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    • Avamandina
    • By Avamandina 19th May 17, 4:53 PM
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    Avamandina
    High Gas Bill - Last chance!
    • #1
    • 19th May 17, 4:53 PM
    High Gas Bill - Last chance! 19th May 17 at 4:53 PM
    I have had an ongoing dispute with Scottish Power about my Gas bill since February and have brought in the ombudsman but with no success...
    I live in a 2 bed flat and they are claiming that I have used £300 worth of gas a month since November! This is just not possible - I have lived here for 10 years and nothing has changed - I have a gas boiler (which I got checked), shower and gas hob that are rarely used - and have never been charged much more than about £50 per month for gas ... the deal I am on is good and they have checked my metre and said nothing is wrong with it! I had my heating on for an hour in the morning and around 3 - 4 hours at night. There is something really wrong but the ombudsman was only interested in the 'evidence' and has found in favour of Scottish Power.
    If that wasn't bad enough - when they took away the old metre to test they never noted the end number for the metre or the number for the new metre and the ombudsman has given them permission to estimate my new bill - from previous bills - which I am raging at as I have tried not to use my gas as I have been so worried about this bill.
    They have refused to talk to me since this dispute started and I am now at a loss at what to do - any ideas??
Page 1
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 19th May 17, 7:24 PM
    • 27,005 Posts
    • 13,127 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #2
    • 19th May 17, 7:24 PM
    • #2
    • 19th May 17, 7:24 PM
    Welcome to the forum.

    Once you go to the Ombudsman, and he does not support your complaint, you are pretty much snookered.

    You can take civil action in the courts, but what is your evidence? It is not sufficient to simply say my bill is much higher than normal.

    Were your previous £50 monthly bills estimated?

    Have SP given their theory for the high consumption?
    • Avamandina
    • By Avamandina 19th May 17, 7:46 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    Avamandina
    • #3
    • 19th May 17, 7:46 PM
    • #3
    • 19th May 17, 7:46 PM
    Thanks for the response Cardew..
    No all bills were correct and not estimates BUT all with different companies as I keep changing for the best deal - hence I can't prove it as I haven't kept any bills...My main worry is that I know I'm not using that amount of gas - hence what do i do in the future... not use cental heating in winter?! Not realistic... every person I have spoken to has said there is no way that I am using that amount of gas... so wheres it going??
    Also so annoyed about them estimating using old bills as they are obviously the old bills and high bills..
    But yes - dont have 'evidence' to take them to court - just ideally looking for an engineer to help me work out what is wrong...
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 19th May 17, 11:08 PM
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    Cardew
    • #4
    • 19th May 17, 11:08 PM
    • #4
    • 19th May 17, 11:08 PM
    Over the years we have had many many complaints about excessive gas/electricity bills.

    In the majority of cases, where the issue was solved, it was down to under-estimated or incorrectly read meter readings leading to a 'catch-up' bill when the correct meter reading was used.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 20th May 17, 7:20 AM
    • 1,839 Posts
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    Robin9
    • #5
    • 20th May 17, 7:20 AM
    • #5
    • 20th May 17, 7:20 AM
    Avamandina - have you got online billing with SP ?

    You say the bills are correct but do the meter readings you have been giving tie up with the readings on bills ? Its very easy to enter a reading of (say) 02175 as 2175 which the computer interprets as 21750

    Are the new meter details on your bills ?

    Regardless of the outcome with SP if you do switch regularly then you need to keep very good records and photographs.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 20th May 17, 4:23 PM
    • 3,077 Posts
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    matelodave
    • #6
    • 20th May 17, 4:23 PM
    • #6
    • 20th May 17, 4:23 PM
    If you are a swapper like me then don't just rely on bills. Read your own meter regularly, ideally once a month but weekly if you can be bothered and save the readings - it's easy to set up a spreadsheet.

    When you have an ongoing record, you can see whether something has changed, either the weather, when you are on holday or the boiler is packing up and using more energy or even the meter has started doing stange things - no records, no evidence.

    By monitoring our water consumption we discovered a leak in an underground pipe before it had developed into a ginormous bill or undemined our foundations.

    Just checking a bill, paying it and then chucking it away doesn't give you any information about your consumption, neither does it help if you end up in a dispute with a supplier - especially if you've left them and they send another bill a year or so down the line. Save all your bills for at least a couple of years. You can usually download them as PDF files so you don't end up with drawers full of paper.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • molerat
    • By molerat 20th May 17, 4:39 PM
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    molerat
    • #7
    • 20th May 17, 4:39 PM
    • #7
    • 20th May 17, 4:39 PM
    No sticker on the new meter with old / new readings ?
    Did they suddenly start charging as an imperial meter ?

    As above, take regular reads and keep your own records. I can supply meter reads going back to 2002 and I have PDF bills back to 2009 !
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 20th May 17, 6:11 PM
    • 2,830 Posts
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    EachPenny
    • #8
    • 20th May 17, 6:11 PM
    • #8
    • 20th May 17, 6:11 PM
    Save all your bills for at least a couple of years. You can usually download them as PDF files so you don't end up with drawers full of paper.
    Originally posted by matelodave
    As above, take regular reads and keep your own records. I can supply meter reads going back to 2002 and I have PDF bills back to 2009 !
    Originally posted by molerat
    Very good advice from both - I get paper energy bills and keep them in a couple of lever arch files, I'll only consider throwing them away when the files are full, and it is getting towards 25 years worth now.

