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  • FIRST POST
    • ngosa
    • By ngosa 15th Jun 17, 6:25 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    ngosa
    First-Utility - Back billing
    • #1
    • 15th Jun 17, 6:25 PM
    First-Utility - Back billing 15th Jun 17 at 6:25 PM
    Hope someone can provide some advice on a course of action to take.


    I had moved into a property supplied by first-utility as a tenant. I immediately asked first-utility to move onto a plan I thought was best for me to which they agreed. I asked for them to sign me up so I could provide meter readings online. I wrongly assumed this would be as simple as a login & password but this simple exercise turned out to be more painful than I had assumed. I spent the next 4 months chasing this login which never happened and finally I gave up. I kept paying all the bills they sent me.


    The plan expired 12months later and I defaulted onto their default plan. ln December 2016 when it was time to vacate the property I paid all outstanding bills and notified them that I was vacating the property and provided final meter readings. I was then sent what they called a final bill detailing all my energy usage for the entire 24 months I spent in the property with only two actual meter readings, the initial actual meter reading from 2 years ago and a final meter reading I provided on my last day. everything in between was an estimate. They now are demanding that I pay nearly £1300 as a result.


    I phoned their customer services to explain the bill to me and they simply said the estimates meant I had underpaid during the entire duration.


    I am at pains to try and find a way to either reduce this bill or have it cancelled altogether or find a solicitor/lawyer to help fight back.


    I have read the ofgem back-billing guide on the ofgem website but it still looks like its a 50-50 case. I pestered them for a login so I can provide readings. They also never sent anyone for routine meter readings in between and I provided occasional meter readings over the phone but I never kept a record of these telephone calls. silly me


    It feels as if I'm being robbed as they now have engaged a debt collection company to come after me after not having heard from them after I told them I had paid up to the last day I occupied that property.


    I would like to know what course of action I could take as an individual to stand up to them or should I be thinking of paying lawyers to resolve this?


    Any help would be appreciated.


    Thank you.
Page 1
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 16th Jun 17, 12:00 AM
    • 27,017 Posts
    • 13,136 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:00 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:00 AM
    Welcome to the forum.

    Unfortunately as you 'kept paying all the bills they sent me.' the 12 month back-billing provision does not apply. It only applies when you have not received bills.

    If the start meter reading and end meter reading are correct, as your post implies, then you are liable for the amount that energy cost. As interim bills were based on estimated readings, you should have phoned the company with the correct reading.

    From what you have stated, I am afraid you appear to have no case to challenge the debt.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 16th Jun 17, 1:48 PM
    • 3,079 Posts
    • 1,812 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 1:48 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 1:48 PM
    I agree with Cardew, if you couldn't use their website you should have phoned the readings through.

    I was with FU and they took a while to get my account working properly but I phoned the readings through every month and kept my own records, making sure that my DD was on track to pay for what I was using.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • ngosa
    • By ngosa 26th Jun 17, 1:35 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    ngosa
    • #4
    • 26th Jun 17, 1:35 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Jun 17, 1:35 PM
    Thank you.


    I feared as much. Just so it's clear. Is the duration they can go back to a regulated item ? just frightened that it cant even be challenged downwards. I know I'm floundering for any basis to reduce this to some reasonable amount.


    And is the duration over which the monies owed are to be paid negotiable ? I cant afford to folk out that extortionate amount of money at once.


    sorry I sound all over the place.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 26th Jun 17, 2:43 PM
    • 27,017 Posts
    • 13,136 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #5
    • 26th Jun 17, 2:43 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Jun 17, 2:43 PM
    Thank you.


    I feared as much. Just so it's clear. Is the duration they can go back to a regulated item ? just frightened that it cant even be challenged downwards. I know I'm floundering for any basis to reduce this to some reasonable amount.


    And is the duration over which the monies owed are to be paid negotiable ? I cant afford to folk out that extortionate amount of money at once.


    sorry I sound all over the place.
    Originally posted by ngosa
    The 12 month back-billing provision; which, as stated, doesn't apply in your case; is a voluntary code of conduct. Albeit most companies follow the code.

    If it is a genuine debt, then like any debt, they can go back 6 years.

    Normally a company will allow you to pay back the outstanding debt over the same period as it built up. However as they have now put the matter in the hands of a Debt Collection Agency they might not play ball.

    I would contact FU(NOT the DCA) and try to negotiate.
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