JOHN Osborne was expecting his gas bill to be a few hundred dollars — instead, it was $2933.
“I was just about shocked out of my mind,” the retired second-hand machinery dealer said.
Figuring a mistake by his power company, Origin, was the only explanation, Mr Osborne called up to get to the bottom of his mammoth bill.
After explaining what had happened, he was told by an operator that his bill would be investigated.
“They apologised profusely and they put a lock on my bill,” Mr Osborne, 74, said.
“They told me it won’t be charged to me until they’ve investigated it.”
But regardless of whether the bill is proved to be a mistake, as Mr Osborne expects, he remains upset that it was allowed to be sent to him.
“It bloody concerns me because I don’t have the money to pay it,” he said.
“It’s annoying because it has come to me and when it comes you think you have to pay.”
Mr Osborne had a new gas metre installed at his Lavington home about two months ago.
But it was installed after the period covered by his massive bill, the 60 days from October 9 to December 7.
According to the bill, Mr Osborne used 3388 megajoules of gas and emitted 13.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas over the period compared to just 63 megajoules and 0.2 tonnes for the corresponding period in 2011.
With only a gas hot water system, gas cooking and a gas heater that he doesn’t use, in his home, Mr Osborne is struggling to comprehend why his bill was so high.
“Why it has spiked from October to December, buggered if I know,” he said.
“I have no intention of paying $2933.”
The pensioner has lived with his wife Janice, who has cancer, in the same home for the past 50 years and has never had a bill close to his latest one.
When contacted by The Border Mail yesterday, an Origin spokesman said until the investigation was completed the company couldn’t say whether the bill had been a mistake and if it was, how it had happened.
Editorial — page 14