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    • User456
    • By User456 19th Jun 17, 12:09 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 1Thanks
    User456
    3 year old, estimated bill
    • #1
    • 19th Jun 17, 12:09 PM
    3 year old, estimated bill 19th Jun 17 at 12:09 PM
    Out of the blue, I've just had a bill for c.£180 (estimated!) from First Utility, gas and elec. The bill is for ~6 weeks use from the end of Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 for a house that was unoccupied (between tenants).

    I checked my records and I have an email from the letting agent stating that they were going to send the meter readings (these tally with the bill) to the utility company and state that the property was unoccupied.

    After a bit of email tennis with First Utility, they're stating that I must provide photographic evidence of the meters from Feb 2014, or a copy of the meter readings from when the next tenant moved in.

    I don't have that. The letting agent at the time wasn't good so we parted ways sometime in 2014.

    I do have 3rd party evidence that the house was unoccupied, so £180 for 6 weeks is clearly off. I only just got the bill too... after more than 3 years.

    I'm happy to pay them a reasonable amount. £180 isn't a reasonable amount imo.

    Any comments or suggestions would be welcome
Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jun 17, 12:24 PM
    • 3,708 Posts
    • 2,010 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 17, 12:24 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 17, 12:24 PM
    The fact that the property was unoccupied is irrelevant as someone is liable, at the very least, for standing charges. As it was Winter, was the heating left on? If you are the landlord, then costs between tenants normally sit with you. Presumably, you do have evidence (tenancy agreements) to show the period when you were liable for charges if not the actual meter readings. Debts can be pursued through the Courts for up to 6 years in England. I am afraid that you might have to put this one down to experience and just pay up.
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    • 2,816 Posts
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    dogshome
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    Doesn't seem to add up

    If FU were the incumbant suppliers to the house when the previous tenants moved out,( Dec 13?), they would have given FU a meter read to close their account
    .
    Likewise, the new tenants, (Feb 14?), would have had to register their occupation and give meter readings to FU when they moved in
    • User456
    • By User456 19th Jun 17, 1:14 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    User456
    • #4
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:14 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:14 PM
    Thanks for this. I'm not disputing that I need to pay something. Just that an estimated bill for £180, for an unoccupied house, for 6 weeks use, sent 3 years late, seems unreasonable.

    I could get the paperwork from this letting agent we fell out with 3 years ago. I don't have those records to hand, and I suspect getting them won't be worth the hassle.

    The gas will have had very minimal use, enough to stop the pipes freezing. No electricity will have been used.

    I could have easily sorted this out 3 years ago, but the supplier didn't act on any information they were given at the time. The bill was sent to the property not to my address. They were told it was unoccupied and were given a different correspondence address. This is why I didn't even get a chance to sort it out then.

    So, naff service from a letting agent, coupled with a big energy supplier being incompetent, then asking for unreasonable evidence means I pay £180.

    Thanks for your help. I'll pay, complain to First Utility, and set my expectations low...
    • User456
    • By User456 19th Jun 17, 1:18 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    User456
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:18 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:18 PM
    Yes, FU were given readings by the letting agent in Dec 13. I have no idea what happened in Feb 14, why they would need to estimate the bill.

    Unfortunately I was out of the loop, and left my letting agent to manage the property.

    As it's now 3 years old, I don't have much chance of finding out what happened
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
    • 3,708 Posts
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    Hengus
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
    Yes, FU were given readings by the letting agent in Dec 13. I have no idea what happened in Feb 14, why they would need to estimate the bill.

    Unfortunately I was out of the loop, and left my letting agent to manage the property.

