Bill demands just 44 cents

ORIGIN Energy has threatened to cut power to an Armidale customer over an outstanding bill of 44 cents.

The energy provider gave Michelle Britt five days to pay the outstanding amount. She was “blown away” to receive the registered letter asking her to pay the bill.

“I’m going to get the letter framed,” she said.

“At first I was offended and very annoyed but then I realised how ridiculous the whole thing was and now I think it is very funny.”

Mrs Britt and her husband moved to Armidale in August and received her first quarterly bill, due in December.

But she failed to pay her account on time, an Origin spokeswoman said.

Mrs Britt was charged $550.44, but initially only paid $550. She said she contacted Origin after paying her bill and inquired about the extra 44¢.

An Origin employee told Mrs Britt the amount would be added to her next bill.

But she was shocked when the notice of disconnection arrived in her mailbox on Tuesday, informing her if she didn’t pay the outstanding balance “within five business days, we may have to disconnect your electricity supply”.

Origin Energy has since agreed to waive the 44¢ as a sign of good will.

The Origin spokeswoman said the issue was part of a larger process because Mrs Britt hadn’t paid her bill on time. 

“In this instance, the disconnection process was triggered by non-payment of an earlier outstanding amount, not 44¢,” the spokeswoman said.

Disconnection was always the last resort and only occurred after numerous attempts to engage the customer.

“It’s important that customers pay outstanding amounts in full or contact us to make alternate arrangements. 

“We are happy to discuss payment arrangements with customers who may be having difficulty meeting their energy costs but it’s important that customers engage with us throughout this process,” she said.

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