BERYL Burke became suspicious about the figures on her electricity bill when she noticed an unexplained ‘hump’ over the summer months.
As a result, the Coffs Harbour pensioner picked up her calculator, pulled out her accounts from October 2010 to April 2011, did her sums and rang her electricity supplier, AGL.
After her detailed explanation, the result of her detective work was an apology and the news she was entitled to a credit.
Now Mrs Burke wants to alert other electricity consumers to take a good, long look at their bills, pull out their own calculators and make sure they have not been overcharged.
If they have any doubts, she said they should make inquiries.
“I may not be the only one affected,” Mrs Burke said.
“It could be an expensive mistake for people on a limited budget.
“A phone call is not going to hurt.
“I have worked with computers and big companies don’t do single data entry, so it is worth asking if is a data entry or pre-programmed.”
Mrs Burke noticed that her bill went up in January at the same time as her NSW Energy Concession discount went way down.
“I thought ‘that’s crazy – did the government run out of money or something’, ” she said.
She said it had been more difficult to work out what had happened because the layout of the account had been changed and there were two rate changes during one billing period.