A power company fixing a dodgy meter reader in a new Omaha home resulted in its owner being stung with a $630 bill just before Christmas.
Jill Rowdon's home is only three years old but between May and December last year the smart meter stopped communicating properly with Genesis.
The meter is connected to a direct debit payment, meaning the retiree had no idea there was anything out of the ordinary until a contractor was sent to fix it last month.
After an inspection, the contractor told Rowdon it was malfunctioning.
Rowdon, who is aged in her 70s, had no other contact with Genesis until a power bill arrived in the mail for a whopping $630.
"We didn't get any communication back from Genesis about it and then all of a sudden there was a bill," she said.
"It's not whether you can afford it but it's the principle. They had messed up for all that time - maybe you could forgive them if it was a couple of months but not that long."
The situation is eerily similar to Hazel Jones' story, who was sent a $1000 bill by Genesis after it was discovered her smart meter was faulty too.
Genesis claimed she had been undercharged for almost an entire year but the company has since waived the bill while the situation is investigated.
Consumer NZ is bombarded with complaints about back bills - invoices for past electricity use that wasn't correctly changed at the time.
Head of research Jessica Wilson says reasons behind the back bills vary but problems with meter readers are among the causes.
"In our latest electricity survey, one in nine consumers had made a complaint to their electricity retailer in the past year," she said.
"Twenty-three per cent of those complaints were meter-related."
Smart meters are meant to be hassle-free as they automatically read electricity and send them back to Genesis, according to an explainer on its own website.
People who have them should not ever need to manually read them.
A spokesperson for Genesis says they utilise more than 450,000 smart meters nationwide.
"These are typically accurate and reliable. In some instances, we experience connectivity or technical issues," they said.
"However, these are typically rare and we have processes in place to respond to these. When we don't get it right, we always do our best to learn from what's happened."
Sometime last year a fault developed in Rowdon's smart meter and they were only billed $185.18 each month until the issue was resolved.
The lack of communication and trouble of having the bill sent to them just before Christmas is almost unbelievable in Rowdon's eyes.
If it's happened to her as it did with Jones, there is no doubt in Rowdon's mind other people will have dodgy smart meters running.
After speaking with a Genesis employee on the phone and explaining her situation, Rowdon managed to get the bill partially reduced and she is paying it off over time.
The Genesis spokesperson says they are disappointed in her experience, "as it was not to the level we aspire to provide for our customers".
Genesis customers can self-report their own meter readings via the website or by calling the customer call centre.
Wilson says people should check their electricity bill to make sure there are no issues.
"If you've received a bill that looks too high or you get a huge back bill, contact the electricity retailer and ask it to explain what's happened," she said.
"If you don't get a satisfactory response, you can take the matter to Utilities Disputes – it provides a free dispute resolution service for electricity and gas consumers. All retailers must belong to the scheme."