    On the other hand I might just save them up a bit longer and have a free day of heating when I burn them all

    Another strategy to consider if you prefer paperless is to take weekly/monthly photos of the meter readings using a phone and email them to yourself. That way you'll end up with a datestamped record of what your readings were and would provide difficult evidence for the energy company/ombudsman to refute.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 20th May 17, 7:50 PM
    • 27,005 Posts
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    Cardew
    • #9
    • 20th May 17, 7:50 PM
    • #9
    • 20th May 17, 7:50 PM

    Another strategy to consider if you prefer paperless is to take weekly/monthly photos of the meter readings using a phone and email them to yourself. That way you'll end up with a datestamped record of what your readings were and would provide difficult evidence for the energy company/ombudsman to refute.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    I have today taken two photos.

    One is dated 27 March 2016, the other 27 March 2018!

    Whilst the above posts provide good advice, they do not address the OP's problem.
    Last edited by Cardew; 20-05-2017 at 7:53 PM.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 20th May 17, 8:25 PM
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    matelodave
    Unfortunately, unless you've been collecting data it's very difficult if not impossible to prove that something might have gone wrong or when it happened so the OP is probably fighting a lost battle.

    The advice is what to do in the future as the past has gone unless there's some stuff kicking around.
    Last edited by matelodave; 21-05-2017 at 1:24 PM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • glennevis
    • By glennevis 20th May 17, 8:32 PM
    • 121 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    glennevis
    "I have today taken two photos.

    One is dated 27 March 2016, the other 27 March 2018!"

    And your point is?

    The procedure outlined involves emailing the photos to yourself. It is the date stamp on the header of an email that provides evidence of the date the photos were emailed. Such 'evidence' is meaningless unless used in conjunction with identical readings submitted to the supplier.
    Last edited by glennevis; 20-05-2017 at 8:35 PM.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 21st May 17, 10:49 AM
    • 2,830 Posts
    • 5,066 Thanks
    EachPenny
    Whilst the above posts provide good advice, they do not address the OP's problem.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Unfortunately the advice from matelodave and others is right, there is little the OP can do about the past, all they can change is the future. The OP appears concerned about future costs, possibly a repeat of what has already happened, so based on their experience my advice to them would be to gather evidence of your meter readings so to be in a better position next time. That is possibly the best outcome they can hope for.

    The point about the datestamp of photos being altered applies equally to numbers being written on a piece of paper, or figures entered into a spreadsheet - I could just add figures to a spreadsheet covering the last 25 years. It won't be necessary for everybody, but if you think it is likely you will need evidence to dispute future bills then it is worth making sure that evidence is robust as possible.

    You can take civil action in the courts, but what is your evidence? It is not sufficient to simply say my bill is much higher than normal.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    The ombudsman or courts will consider many types of evidence, numbers written on a piece of paper won't necessarily be disbelieved, but are far weaker than evidence which has third-party verification. If a future situation reached the point where civil action was involved, the company's solicitors would be involved. If the customer can tell the company solicitor that their case is supported by photographic evidence of meter readings taken on a weekly/monthly basis then the company's solicitor's advice is likely to be settle, or to drop the case if it was started by the company.

    If the solicitor questions the provenance of the photographic evidence, all the customer needs to do is to politely offer to obtain certified copies of the emails (or a witness statement) from the email service provider to confirm that the emails (with attachments) are stored on the service provider's servers, but the customer will seek to recover the costs of obtaining that further evidence should the need arise. At that point, if they haven't already, you can expect the company to cave in.

    The procedure outlined involves emailing the photos to yourself. It is the date stamp on the header of an email that provides evidence of the date the photos were emailed. Such 'evidence' is meaningless unless used in conjunction with identical readings submitted to the supplier.
    Originally posted by glennevis
    It would help to have photographs of the submitted meter readings, but the more powerful evidence would actually be a consistent and ongoing record of readings over a period of time. The reading for a specific day could be extrapolated from the readings at the start and end of the week/month. Evidence of a pattern of consumption is more likely to help in a metering dispute than actual readings on a certain day.

    All of this is rather extreme, and I wouldn't suggest people normally take pictures of their meters and email them to themselves - apart perhaps just before and after a meter exchange. But the OP has already had an issue and appears to be concerned this might happen again and they cannot rely on the obmudsman to help. Therefore obtaining the best quality evidence possible would be a sensible precaution.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • victor2
    • By victor2 21st May 17, 11:16 AM
    • 4,709 Posts
    • 3,140 Thanks
    victor2
    Thanks for the response Cardew..
    No all bills were correct and not estimates BUT all with different companies as I keep changing for the best deal - hence I can't prove it as I haven't kept any bills...My main worry is that I know I'm not using that amount of gas - hence what do i do in the future... not use cental heating in winter?! Not realistic... every person I have spoken to has said there is no way that I am using that amount of gas... so wheres it going??
    Also so annoyed about them estimating using old bills as they are obviously the old bills and high bills..
    But yes - dont have 'evidence' to take them to court - just ideally looking for an engineer to help me work out what is wrong...
    Originally posted by Avamandina
    Going forward, read your meter daily, at the same time each day for at least a few weeks. Convert it to kWh (the formula for that should be on your bills) and see what you are using. Switch on your heating for an hour and see what is used. That will give you an idea what your actual usage is. Presumably your new meter is metric. If the old one was metric but billed as imperial, your gas bills will be almost 3 times what they should have been.
    With no historic evidence, you are going to find it tough to prove anything, but at least you should be able to sort things out for the future.
    • Avamandina
    • By Avamandina 23rd May 17, 4:53 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Avamandina
    Thanks
    Thanks to all the responses - it would appear that as I thought I have no case and will need to just pay it - but I am most unhappy at this as I just don't understand it and if I had put my heating on every day all day I could maybe have understood it... but yes I have no evidence so will just need to take it as a valuable life lesson and learn from it...

    Thanks
    Amanda
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