Synergy to rebate Kalbarri and Northampton customers $363 over power bills received after cyclone Seroja

Phoebe Pin & Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Destroyed powerlines in Kalbarri a few weeks after cylone Seroja.
Camera IconDestroyed powerlines in Kalbarri a few weeks after cylone Seroja. Credit: Lisa Favazzo

Outrage over higher-than-normal power bills for some cyclone-affected residents and businesses in Kalbarri and Northampton has prompted energy retailer Synergy to offer those customers a $363 credit.

After irate locals hit with these bigger bills, after being impacted by ex-tropical cyclone Seroja and subsequent lengthy power outages, went public with the issue on Thursday, a spokesperson from Synergy said a $363 credit offset would be credited to eligible customers by June 30.

“This $363 represents the average bill of these impacted customers and effectively waives the supply charge for this period,” the spokesperson said.

More than 300 customers in Kalbarri and Northampton accessed Synergy’s onsite support last month or have made an online application for financial relief.

Locals were shocked to find their most recent power bills higher than compared to the same period last year, despite the prolonged period of being without power after the April 11 cyclone devastated the region’s power infrastructure.

Synergy general manager of customer experience Colin Smith said some power meters were damaged or made inaccessible, which meant the billing process for those customers relied on estimated data.

“For those customers who would have received an estimated bill, we encourage them to contact us ... and we’ll work through that with them,” Mr Smith told ABC radio on Friday.

Kalbarri business owner Steve McKenzie on Thursday many residents were feeling forgotten.

“Our personal power bill at home has gone up compared to last year, which I don’t understand how that could be when we had 12 days with no power,” he said.

“It is soul destroying because we are told something is going to happen and then nothing happens.”

“We have had David Templeman, Alannah MacTiernan, Mark McGowan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison — everybody comes here and says ‘you are not forgotten, we are going to look after you’, but all I’ve got is $4000 (through the Small Business Cyclone Seroja Grant Scheme),” he said.

“We have been forgotten, it is as simple as that.”

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