Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • deathwishdave
    • By deathwishdave 7th Dec 17, 5:57 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 1Thanks
    deathwishdave
    Shock Electricity Bill
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 17, 5:57 PM
    Shock Electricity Bill 7th Dec 17 at 5:57 PM
    Hello,

    My family moved to our current house in July 2016, and we notified our electricity provider of the change, along with a meter reading.

    In September 2017, the electricity prover sent round someone to read our meters.

    Today, I received a letter from our electricity provider entitled "We're your new energy supplier" which confused me somewhat. I spoke with my wife, and it became apparent that we both were under the impression that the other was paying for our electricity.

    We just spoke with our energy supplier, and they confirmed that no payments had been made, and that we now owed almost £1500!

    I enquired as to why I had only just received a letter welcoming me as a new customer, and he was unable to explain it, and admitted that it was confusing. I also confirmed with them that they had received our change in circumstances notification last August.

    I said that I felt that they shared at least some of the responsibility for the situation we now find ourselves in. I was then told that a manager would conduct an investigation into what happened.

    Can anyone advise as to what rights I have in this situation please? and how I can best handle it.

    Many thanks.
Page 1
    • FullForce
    • By FullForce 7th Dec 17, 6:19 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    FullForce
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:19 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:19 PM
    D'oh! .

    If you both thought you were paying this, and neither were, you presumably have £1500 each in your bank accounts

    The supplier only wants £1500, so that leaves another £1500 for a wonderful Christmas! Enjoy!!!

    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 7th Dec 17, 6:30 PM
    • 4,635 Posts
    • 2,809 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:30 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:30 PM
    Hello,

    My family moved to our current house in July 2016, and we notified our electricity provider of the change, along with a meter reading.

    In September 2017, the electricity prover sent round someone to read our meters.

    Today, I received a letter from our electricity provider entitled "We're your new energy supplier" which confused me somewhat. I spoke with my wife, and it became apparent that we both were under the impression that the other was paying for our electricity.

    We just spoke with our energy supplier, and they confirmed that no payments had been made, and that we now owed almost £1500!

    I enquired as to why I had only just received a letter welcoming me as a new customer, and he was unable to explain it, and admitted that it was confusing. I also confirmed with them that they had received our change in circumstances notification last August.

    I said that I felt that they shared at least some of the responsibility for the situation we now find ourselves in. I was then told that a manager would conduct an investigation into what happened.

    Can anyone advise as to what rights I have in this situation please? and how I can best handle it.

    Many thanks.
    Originally posted by deathwishdave
    This is somewhat complicated. When you moved in to the property, you would have been on a Deemed Contract with the existing supplier to the property. Are you saying that you advised this supplier that you had taken over responsibility for the property? If so, did you discuss the type of tariff that you would be on as most Deemed Contracts are on the supplier's standard variable rate.

    Over the past 18 months, you have made no effort to find out why no Welcome Pack was received nor, it would seem, have you made any effort to get a bill. In such circumstances, it is unlikely that you can invoke what is known as the Back Billing Code.

    My advice: try to agree a repayment plan and, in future, provide your supplier with an actual meter reading each month for accurate billing and to prevent further bill shocks. Finally, make sure that you are your supplier's cheapest tariff whilst this situation is resolved.
    • ajbell
    • By ajbell 7th Dec 17, 7:10 PM
    • 915 Posts
    • 2,995 Thanks
    ajbell
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:10 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:10 PM
    £1500 is a lot of electricity in just over a year, do you heat with electricity?.
    About paying the £1500, you haven't paid them anything so you still have the money and electricity isn't free.
    4kWp, South facing, 16 x phono solar panels, Solis inverter, Lincolnshire.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 7th Dec 17, 7:34 PM
    • 27,103 Posts
    • 13,217 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:34 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:34 PM
    Welcome to the forum.

    The onus is on the new occupant to determine who is their energy supplier and give them your meter reading(s) on the date you moved in? Did you supply meter readings?

    What do you mean by a 'change of circumstance notification'

    Did you notify the water company and Council tax authorities you were in occupation?

    The energy supplier has no idea if the property has been occupied since the last occupant moved out.

    You have possibly heard about the 12 month back-billing provision? This means that if you have not received a bill you can only be charged for the last 12 month's consumption. However the code specifically excludes cases where new occupants do not take appropriate measures to contact the energy company to obtain a bill; so it is doubtful IMO that the code will apply.

