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  • FIRST POST
    • ramie.smith
    • By ramie.smith 3rd Oct 16, 9:41 AM
    • 5Posts
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    ramie.smith
    Gas Meter SO DEFECTIVE it couldnt be tested by Ofgem!
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 16, 9:41 AM
    Gas Meter SO DEFECTIVE it couldnt be tested by Ofgem! 3rd Oct 16 at 9:41 AM
    Hi everyone, I'm new to this site and case specifically to seek some advice if possible.
    After years of hesitation on my part (and paying unbelievable gas bills to Scottish/British Gas!) I eventually asked them to take the meter away to be tested by the independent test house appointed by Ofgem. The result was startling ......the meter was found to be SO DEFECTIVE that they could not even perform their test....in fact they noted that the meter itself was incrementing in no flow condition.....i.e THE DIGITAL READING WAS INCREASING WHILST ON THE LAB BENCH NOT ATTACHED TO ANYTHING!
    TO cut a long story short, the meter has been installed for 7 years. I have got to a position eventually with BG that they are offering a credit on the account of £5k. I've paid BG about £13.5k these past 7 years for my Gas. Do I accept this or should I go to ombudsman and try get every penny back that I've paid in past seven years since they cannot prove the accurate functionality of this meter since it was installed 7 years ago (not to mention the stress and distress it has cost and putting in a new boiler because we thought that was the problem!)
    Many thanks in advance for your help.
    Raymond
Page 1
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 3rd Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    • 26,058 Posts
    • 12,527 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    Welcome to the forum.

    Before you go to the banking ombudsman, have you any firm data on your consumption - in kWh - on the previous meter? Or, even better your consumption on the new meter. When was the defective meter taken away?

    You are unlikely to get all the £13.5k back, but £8.5k(£13.5k - 5k) over 7 years is £1,200pa which is huge consumption for, presumably?, a private dwelling.

    It will be better to have a ballpark figure quantifying your loss before you take the matter further.
    • brewerdave
    • By brewerdave 3rd Oct 16, 11:14 AM
    • 4,012 Posts
    • 1,600 Thanks
    brewerdave
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 16, 11:14 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 16, 11:14 AM
    Agree with Cardew - we use gas for heating,hot water and cooking in a 5 bedroom detached -but a quick add up of bills for the past 7 years comes to ~ £3500 - unless you have been on standard tariffs AND use a lot more gas than us then you should be due a lot more than £5k!!
    • ramie.smith
    • By ramie.smith 3rd Oct 16, 1:09 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    ramie.smith
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 16, 1:09 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 16, 1:09 PM
    Many thanks for your replies. I have been quite obsessed with this issue since they took the meter away in August therefore I have a lot of info but not all the info. It makes it more complicated obviously because meters measure Units which are then converted to KwH and those are charged at different rates over the course of the 7 years and there are also the daily standing charges to take into account.
    I had a meter prior to this 'faulty' one being installed and the best info I can get from that one using actual readings is that I used 2500 UNITS between July 08 and July 09.

    The £5k offer from BG is due to them re-calculating the bill based on reverting (rewinding) the meter reading to a total of ~18000 UNITS for the 7 years it was installed (which averaging just above the 2500 I used in one year with the previous meter).

    Now, I have been the biggest culprit for letting myself slip into standard tariffs so maybe I can't really use £££ to try compare my usage to others. Maybe you can help with my usage in Meter UNITS?

    I live in a detached sandstone villa. Upstairs/Downstairs, 3 bedrooms upstairs, 2 reception rooms, dining room and kitchen downstairs. Bathroom and cloakroom toilet also. One radiator in each room described above and I have an all singing all dancing 2 year old Worcester combination boiler. Gas is used for heating, water and hob cooking only.
    Does 2,500 UNITS per year sound right for this type of property and usage (I think 2500 meter units is about 28000KwH?).
    Last question, just for comparison really is that when I put my heating on for ONE hour, my new analogue meter is incrementing by TWO units.
    Does this sound right? TWO UNITS for ONE HOUR of heating??

