Jan 20, 2015: The GreenPower plot thickens

In our last Newsletter I wrote about the can of worms I dived into when I began looking into Switching To Green Power. Well things got even wrigglier when I received the following response from one of our readers. Mary is an energy auditor and consultant from Brisbane and she writes;
‘Hi Andy
I was interested to read your news this week regarding electricity.  I too have chosen AGL but have increasingly become concerned with my choice.  But what provokes this email is your thinking to go with Click.  I had a bad experience with them.
We have a house in Brisbane with solar panels on its roof since 2004.  We are fortunate to be in the Qld Solar Bonus Scheme, and continue to be, with the house now leased out, and we bill the tenants when they draw excess from the grid. 
We decided to go to Click as part of the “Big Switch” and right from the start it did not work.  I am not a fan of monthly billing, and find it is an excuse for big companies to hold onto money that is generated from the power plants WE OWN on our roofs.  So, for us, what happened with Click was that it ended up with being over $1000 in credit which they would not release, and we had to go to the Ombudsman to get our money back.
Unfortunately it all went very badly for us then.  We went back to AGL, who treated us like a completely new customer, and we lost power for a full weekend, at a critical time, and it took a lot of threats to get the electricity back on, on the Monday.  We also got cut off the Solar Bonus scheme, which was wrong, as we had not changed names, or discontinued supply, only changed retailers.  That took another massive amount of time,plus a statutory declaration,  to get that reinstated.  
So, now that we have tenants in the house, and live interstate, when I read about AGL I have made the decision that for now we will stay with them as the retailer as we cannot risk the tenants losing power, and trying to deal with it all from Sydney.  AGL too, suddenly changed us over again to monthly estimates and it was impossible to manage as a landlord, and they hold over the credits until the next bill.  We must have a thick file with them, as I have just had to get billing changed back to quarterly, only on the quarterly read, credits to us, excess billed to the tenants.  So with Click, if you do go with them, find out how they pay the credits, and if you can get it in writing.
I realise that these issues are different for you, but just wanted to tell you to be wary going with Click.
Keep up the great work, and writing.
Best wishes
What Mary is referring to is the policy of Click Energy (and others) to take a $50 per month pre-payment on their customers electricity bill. Theoretically this will be reconciled at the end of each quarter and, if your account is in credit, they will not deduct $50 the next month. But it sounds like, at least in Mary’s case, they simply kept on deducting $50/month regardless of the balance of the account.
I’m very glad to have received this warning from Mary before I signed up with Click. Now I’m not sure what I’ll do but I’ll probably take another look at Diamond Energy who got the highest rating from Greenpeace and who source all their energy from renewables. The cost for us would still be less than we are paying AGL for GreenPower and Diamond Energy do not require monthly prepayments (as far as I know).
I’ll keep you posted…
p.s. if this isn’t making much sense you might want to read our previous Newsletter about Switching To Green Power.

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