    Assuming you didn't supply meter readings on occupation, it is quite possible that you could be paying some of the previous occupant's consumption; and you cannot challenge it now.

    P.S. In the many cases on MSE where occupants have been surprised to receive a huge bill, yours is the first case where a couple thought the other person was paying
    Last edited by Cardew; 07-12-2017 at 7:37 PM.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 7th Dec 17, 7:43 PM
    • 3,156 Posts
    • 1,877 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:43 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:43 PM
    Most of us would have noticed that we weren't getting any bills and that money wasn't going out of our accounts.

    My wife and I have sparate accounts but we know who's paying what.

    I'm guessing that the best you can hope for is time to pay.

    In future make sure you read your meter a bit more often than once in 18 months and keep an eye on your bills.

    Not a lot of sympathy I'm afraid as most of it's down to you not taking control.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • deathwishdave
    • By deathwishdave 7th Dec 17, 8:57 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    deathwishdave
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:57 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:57 PM
    @Hengus

    Are you saying that you advised this supplier that you had taken over responsibility for the property?
    We did within the first week of moving in.

    If so, did you discuss the type of tariff that you would be on as most Deemed Contracts are on the supplier's standard variable rate.
    I don't believe I had that conversation with them.

    Over the past 18 months, you have made no effort to find out why no Welcome Pack was received nor, it would seem, have you made any effort to get a bill.
    Unfortunately not, we are feeling pretty stupid about this. A series of miss communications during a stressful time led to this mistake.

    it is unlikely that you can invoke what is known as the Back Billing Code.
    Thanks for making me aware of this! checked on first-utility website, the conditions that would exempt us from this don't apply, so perhaps there is a chance
    @ajbell

    £1500 is a lot of electricity in just over a year, do you heat with electricity?.
    We don't heat with electricity. We were expecting a large bill, but this was a big shock.

    @Cardew

    Welcome to the forum.
    Thanks!

    The onus is on the new occupant to determine who is their energy supplier and give them your meter reading(s) on the date you moved in? Did you supply meter readings?
    We did supply meter readings, and were able to tell them the date we called. They appear not to have a record of this however.

    What do you mean by a 'change of circumstance notification'
    Sorry. We called with name, address, and meter readings.

    Did you notify the water company and Council tax authorities you were in occupation?
    Yes, we did.

    The energy supplier has no idea if the property has been occupied since the last occupant moved out.
    The property was a repossession, and had been vacant for over a year. A meter reading was provided several days before we got the keys, we are assuming the management company provided it.

    You have possibly heard about the 12 month back-billing provision? This means that if you have not received a bill you can only be charged for the last 12 month's consumption. However the code specifically excludes cases where new occupants do not take appropriate measures to contact the energy company to obtain a bill; so it is doubtful IMO that the code will apply.
    That is a shame. Our stupidity has cancelled out theirs.

    In the many cases on MSE where occupants have been surprised to receive a huge bill, yours is the first case where a couple thought the other person was paying
    There is lesson somewhere about good communication ;-). My wife handled the energy at our previous home, and I was the one who called to get our electricity switched on in this house (even though it already was), and this gave rise to the misunderstanding.

    @matelodave

    Most of us would have noticed that we weren't getting any bills and that money wasn't going out of our accounts.
    yes, it was a foolish mistake.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 7th Dec 17, 9:14 PM
    • 1,941 Posts
    • 1,255 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:14 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:14 PM
    Time to get your electricity under control.

    First ring your present supplier and swop to their cheapest tariff. Pay off the backlog asap.

    Then work out what your annual kwh is and use a comparison site to switch again.

    Then read your meter at least every month; read and understand your bills.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • deathwishdave
    • By deathwishdave 7th Dec 17, 10:00 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    deathwishdave
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 10:00 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 10:00 PM
    Do Energy Companies have an obligation to let you know what their cheapest Tarif is?
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 7th Dec 17, 10:05 PM
    • 1,941 Posts
    • 1,255 Thanks
    Robin9
    Have a look at your bill and you will see that they give details.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 8th Dec 17, 8:06 AM
    • 2,941 Posts
    • 1,498 Thanks
    dogshome
    I'm amazed that a husband and wife would each think the other was paying the Energy bills without any discussion, but then as an oldie I've learnt that if you take the roof off anybody's house you will be surprised whats going on inside - we all lead different lives

