An Auckland family couldn't believe their eyes when their power company billed them $760 for power usage for a single month.

Making matters worse for the family, for the previous two months they were only being billed $190 from the company.

Taha Saiwala said his family would have to make cuts elsewhere if he couldn't get to the bottom of his power bill confusion with provider, Energy Online.

"I'm talking with them at the moment about why we got such a big bill," he told the Herald.


"The first two bills were $190 and they said 'we were just estimating you bills so they weren't going by the meter'.

"I'm going to take a picture of my meter and send it to them and check we're actually reading the same meter."

Elsewhere, a boarding house in Wellington was stung with a $1500 power bill for one week after spot prices surged.

Posting to a Facebook group, the boarding house owner called the price spikes "ridiculous" and asked for recommendations for an alternative electricity provider.

Owner Matthew Wright said the bill was normally about $500 per week but in the past month it had gone up to $600.

"And now this $1500pw bill, I note on one single day last week the consumption was over $400!

"As we don't live there we have no control over consumption times etc."

Wright, who provides electricity, gas and wi-fi services as part of his tenants' rent, said he didn't blame Flick.

He believed the spot price hikes were electricity generators "gaming" the system.

Saiwala lives with two daughters and his wife, all of which are out of the house throughout the day so it bewildered him how much power they were using.

He said his family had only been in their new Rosedale house for the past three months and claimed he was using more power at his last address.

"The previous house we were using a lot more power than this with a heater and that, so yeah it's a bit shocking," he said.

"I've got a young family, no one is really home during the day which is more shocking with the power bill.

"I can't imagine how I'd be spending $700 worth of power."

An Energy Online spokeswoman said as a new customer Saiwala's first two bills had been estimates, however the third, and larger bill, was based on an actual reading.

"What happens sometimes when a new customer joins is that it takes a while for the systems to transfer over, so rather than sending no bill they do send an estimated bill until they have the proper data.

"It is a relatively common thing when people shift providers, but I can totally understand that it is difficult to deal with when you get that big surge.

"But actually, what his bills should have been over the previous two months should have been up around $350 - which is the correct reading.

"So it is not that he was overcharged, it was that he was underbilled because the estimates were lower than they should have been for the previous months.

"The data is all correct in terms of his usage, it is just a shame that it hits as a big bill like that rather than smoothed out."

However, the spokeswoman said Saiwala had now been transferred to a high user plan and the company had reduced his bill to $481.26 respectively.

She said the company also has a number of payment options available for customers in this situation.

"Obviously it is a bit of a shock to get that all at once and then to have to pay it all, so we can work out a way that he can pay it off at a lower rate.

"Direct Debit Reliabill can be used to smooth payments or we can arrange to pay this bill over the coming weeks – someone will be in touch with him to see what will work best."

From now on, Saiwala will also only get actual energy readings.