    As it's now 3 years old, I don't have much chance of finding out what happened
    Originally posted by User456
    Up until last year, suppliers were only required to read meters once every two years. Suppliers will also go for the lowest fruit when trying to reclaim money owed to them. Tenancy agreements can limit the period of liability but not the amount if meter readings were not taken and passed on at the time.
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 19th Jun 17, 3:47 PM
    • 273 Posts
    • 301 Thanks
    BBH123
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 3:47 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 3:47 PM
    How often are suppliers obliged to read meters nowadays ?
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jun 17, 4:33 PM
    • 3,708 Posts
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    Hengus
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:33 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:33 PM
    How often are suppliers obliged to read meters nowadays ?
    Originally posted by BBH123
    Effective from 1 April 16:

    As noted in the November 2015 consultation, we believe that licence conditions 21B.4 and 21B.5 meet the objectives of billing accuracy in a more effective and efficient way than a static meter inspection interval. These conditions go further in requiring a meter read at least once a year, and allow suppliers flexibility in how they choose to obtain the meter readings.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 19th Jun 17, 4:39 PM
    • 7,786 Posts
    • 4,610 Thanks
    teddysmum
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:39 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:39 PM

    The gas will have had very minimal use, enough to stop the pipes freezing. No electricity will have been used.
    Originally posted by User456


    If the heating only kicked in during low temperatures, there would have been a tiny amount of electricity used to work the pump etc, but probably too little to register.
    • firefox1956
    • By firefox1956 19th Jun 17, 7:46 PM
    • 1,037 Posts
    • 571 Thanks
    firefox1956
    If the heating only kicked in during low temperatures, there would have been a tiny amount of electricity used to work the pump etc, but probably too little to register.
    Originally posted by teddysmum
    'Probably too little to register' !!!
    No....even that amount would have been 'register' by an electric meter.
    HTH
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 20th Jun 17, 8:20 AM
    • 73 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    House Martin
    Doesn't seem to add up

    If FU were the incumbant suppliers to the house when the previous tenants moved out,( Dec 13?), they would have given FU a meter read to close their account
    .
    Likewise, the new tenants, (Feb 14?), would have had to register their occupation and give meter readings to FU when they moved in
    Originally posted by dogshome
    Both these scenarios could well have been omitted. In my experience most new tenants don t do either, and if they do register start and end reads they are not accurate because they don t take them the minute they move in and just before locking the front door for the last time on the way out. suppliers are justified in ignoring start and end readings because theirs will be more accurate.. Some/many tenants say they don t understand the system, they have never been told how it works. I would advise the OP to get prepayment meters in for all rentals, preferably smart meters which can be switched to credit/prepay by the supplier. .Many tenants see credit meters as a way to live gas and electric free for much of their tenancy and depart leaving huge utility bills.
    Last edited by House Martin; 20-06-2017 at 8:57 AM.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 20th Jun 17, 10:25 AM
    • 3,307 Posts
    • 1,275 Thanks
    footyguy
    Out of the blue, I've just had a bill for c.£180 (estimated!) from First Utility, gas and elec. The bill is for ~6 weeks use from the end of Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 for a house that was unoccupied (between tenants).

    I checked my records and I have an email from the letting agent stating that they were going to send the meter readings (these tally with the bill) to the utility company and state that the property was unoccupied.

    After a bit of email tennis with First Utility, they're stating that I must provide photographic evidence of the meters from Feb 2014, or a copy of the meter readings from when the next tenant moved in.

    I don't have that. The letting agent at the time wasn't good so we parted ways sometime in 2014.

    I do have 3rd party evidence that the house was unoccupied, so £180 for 6 weeks is clearly off. I only just got the bill too... after more than 3 years.

    I'm happy to pay them a reasonable amount. £180 isn't a reasonable amount imo.

    Any comments or suggestions would be welcome
    Originally posted by User456
    If you refer to your records (you may need to get them from your agent) of the outgoing & incoming inventories/statement of condition signed by the appropriate tenants at the time agreeing with the meter readings. then that will show you the consumptioon you are liable for.

    Presumably, it bis the actions of the tenants reporting the end/start of a tenancy to the supplier that the supplier got the meter readings they have used for your estimate.

    Good luck!
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