Why have I been billed on an estimate read?


What are estimated bills?

If you have recently switched to Amber and do not yet have a smart meter, your initial "start read" with us will likely be an estimated read. Estimated bills happen when the meter reader is unable to read your meter manually. The estimate of your usage is based on your property's previous usage pattern. If this data is not available, the calculation is based on the average usage of a comparable customer. 

Estimated bills will have an 'E' next to the read on page 3 of your bill, under 'Meter Reads'. Otherwise, they should have 'A' for actual read.  




Why do I get estimated bills?

If you are transferring to Amber with a basic meter, and we haven't received an actual read, it's now market-wide practice as of 01/10/2021 that customers can transfer between retailers based on estimated transfer reads. This is to ensure a timely transfer so we don't need to wait for a manual read. 

What stops us getting a read? 

  • The meter reader hasn't been able to access your meter to read it, e.g. your meter is indoors, locked behind a gate or guarded by a dog.
  • The meter reader hasn't provided us with your meter data.


What happens after I get an estimated bill?

We understand how important it is to you that we calculate your bills using actual meter readings. Rest assured, although the start read is estimated, you’ll still be billed on your actual usage.

  • The meter reader will attempt to take an actual meter reading on the next scheduled read date, or we will get a read during your smart meter installation- whichever happens first (which depends how far into the quarter you transfer over to Amber).
  • Once we have an actual meter reading, we will make the necessary adjustments to your last billing period so that you only pay for the energy you've used.
  • So the only difference is that the usage split between the previous retailer and Amber is estimated. This means that depending on the estimate, you might be billed more or less by your previous retailer compared to Amber.
  • Once Amber receives the first actual reading from your meter, we will bill you for the difference between the estimated reading and the final actual reading. Overall, between your previous retailer and Amber, you will only pay for your actual total usage for this period.


What can I do?

If you are concerned that you will be billed on an estimate read, you can submit your own meter reading.

  • An indication that your start read with Amber will be an estimate read is if you receive your final bill from your previous retailer, and it is an estimated end read. In this case, please email Amber (info@amber.com.au) with a photo of your meter and request for the read to be updated in our system.
  • Please note, we can only use this process when a photo of the meter is provided ideally from the transfer date, but not older than 3 days.

How to avoid receiving an estimated bill

The meter reader will try to access your meter on the date it is scheduled to be read.

  • It is your responsibility to provide safe, unhindered access to the meter at your property.
  • This may mean having someone at the property to provide access, leaving your gate unlocked, or keeping pets inside.
  • This is especially important for customers that cannot have a smart meter installed or do not wish to have a smart meter installed, as we rely on meter reads for accurate billing because the usage data cannot be sent remotely, like it can with a smart meter. 
  • Please reach out to us if you are aware of any access issues.


Still concerned about the estimate read?

We aim to ensure that all our customers are billed for the correct usage. If you are still not certain that the correct estimate has been used, please reach out to us and email through a copy of the final bill from your previous retailer. This way we can check that the same estimate has been used for the estimated end read and estimated start read, which is provided by your network. If the read is the same, then we can be sure that you’ll still be billed on your total actual usage.


If you believe the estimate is not lining up, please email us at info@amber.com.au.


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