COMPLAINING about the size of the power bill is practically a national sport. But how would you feel about opening one to find it had five digits?
A $17,813 bill for electricity use has sparked a dispute between a Canberra GP and the ACT's major power supplier, ActewAGL.
Yarub Jamiel was shocked when the astronomical bill arrived in his O'Malley letterbox in May.
The 50-year-old said the biggest electricity bill he had ever received in the territory previously was $580 for three months' worth of power.
But there was more pain to come.
He said each of the following two electricity bills he received were $4000 or more - still whopping charges for a Canberra home.
He has refused to pay the bills and now says he has $25,000 of outstanding power charges.
The case is being fought before the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Dr Jamiel rejects ActewAGL's assertion that the first huge bill was a flow-on from when the house was being built last year and the cost of running power to the building site.
''I'm thinking the meter is broken,'' Dr Jamiel said.
''I have solar panels and [energy efficient] LED lights and I haven't connected the in-slab heating because I heard it would be too expensive.
''My wife is an obstetrician and she's out all day, my son is a student and he is at the library much of the time and I'm a doctor so I'm at work a lot of the time.''
A spokeswoman for the power company said the first controversial bill, for $17,813, was for a six-month period.
''The meter was tested and confirmed as correct on October 31, 2013,'' ActewAGL's general manager of retail, Ayesha Razzaq, said.
''This bill was for the period from September 21, 2012, to April 16, 2013, and the customer advised us that he used the electricity as an owner-builder during the construction of his home.
''This was the first bill following the account being opened.''
She said ActewAGL stood by the charges and added that anyone with concerns about high charges could request an energy audit of their home.
The Canberra Times reported last week that a medical centre Dr Jamiel was going to build at Conder was being put on hold because of a late building fee of $254,866 imposed by the ACT government.
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