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  • FIRST POST
    • Gillian Bendall
    • By Gillian Bendall 2nd Jan 18, 4:50 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Gillian Bendall
    High Energy Bills
    • #1
    • 2nd Jan 18, 4:50 PM
    High Energy Bills 2nd Jan 18 at 4:50 PM
    Hi, my in-laws (pensioners) living alone are paying nearly 8000 GBP a year for their electricity. It is the only source of energy going into the house but seems outrageously high to me. I'm living in France so have nothing to compare it to.
    Scottish Power came out to look and the representative said that it looked like they had the meters mixed up but nothing happened after the visit. They are on direct debit but when I look at the bill and payment information on their Scottish Power account they are not consistent with the amount they are billing and taking out of their account.
    My in-laws are in their mid 80's and this is becoming very stressful for them. Any advice?
    They have already paid over 4500GBP and there is now a demand for over 3000GBP for 2017.
Page 1
    • molerat
    • By molerat 2nd Jan 18, 5:14 PM
    • 17,711 Posts
    • 11,974 Thanks
    molerat
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:14 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:14 PM
    There is obviously something wrong there. Could they contact the local CAB for some help ? A local senior's help group ? Is there not anyone else who could go round and check the meter serial against the bill ? Who is reading the meters ? Could they be adding the decimal point to the reading ? They also need to be put on the supplier's priority services register.
    Last edited by molerat; 02-01-2018 at 5:20 PM.
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    • macman
    • By macman 2nd Jan 18, 5:17 PM
    • 41,565 Posts
    • 17,121 Thanks
    macman
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:17 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:17 PM
    You need to tell us the actual usage figures in kWh, not ££. What is their annual consumption, how is the property heated and hot watered, and how large is it? What tariff are they on? Is this dual fuel or electricity only?
    You can access all the info you need by logging into their SP online account.
    £8K pa is ludicrously high for any residential property.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 2nd Jan 18, 5:37 PM
    • 27,142 Posts
    • 13,257 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:37 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:37 PM
    Are you sure that this is not a case of their monthly Direct Debit being increased dramatically - to around £650 - and they multiply this figure by 12 to produce the £8,000 annual figure.

    This often happens when bills have been based on under-estimated meter readings and a large debit balance has built up. The DD is increased to cover the winter consumption and pay off the debt before the review period.

    However as said above, just giving money payment makes it difficult to comment - what we need is annual kWh(unit) totals.
    • ajbell
    • By ajbell 2nd Jan 18, 6:06 PM
    • 936 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    ajbell
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 18, 6:06 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 18, 6:06 PM
    At 15p per kwh that would be 6kw constant use 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
    4kWp, South facing, 16 x phono solar panels, Solis inverter, Lincolnshire.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 2nd Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • 2,116 Posts
    • 1,352 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #6
    • 2nd Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Jan 18, 6:40 PM
    [QUOTE=Gillian Bendall;7364972 are on direct debit but when I look at the bill and payment information on their Scottish Power account they are not consistent with the amount they are billing and taking out of their account..[/QUOTE]

    What do you mean? Please give details of the meter readings for the last 12 months and indicate where they are actual or estimated.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • scones
    • By scones 2nd Jan 18, 8:34 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    scones
    • #7
    • 2nd Jan 18, 8:34 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Jan 18, 8:34 PM
    This may not apply, but just in case...

    If they are an electric-only household, do they by any chance have storage heaters and a dual-rate tariff such as "Economy 7", "White Meter", "ComfortPlus" or "TwinHeat"? Their bills and electricity meter would show two (or more) separate sets of readings - typically one for normal rate (aka 'daytime' or 'peak') and one for reduced rate off-peak (or 'night').

    If by any chance this is the case, it is well worth checking that Scottish Power have not accidentally reversed the two readings in their billing. This is a very common cause of overcharging in all-electric houses.

    To explain, this kind of setup typically has storage heaters that will be energised during the off-peak period to charge up with heat. They use a LOT of electricity, but this is usually balanced out by them only being switched on when the cheap off-peak rate applies. If the readings are swapped you will end up with the heavy heating loads wrongly being billed at expensive daytime rates. This can easily double or treble a bill!

    I've twice had this problem with Scottish Power and their call centre staff were worse than useless at resolving (or even understanding) this. However, if you raise a formal complaint and escalate it is actually relatively straightforward for them to sort out.

    (One other scenario in a house with storage heating and dual-rate tariffs is that the billing is correct, but that a faulty timeswitch, incorrect installation or botched meter replacement has led to the heaters being stuck on all day long using up lots of peak-rate electricity. This is probably quite rare though.)
    • Gillian Bendall
    • By Gillian Bendall 3rd Jan 18, 3:54 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Gillian Bendall
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 18, 3:54 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 18, 3:54 PM
    Hi, they do have storage heaters and the water is electrically heated too. For some reason there are 2 meters. It is a relatively large property but they are only heating half of it as there is just the 2 of them.
    I've added up the consumption from Dec 2016 to Dec 2017 and it is 31,385KW.
    Is it a large consumption? Should I be asking for someone from SP to go out again?
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    • 2,116 Posts
    • 1,352 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #9
    • 3rd Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    Can you split this consumption between the two meters ?

    If this an E7 tariff there may well be two meters.

    Could there be heating in the parts they are not using ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • scones
    • By scones 3rd Jan 18, 7:36 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    scones
    That would seem fairly high to be though I'm not an expert. I can't imagine 31385 kWh coming out as much less than £3000.

    As Robin9 says, you need to split out that consumption so that you know the total recorded on each meter. You can then see how it matches against the bill and check that the right rates are being applied to the right meter readings.

    Do you know which Scottish Power tariff they are on? The only current tariff they list as having two separate meters is something called "Comfortplus Control" - but I guess they could have an old or non-standard setup on a different tariff.

    (Scottish Power off-peak tariffs are listed in the "Option Table" at https://www.scottishpower.co.uk/energy-efficiency/energy-efficiency-toolkit/electric-heating/.)
    Last edited by scones; 03-01-2018 at 7:41 PM.
    • Jonesya
    • By Jonesya 3rd Jan 18, 7:42 PM
    • 1,360 Posts
    • 834 Thanks
    Jonesya
    Hi, they do have storage heaters and the water is electrically heated too. For some reason there are 2 meters. It is a relatively large property but they are only heating half of it as there is just the 2 of them.
    I've added up the consumption from Dec 2016 to Dec 2017 and it is 31,385KW.
    Is it a large consumption? Should I be asking for someone from SP to go out again?
    Originally posted by Gillian Bendall
    Yes it is a high consumption - typically a household might use around 16,000kWh of gas for heating and around 3000kWh of electricity for other purposes - so if that was all coming from electric, around 19,000kWh in total.

    But even though the consumption is high, the bill also seems very high.

    If they were on a standard electricity tariff, you might expect to be paying around 25p/day standing charge, say 14p/kWh.
    (365 * 0.25) + (31,385 * 0.14) = £4,485.00
    Which is still a lot lot less than £8,000

    As it is, if they're on Economy 7 or a similar tariff, their average rate should be lower than 14p/kWh, so bills are definitely a lot higher than you would expect.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Jan 18, 7:51 PM
    • 2,116 Posts
    • 1,352 Thanks
    Robin9
    OP Could you get a letter of authority from the account holder (I presume your father) authorising you to talk to SP on their behalf ? Then you can talk to SP direct.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • macman
    • By macman 4th Jan 18, 10:58 AM
    • 41,565 Posts
    • 17,121 Thanks
    macman
    OP, please tell us the name of the tariff and the kWh split between the meters; all this info is on the bills and on the online account.
    I suspect this is one of the Scottish Power E10 equivalent tariffs, which is bad news if you want to switch.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • MSE Stephen B
    • By MSE Stephen B 4th Jan 18, 3:06 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    MSE Stephen B
    Hi Gillian, thank you for posting. As everyone else has already said, this definitely seems too high, even with the large annual consumption you have provided. Can I ask whether this annual figure is from estimated figures from the Scottish Power bills received or actually taken from the meters? Also, are you able to provide the tariff name that your in-laws are currently on? Many thanks, Steve
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 4th Jan 18, 4:09 PM
    • 2,116 Posts
    • 1,352 Thanks
    Robin9
    Gillian - who has been reading the meters ? They can be easy to misread - it has been known that the figures after the decimal point / or marked in read are ignored . Or perhaps say 2198 should be entered with the leading zero's as 002198
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • Gillian Bendall
    • By Gillian Bendall 4th Jan 18, 4:50 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Gillian Bendall
    They sent a rep out from Scottish Power to have a look so I am assuming they have now been read properly. I don't know what sort of contract they were on as it looks like they have just been changed.
    Very complicated situation as my in laws keep calling them and they don't seem to remember what's been said or what they have done.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 4th Jan 18, 4:54 PM
    • 2,116 Posts
    • 1,352 Thanks
    Robin9
    As per my post 11 you need to be able to talk to SP themselves.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • MSE Stephen B
    • By MSE Stephen B 5th Jan 18, 3:26 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    MSE Stephen B
    Hi Gillian, as Robin9 has mentioned, getting third party access or similar so you can talk with Scottish Power directly may be useful. You could try emailing social@scottishpower.com or collating the contact via the resolver tool (http://www.resolver.co.uk) which provides templates and should help keep track of what has been said. Also, its well worth checking to see if they can switch to a cheaper tariff, even if they want to stay with Scottish Power. You can see a full market comparison if you use our Cheap Energy Club (https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub.) Please keep us posted, Steve.
  • Scottish Power
    Hi Gillian,

    I am sorry to hear of the distress that is being caused.
    So that we can get this investigated, are you possibly able to email me at social@scottishpower.com with the address details and account number if this is available?

    Kind regards
    Faye
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Scottish Power. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 12th Jan 18, 1:06 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    House Martin
    Hi, my in-laws (pensioners) living alone are paying nearly 8000 GBP a year for their electricity. It is the only source of energy going into the house but seems outrageously high to me. I'm living in France so have nothing to compare it to.
    Scottish Power came out to look and the representative said that it looked like they had the meters mixed up but nothing happened after the visit. They are on direct debit but when I look at the bill and payment information on their Scottish Power account they are not consistent with the amount they are billing and taking out of their account.
    My in-laws are in their mid 80's and this is becoming very stressful for them. Any advice?
    They have already paid over 4500GBP and there is now a demand for over 3000GBP for 2017.
    Originally posted by Gillian Bendall
    By "meters " Scottish Power " ( that will be a visit from a meter reader from MDS who probably has nt any idea himself ) will mean that the day/night meter readings will have been transposed.
    That is very common with meter readers from MDS who do Scot Power reads.
    If they are Economy 7 then the night rate , which they will be using the most , gets billed at the expensive day rate.
    Eco 7 users get very large bills when this happens but so long as Scottish Power use the muppets at MDS to read the meters this will happen all the time.
    I d like to add that I work for them and nothing has ever been mentioned in training to get the day and night correct when they read the meter.
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