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Electric Meter not working - will I be hit with a huge bill?
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# 1
lpenaluna
Old 03-06-2011, 11:39 AM
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Question Electric Meter not working - will I be hit with a huge bill?

I contacted Southern Electric this morning to give an actual meter reading for my electricity. I have been in my flat for 1 year and it has been estimated all this time and based on the previous tenant.

When I moved intot he flat I gave a meter reading and they came and read the meter in Feb this year - 9 months after I moved into the flat. I am in credit on my bill and wanted to provide an actual meter reading so that I can claim a refund.

So it seems that the meter hasnt been working for the whole time ive been there and started to slow down at the end of the last tenants time there.

They are now replacing the meter and taking readings form the time it is replaced until the end of August. They are using that 3 month average as an indicator of my years useage and will back charge me for the previous 12 months.

I'm a little annoyed - having gone from hundreds in credit they have now advised me that I am likely to be hit with a hefty bill in August for the back payment. Does anyone have any advice on how large this could be? I'm lucky that they are using warmer months to average. They did want to use winter months and use that for the years average until I said that wasnt a fair reflection. And then they realised that the meter wasnt working.

This isnt my fault and I know i'll have to pay the electric bill. As this is my first flat I've never had to pay electric and i'm trying to get a ball park figure on what the cost would be? Im on ecomony 7. SE said that I should use 6-9 units per day which works out at £25ish per month - which is what I am paying as a DD. I have storage heaters - that I avoid using. My cooker is electric. As is my water which is on once per day (overnight). They estimate £50 per month. Does that sound right?

Any help greatly apprecated - im a novice at this!
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# 2
Cardew
Old 03-06-2011, 1:18 PM
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In an all electric flat £50 a month is very low - if they offer that charge, bite off their hand!!!

As you are on economy 7 you pay a higher rate for daytime electricity and without any heating or hot water you would probably use £30 to £40 a month.
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# 3
HappyMJ
Old 03-06-2011, 1:29 PM
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I would if you can use as little as possible over the next 3 months so your backbill is lower. Wash clothes elsewhere, turn the hot water off, go out more. Cheating a bit I know but every unit you save for the next few months will save you 4 times over. It could depending on your tariff save quite a lot.
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# 4
undaunted
Old 03-06-2011, 1:29 PM
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If you have been paying £25 p/m by DD for the last year & a realistic estimate is £50 then you would get a bill for the difference of £300.

I don't really see why you should be annoyed - you've had a years interest free loan out of this and may well end up being billed less than you actually used - as they are averaging you on summer months after we had a harsh winter when you were likely to have had the heating running regularly.

Surely, even as a first time bill payer, you yourself must have thought that £25 a month seemed very cheap for an all electric flat in this day & age?
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# 5
lpenaluna
Old 03-06-2011, 2:01 PM
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I don't think its fair for you to assume that I should have any idea of billing amounts! I set up with the company when I moved in, read the meter, they advised on direct debit. I paid every month. They read the meter again 9 months later and still said nothing and no change to DD. I honestly thought that was normal!

I had to fight not to have my bill estimated as full winter useage. Agreed I may come out better but equally to be billed in one for excess go isnt going to be great. Esp when you pay during the year so that this kind of situation doesnt happen.

The electric company tell me that it appears the meter was slowing down at the end of the previous tenancy - and this fault wasnt looked at. They also didnt notice the fault 4 months ago.

So I remain annoyed, despite my lack of understanding of 2011 electric rates!!
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# 6
ColinFishwick
Old 03-06-2011, 2:06 PM
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Did you not ask them to come and sort meter out? How can you possible be in credit when you were getting estimated bills, estimate bill is just that its not an accurate bill, especially if you have a faulty meter. It would be unfair on both sides if they estimated your usage either in Summer or Winter especially if the bills were wrong for a long time
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# 7
lpenaluna
Old 03-06-2011, 2:12 PM
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They are coming out next week to sort the meter. I dont know how i'm in credit - they read the meter in February this year (I moved in in June 2010) and I didnt receive any alteration of DD to account for the change.

They actually dont know how long the meter has been out of use but my useage is lower than expected so they suspect it has stopped for a while.

I dont understand well enough how the billing works well enough alongside the actual meter reading. If all was fine between June 2010 and Feb 2011 then the meter must have stopped after that? The company seem certain that it was before that though.
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# 8
macman
Old 03-06-2011, 3:15 PM
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If you check your meter and submit readings at least quarterly then any faults will be picked up much sooner. That's what the meter is there for.
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# 9
LittleMissAspie
Old 03-06-2011, 4:11 PM
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Wait a minute. How do they know the meter is broken and when it broke? It doesn't seem clear from what you are saying. Does the meter actually turn round at all? If it does then how do they know the meter is slow and not that you just don't use very much? What were the readings? Why do they think the meter stopped working before Feb?

Even in an all electric flat your summer usage should be around £25 per month so I don't think you'll have a big bill to pay. Reduce your usage as much as possible by using the washing machine overnight and air drying the clothes, put dishwasher on overnight if you have one, turn everything off that you can, turn water heater off and use the kettle to boil water for washing up, find out what time your E7 finishes in the mornings and try to shower before then.
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# 10
undaunted
Old 03-06-2011, 4:25 PM
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If you end up with a bill for the "unbilled difference" & cannot pay it off in one go you should be able to arrange to pay it back over the same period it accrued in (eg at an extra £25 p/m).

If you've previously lived with parents (or someone else) & never had to pay bills ask them & I'm sure they will tell you they'd be amazed & delighted if they were to get an electric bill of £25 p/m or £75 for a quarter. Living in your own place has it's advantages but being cheap isn't one of them I'm afraid
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