    However, according to the OP the supplier has admitted that they were notified of his occpation soon after he moved in.
    So this is not a case of a lazy or shyster customer just not registering with a supplier, it's a case of the supplier dropping the ball and failing to send out a Welcome letter and bills for 18 months

    The Back-Billing code should apply, and even now the OP has only been advised of the debt by letter and had no itemised bill, so the 12 month billing clock is still running

    We don't know who the supplier is, but my guess is that it's SP
    • Scrounger
    • By Scrounger 8th Dec 17, 8:24 AM
    • 711 Posts
    • 346 Thanks
    Scrounger
    Can anyone advise as to what rights I have in this situation please? and how I can best handle it.
    Originally posted by deathwishdave
    In light of the further information provided by the OP in post #7 I think that the Back Billing rule may well apply in this case.

    I would raise a formal complaint with your energy supplier (and escalate to the Ombudsman if not resolved after 8 weeks).

    If successful, that should reduce your outstanding bill to about £1000.
    Scrounger
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 8th Dec 17, 8:43 AM
    • 4,635 Posts
    • 2,809 Thanks
    Hengus
    In light of the further information provided by the OP in post #7 I think that the Back Billing rule may well apply in this case.

    I would raise a formal complaint with your energy supplier (and escalate to the Ombudsman if not resolved after 8 weeks).

    If successful, that should reduce your outstanding bill to about £1000.
    Scrounger
    Originally posted by Scrounger
    I don't agree as one of the underpinning tenets of the Back Billing Code is that the consumer has to have made some efforts to get a bill. Had this been the case then this would have alerted the supplier to the fact that something was amiss.

    From the Ofgem Website:

    Each case is looked at on its own merits; however, the 12 month limit for back-bills may apply in these examples when your supplier has:

    Failed to bill you at all and you have requested bills from them


    Billed you using estimated meter readings instead of valid readings provided by you or a meter reader

    Billed you incorrectly by mixing up meter readings, and failed to act upon information available to put this right

    Failed to do anything about a query or fault you have raised regarding your account or meter and subsequently allowed a large debt to build up on your account

    Failed to reassess a payment arrangement (e.g. Direct Debit) within 15 months, or failed to reassess based on a reasonable estimate.

    It may not apply if you:

    Have been using the gas or electricity supply but have made no attempt to contact the supplier to arrange payment. This includes moving into a property and making no attempt to let a supplier know you are the new tenant or homeowner

    Have wilfully avoided payment

    Have not co-operated with attempts to obtain meter readings or resolve queries requested by the supplier. This includes failing to allow access to the property or failing to respond to requests for meter details or meter readings.

    As the OP did little more than contact the supplier and then failed to notice for 18 months that no DD payments had been made, I am not sure that 100% of the blame can sit with the supplier. Some compensation should be offered for poor customer service but I am not sure that writing off 5 months of the bill will necessarily happen. The rationale for the Back Billing Code is one of avoiding bill shocks. In the circumstances described by the OP it is difficult to see how a couple could fail to notice that they were not paying for their electricity. The bill therefore should not come as a great shock.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 8th Dec 17, 9:13 AM
    • 27,103 Posts
    • 13,217 Thanks
    Cardew
    In light of the further information provided by the OP in post #7 I think that the Back Billing rule may well apply in this case.

    I would raise a formal complaint with your energy supplier (and escalate to the Ombudsman if not resolved after 8 weeks).

    If successful, that should reduce your outstanding bill to about £1000.
    Scrounger
    Originally posted by Scrounger
    There is more detail for the OP in this publication.

    http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/publication.html?task=file.download&id=6202
    IMO the difficulty for the OP is(from post #7):

    1. The energy company have no record of the telephone conversation giving meter readings. Although this conflicts with the statement in post #1 on 'change of circumstances' conversation in August.

    2. They didn't discuss what tariff to use during the August conversation and presumably what method of payment. Companies also routinely carry out a credit check.

    3. In the absence of correspondence for 18 months, is it reasonable to do nothing about obtaining, and paying for electricity?

    If electricity is not used for heating, £1,500 is excessive for 16 months. It may be worth finding out the closing meter readings for the previous occupant and compare with those taken when the OP occupied the property.
    • deathwishdave
    • By deathwishdave 11th Dec 17, 11:28 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    deathwishdave
    Thanks for the help guys, I'll keep you posted.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,346Posts Today

8,115Users online

Martin's Twitter