful situation. I'm sorry if someone has already suggested it, but you need to get on to the ombudsman stat.

  38. OMG! they are such idiots, so sorry for you. Our power went out over here aswell yesterday, no idea why, but it's back on now and must have been something silly. I can't believe this. Hope you don't have to pay for it. Hope the lizard eggs are all ok too. How Rubbish. Hope you get some good luck and have a really great weekend ;-)

  39. Sorry to hear about that A-M :(

    Before we moved into our new house we received a letter from Origin saying they would turn of our gas unless we create an account with them. I first thought it was a scam letter (we had gas through AGL!). After the second letter came through I emailed them asking if their letter was a joke. They then said it wasn't!!!! When I questioned why on earth they would disconnect our gas when we had an account with AGL they changed their story and said something about the previous tenant or something like that. Ugggj!

    A bunch of idiots if you ask me!


  40. Words fail me.....but not for those bureaucrats at Origin! Total nightmare....thinking of sounds like something that would happen in France....xv

  41. Totally outrageous!!! Get those authorities accountable for such incompetence. So sorry for the disruptions to you and your dear boys A-M.

    Christine xo

  42. OMG. I'm crying for you. Fight them tooth and nail over this one. I'm sure it's a story TT or ACA would LOVE to do.

  43. It makes me shake my head in wonder how people can get paid to create such a major stuff up! I'm sure the problem will be resolved eventually but the trauma and heart ache involved can never be. Linking your letter to Origin to your blog is a great idea. You are a 'somebody' and this type of incompetence just will not do! Good luck AM, stay strong and get onto that Ombudsman ASAP.
    x KL

  44. What Maria said ^^^ Bill the bastards for everything. There's no way they can charge you for a non-existent address and then not take the payments into account.

  45. I know the fight is exhausting A-M but you deserve better than this. Sounds like Origin Energy have Epic Fail Syndrome!!!

  46. You have my 100% sympathy. I had energex and origin so much for so many reasons. I once had a blackout for 3 days and was repeatedly told "power has been restored at your address" when it hadn't. I hope you find the right provider and get it sorted, problems like this drive me INSANE.

    AM the Universe owes you SUCH a break. You have had a challenging year to say the least.

  47. I can't add to anything that has already been said, you have had great advice already, how absolutely appalling for you and the boys.
    I hope it gets sorted ASAP.

  48. I can't add to anything that has already been said, you have had great advice already, how absolutely appalling for you and the boys.
    I hope it gets sorted ASAP.

  49. AM, write to the CEO of the company.

  50. i'm both angry and sympathetic to read this story AM. And it won't be the last time some sorry call centre bitch who barely speaks english does this to customers.

    They don't know what they are doing half the time, and they don't give a hoot about your inconvenience, because it doesn't affect their boring lives. Anyways, just get onto the ombudsman, draft a letter (copy and paste your post!) and get together a reasonable cost to you list, so you can claim an actual financial amount on your letter of complaint. I'm pretty sure Ombudsman says you have to write to the business first trying to settle the complaint, so I'd get that letter off Monday. I think you have to give them 30 days before you can move onto ombudsman.



  52. On you A-M, give em all you've got.
    I am truly sick to death of the sweetie pie companies like Origin and Telstra to name but a few of many, who really don't give a shit, (sorry).
    I had a very similar incident where I changed carriers and had both a gas and an electricity account which had always been one account with the first provider. I had by accident been only paying into the gas account for months on end, (and the only bill I ever got through the mail was the gas bill but it never had anywher on it it was just a gas bill). One day I came home on a Friday lunch time to no power in my house or office.
    Hours later after hours on my mobile phone they worked it out, they thought it odd I have been paying over $1000 into my gas account over a 4 month period but never paid my electric bill. Why idd they not put 2+2 together amazes me.
    No apology, (even though technically it was my fault).
    Power was back on that next morning but the damage had been done, design clients had called and left message to say was I still in business as my office phone was disconnected, not a good look.
    Hope your blog post give them a good kick up the ar-e.
    We are not just a number on a piece of paper.
    Felt your pain when reading your post, really glad to hear you are OK.
    keep well, warm wishes,

  53. Dear A-M,
    I found you by way of sweet Millie at the Hedge and wanted to lend support!
    Along with everyone else, I am horrified over reading what you are being put through, and through no fault of your own. It is unforgivable and quite actionable, legally. I hope you have electric by now and they better not charge you a dime - they better compensate you. Handsomely!!
    Shame on your super for letting them in the box without letting you know, too. Shame on Origin as well!
    it is disgusting that a public outcry that is potentially damning is the catalyst for them contacting you while your many letters and inquiries went unanswered deplorable customer service and disgusting treatment of a fellow human being.
    I hope you go after them, A-M!
    xo isa

  54. I didn't see this until now! We had a similar issue with AGL, they had the wrong meter number so sent Energex around to cut off our electricity. I think they are all hopeless.
    Good luck with getting it all sorted, so sad to hear about the lizard eggs and all your lovely meals.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx