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    • mosusmac
    • By mosusmac 3rd Oct 17, 2:32 PM
    • 8Posts
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    mosusmac
    Sudden spike in outstanding amount - what are my rights?
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:32 PM
    Sudden spike in outstanding amount - what are my rights? 3rd Oct 17 at 2:32 PM
    Hello experts,

    I'm hoping you can help me.

    We are Flow Energy customers, and have been since we moved to our house in July 2015. They set our direct debit at £39 per month after asking me about usage, which always seemed a little low, but we were keeping on top of usage according to our statements. Suddenly, the statements stopped and we didn't notice that we weren't receiving them (we had just had a baby at the time). August 2016 was our last statement until March 2017, when we suddenly were £990ish in debt to the company. Prior to that, we were always around £3-£5 either way in debt or credit.

    We provided meter readings in April, and again at the start of this month to try to rectify this, and the company have now come back to us saying we owe them £1530.43 according to meter readings provided by us on 21st September. They have given us four options:

    1. Pay it all off and increase the DD to £169 per month
    2. Increase the DD to £425 per month for 6 months to clear the debt, then reduce to £169
    3. Increase the DD to £340 per month for 9 months to clear the debt, then reduce to £169
    4. Increase the DD to £297 for 12 months to clear the debt, then reduce to £169

    If we don't contact them to choose an option within 10 days, they will automatically action No 4.

    My question is, what rights do we have as consumers in this situation? We provided meter readings which don't seem to have stuck, we allowed meter reader staff into our house to read the meter whenever they came to the door, and we were under the impression that everything was fine until the end of March. We don't have £1500 lying around to give them (which I imagine would be the best option, as we could then leave and join another company with a more competitive rate), but I don't want to be locked into paying £297 per month for the next year - a huge hike from the £39 we were paying. We were aware that we would be required to increase our payment, but this seems to be a huge and unexpected increase.

    Any advice you can give would be gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance,
    Mo
Page 1
    • spiro
    • By spiro 22nd Oct 17, 11:56 AM
    • 5,861 Posts
    • 2,818 Thanks
    spiro
    • #2
    • 22nd Oct 17, 11:56 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Oct 17, 11:56 AM
    The first question is, was the August 2016 based on an Actual or Estimated reading?
    If is was an estimate then the big bill is probably a 'catch up' bill cuased by previous bills being estimates and then suddenly corrected when they get an actual reading.
    If is was an actual reading then I can only gues the birth of your child has caused a large jump in comsumption conbimed with a low dd.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 23rd Oct 17, 10:31 AM
    • 27,114 Posts
    • 13,226 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #3
    • 23rd Oct 17, 10:31 AM
    • #3
    • 23rd Oct 17, 10:31 AM
    As you had statements in August 2016 and March 2017 the 12 month back-billing provision does not apply.

    As you have run up a bill of £1,530 in approx 27 months, it would appear that you monthly DD should have been in the region of £95 a month(average) instead of the absurdly low figure of £39. Albeit it may well be that the increase in consumption can be attributed to having a baby last year.

    It appears that you are not disputing that you owe the £1530, so I don't know what you mean by 'what are my rights'. They have given you options to pay off the deficit and it is really your choice which to accept.

    You need to choose one, or try and negotiate a longer period to pay back. Just ensure that the debt isn't passed to a debt collection agency.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 23rd Oct 17, 10:47 AM
    • 1,960 Posts
    • 1,271 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 17, 10:47 AM
    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 17, 10:47 AM
    While you were having your baby did you also take your eye off your utilites and have a fixed tariff expire and revert to a standard tariff ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
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