    Again, many thanks...sorry this is long winded
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Oct 16, 1:24 PM
    • 6,518 Posts
    • 4,870 Thanks
    daveyjp
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 16, 1:24 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 16, 1:24 PM
    A further potential complication is whether the old meter was measuring cubic feet or cubic metres.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 3rd Oct 16, 2:12 PM
    • 26,058 Posts
    • 12,527 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 16, 2:12 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 16, 2:12 PM
    Many thanks for your replies. I have been quite obsessed with this issue since they took the meter away in August therefore I have a lot of info but not all the info. It makes it more complicated obviously because meters measure Units which are then converted to KwH and those are charged at different rates over the course of the 7 years and there are also the daily standing charges to take into account.
    I had a meter prior to this 'faulty' one being installed and the best info I can get from that one using actual readings is that I used 2500 UNITS between July 08 and July 09.

    The £5k offer from BG is due to them re-calculating the bill based on reverting (rewinding) the meter reading to a total of ~18000 UNITS for the 7 years it was installed (which averaging just above the 2500 I used in one year with the previous meter).

    Now, I have been the biggest culprit for letting myself slip into standard tariffs so maybe I can't really use £££ to try compare my usage to others. Maybe you can help with my usage in Meter UNITS?

    I live in a detached sandstone villa. Upstairs/Downstairs, 3 bedrooms upstairs, 2 reception rooms, dining room and kitchen downstairs. Bathroom and cloakroom toilet also. One radiator in each room described above and I have an all singing all dancing 2 year old Worcester combination boiler. Gas is used for heating, water and hob cooking only.
    Does 2,500 UNITS per year sound right for this type of property and usage (I think 2500 meter units is about 28000KwH?).
    Last question, just for comparison really is that when I put my heating on for ONE hour, my new analogue meter is incrementing by TWO units.
    Does this sound right? TWO UNITS for ONE HOUR of heating??

    Again, many thanks...sorry this is long winded
    Originally posted by ramie.smith
    Firstly your boiler will probably around 30kWh output for a 3 bed house so the input will be higher. The higher output is generally needed for Hot Water rather than heating.

    2 gas units in 1 hour is approx. 22kWh. That for a boiler working close to maximum output during initial heating is not unreasonable; of course when the rooms are up to heat it will drop drastically.

    You are correct that 2,500 metric gas units is approx. 28,000kWh which is very high, but with an old inefficient boiler(in 2009) is not outrageous.

    Does 'sandstone villa' mean it has not got cavity walls?

    You clearly have grounds for reducing their estimate of consumption e.g. new boiler, wife and kids left home and some goodwill.
    • ramie.smith
    • By ramie.smith 3rd Oct 16, 3:04 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    ramie.smith
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 16, 3:04 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 16, 3:04 PM
    Super thanks,
    Yes 'sandstone villa' unfortunately means no cavity wall insulation plus we have floorboards in 2 rooms downstairs so the boiler (especially the old one) was working harder than most to keep the rooms warm that is true for sure.

    Perhaps I will accept the offer and turn my full concentration onto actually understanding what my meter readings mean, how much my boiler needs to work, extra (sub-floor) insulation, installing smart meter and searching for the best deals out there. Basically take the £5k and pull my socks up!!!

    Your advice has really helped me thanks. You mention that the boiler works harder in start up (to get the rooms heated initially) so perhaps I'll leave the heating on tomorrow for 10 hours and get a better sample average of per hour metric unit usage and come back to you to see if that feels better?
    Also, I did hear a rumour once that it was best to leave your cental heating on constantly at a lower temp than switch on and off a few times a day at a higher temp....any truth in that?

    Thanks
    Ps my boiler is a Worcester Greenstar 36 Cdi compact
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 3rd Oct 16, 3:19 PM
    • 2,580 Posts
    • 1,398 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 16, 3:19 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 16, 3:19 PM
    I'd be inclined to argue that you would have used the average consumption as quoted by BG, the government and anyone else, comparson sites included. That usually works out at around 13500kwh a year for gas.

    Then ask BG what grounds they've got for estimating that your consumption was over twice that. Neither you nor they know when it went faulty, so it may have been faulty from the beginning.

    I sincerely hope that you are being a lot more diligent and making sure that you are now reading and recording your meter on a regular basis (ideally weekly but not less than monthly). It will help you get a more realistic view of your consumption.

    Although if you've only had the meter only since August it wont be very helpful as you need a winter in it to find out what your annual consumption would be.

