Reference read? Estimate & Actual, Catch-Up Billing, Billing Accuracy
This page explains your meter, your bill, and most importantly how we ensure accurate bills.
GloBird’s billing periods are designed to happen like clockwork. Typically, most GloBird energy plans are monthly or more specifically have a 28-day billing period (4 calendar weeks).
Smart meters make it easy to ensure every monthly bill is based on actual (A) meter reads. However, basic meters are read less frequently, and are more likely to rely on estimates (E). To understand meter types and read cycles click here.
Meter reads are performed by an independent metering company. To ensure a fair energy market, meter readers must be independent and separate from your retailer (commonly this is your local network distributor). As such, GloBird don’t control the exact date the basic meter is read.
The graphic below highlights the clockwork nature of a billing period vs the sporadic nature of meter reads.
To make it easier to see which portion of your bill is based on an estimate read (E) and which portion is based on an actual read (A) we’ve enhanced the way we display information on your bill. For example – in the illustration below, if the first twenty days of a bill is based on an actual read (A), and the remaining 8 days is based on an estimate (E), the bill will look something like this:
A reference read is the most recent actual read. We use it as the reference point (a known amount of usage at a known time) to compute your energy usage.
- It confirms your previous known usage
- It guides our forward estimate
- It forms the anchor point for any washout bills
Reference reads are actual reads (A) provided by the metering company or a customer’s self-read (C).
It tells you which portion of your bill was calculated using confirmed usage and any portion yet to be confirmed. The image below shows how a Reference Read might look on your bill.
To provide you an accurate and fair billing experience we consider any variance between what we billed previously (based on Estimate usage) as well as the latest Actual usage when it is confirmed.
Estimate billing is usually self-correcting – as soon as we receive an actual read – either from you, your local distributor, or your metering company.
Example: Imagine the last series of monthly reads on your meter were 8100, 8200, 8300, 8400. That means you used 100 units every month for three months.
Let’s imagine you pay $1 per unit. You should be billed for $100 each month. This equals $300 for all three months together. See the diagram below.
Imagine the estimate was for 50 units (instead of 100) for month one and two. Your bill would look something like this. $50, $50 and $200. It still equals $300.
GloBird’s automatic washout / catchup bill is highly accurate. It even accounts for rate changes and stepped pricing. When an actual read is obtained, the system looks back at your previous actual read (reference read) and allocates the newly confirmed usage to the relevant step rate.
In the previous example, the customer used 300 units evenly over three months. However, the customer was billed an estimate of 50 units in month one and two, and 200 units on the third month. This indicates the first two months were previously underestimated.
Let’s imagine step pricing where the first 100 units per month has a rate of $1 per unit and the balance costs $1.10 per unit. Without a catch up / washout bill, the customer would unfairly pay the wrong step rate in month three.
Our algorithm recognises if any step pricing was allocated incorrectly. And rebills using the relevant steps back to the last known reference read. This ensures the most accurate and fair billing experience for our customers.