Masterton pensioner Les Warrington has one bit of advice: don't be afraid to ask questions when the bills unexpectedly creep upwards.
Mr Warrington approached the Times-Age in September, after receiving a monthly power bill of $840.12 from Nova Energy, four times what he and his family usually pay.
The Times-Age contacted Nova on his behalf, and a technician installed a smart meter on his property the day the article went to print.
In late October, the company contacted him and declared his debt null and void -- due to staff error.
"As it turned out, our meter had been read wrong -- they had added an extra zero," the Lansdowne resident said.
"It was human error, so they pretty much wiped that bill and started us over again.
"It certainly explained a lot."
When Mr Warrington first contacted Nova about his high bill, the contact centre initially dismissed the hike as "a power leakage" -- which the technician who inspected his property said wasn't possible.
His old meter was taken away and searched for faults, but none were found.
"We had sent in a picture of our old meter after we got that bill -- but Nova said it was correct," he said.
"But, this time, they were pretty apologetic. I do appreciate what they've done by cancelling our debt."
Mr Warrington and wife Lorena said the resolution was a "huge relief".
"I've learned it's so important to ask questions and check things out if you think [a bill] looks wrong," he said.
"I've had people ring me up and say they're getting these big, high bills, and I tell them to do the same.
"The power companies aren't going to fix the problem unless people ring up and question them, are they?"
Mrs Warrington said she thought the publicity had certainly helped them get the resolution they needed.
"Being in the paper helped us fight for ourselves -- we felt really empowered.
"I do think if our story hadn't been in the paper, nothing would have been done."
The Warringtons have had two power bills from Nova since then, which have both been around the $160 figure.
"We do usually get cheap bills -- hiccups aside, they have good, competitive prices," Mrs Warrington said.
Nova Energy spokesperson Mark Reynolds said the Warringtons' situation was "unusual" and incorrect readings by staff were not common.