    Most people's total energy bill (gas & leccy) is only around £1200, frequently less, so IMO they are trying it on. I'd estimate they should be giving you the £8.5k and charging you £5k rather than the way they are apportioning it.
    Last edited by matelodave; 03-10-2016 at 3:23 PM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 3rd Oct 16, 4:18 PM
    • 26,058 Posts
    • 12,527 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 16, 4:18 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 16, 4:18 PM
    Your boiler has a 36kW output to hot water and 24kW to heating.

    As suggested above, I would certainly challenge BG on how they derive their consumption estimate.

    Also the loss of interest on the money you have been paying them. Agreed interest rates are low now but when this saga started you could get 6% or more.

    A lot more bargaining before accepting the £5k IMO.

    The rumour you heard about leaving the boiler on permanently has been covered in several thousand posts on MSE and has as much credibility as Elvis is alive and playing for the USA in the Ryder cup.

    If it was cheaper, then leave your kettle or saucepans of water simmering 24/7 - same principle. Of if you go on holiday mid winter and the house is empty leave the heating on full.
    • JC_Derby
    • By JC_Derby 4th Oct 16, 5:48 AM
    • 578 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    JC_Derby
    Re interest rates, if it went to court and you won, you would get 8%. I'd personally be pushing for about 5% per annum. Most importantly though make sure you keep an eye on usage and err keep usuage down! Then you have some sort of comparative costs.
    • ramie.smith
    • By ramie.smith 4th Oct 16, 8:46 AM
    • 5 Posts
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    ramie.smith
    Is there a source somewhere that lists all of the annual domestic gas consumption averages over the past 10 years? And even splits it into property type I.e. 2 bed flat, 4 bed detached etc?
    • SwanJon
    • By SwanJon 4th Oct 16, 9:24 AM
    • 2,345 Posts
    • 910 Thanks
    SwanJon
    I don't think there is anywhere that lists all the averages over the last 10 years - especially not split by housing size and construction.
    When people talk about average consumption, they mean a figure decided by Ofgem as representative (I did find something about how they worked out one of the changes, I think it was based on the median consumption). [URL="https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/monitoring-data-and-statistics/typical-domestic-consumption-values"]LINK/URL]

    Typical consumption has dropped from 22,500kWh to 12,500kWh, but I can't seem to find when the first change was made.

    I'd challenge their estimated consumption, especially as you say it is a little more than you were using before. Keep taking regular readings to help you estimate your current consumption on the new meter - may be tricky until you have afull year. Take regular (weekly?) readings to supoprt your case. (If you just so happen to be more frugal this year....)

    Ask for your estimate to be changed to the national average, and if they refuse ask them why they have chosen the figure they have.

    I'm hoping that thisis already registered as a complaint - if so they have 8 weeks to reach a solution before you can go to the Energy Ombudsman - let them know you know this
    I am an employee of British Gas, however the views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Centrica, its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
    • sacsquacco
    • By sacsquacco 4th Oct 16, 9:44 AM
    • 3,659 Posts
    • 2,422 Thanks
    sacsquacco
    A further potential complication is whether the old meter was measuring cubic feet or cubic metres.
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    All digital gas meters use cubic metres
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 4th Oct 16, 9:56 AM
    • 26,058 Posts
    • 12,527 Thanks
    Cardew
    A further potential complication is whether the old meter was measuring cubic feet or cubic metres.
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    As the OP stated:

    the best info I can get from that one using actual readings is that I used 2500 UNITS between July 08 and July 09.
    Had it been an Imperial(cubic feet) meter then he would have been using approx. 83,000kWh pa instead of 28,000kWh
    • ramie.smith
    • By ramie.smith 4th Oct 16, 10:43 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    ramie.smith
    Thanks, let's assume my original meter (that was in place for c. 2 years was cubic meters then
    • LewisHamilton
    • By LewisHamilton 12th Oct 16, 11:13 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    LewisHamilton
    Nobody can give you a proper answer as to what you should receive and nobody will ever know what you used historically so I would take every response with a pinch of salt, especially the average consumption across the UK.

    Best practice would be to chill out, wait a year and see what your consumption truly is on the new meter (a wise move - be frugal with your usage). After a year, go back to the energy supplier and state my meter was installed in August 2016 on this reading - my reading in August 2017 is this, so please recalculate the historical charges based on this usage. It will be August 2017 before you know it.

    You never know, your average usage on the new meter might be lower than Ofgem's 'average'.
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