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Is this big bill my fault or British Gas?


I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. On September 26th 2008 we moved into a new rented house. The landlord was using British Gas for the gas supply so, after checking out who would be the cheapest supplier in this area we applied to move over to a new supplier.

The landlord had given British Gas a metre reading on day one. British Gas wrote to me to ask for a final reading around 13th November, which I provided.

We have moved into a smaller and better insulated house. The heating and water is provided through a combi boiler (as in our last house). The only thing that is different is that we now use a thermostat instead of timing the heating to come on and off at certain times. I thought this was a more efficient way.

Yesterday our final bill for British Gas arrived. It is £123.00 from 26th September 2008 to 13th November 2008. Surely this is way too high?!?!? I have questioned British Gas about this and they say it is correct.

Am I heating my house inefficiently or are British Gas ripping me off? My last house, which was bigger and less insulated used to cost around £40-50 per month to heat with Atlantic.

Any advice will be gratefully received.


  • Premier_2
    Premier_2 Posts: 15,141 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    If the bill includes the correct respective start & finish meter readings, then I would suggest it is correct.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • terryya
    terryya Posts: 603 Forumite
    I'd double check that they actually used the final reading you gave them as it isn't common for them not say they never received it and use an estimated reading.

    Also did you check the reading yourself when you moved in and give this to BG? If not the opening reading could have been wrong.

    If the opening and closing readings are both what you thought then it looks like the bill is correct.

    I think there is a big thread on here somewhere regarding if it is better to have your heating on all the time or times to come on twice a day, but personally I'm not convinced.
  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Given the debate on 'heating all day' v '2hrs morning and night' I suggest you read the meter every day for say 2 weeks using the thermostat method and then do the same again using a timer and compare the two. You'll need to take account of any major different in weather over the two periods but it should show which is best for you.

    Also dont try comparing £, compare units or kwh used as the prices have increased dramatically over the last 12 months so your old £40-50 average may have been based on different prices.
    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).
  • SwanJon
    SwanJon Posts: 2,333 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    Remember that prices have gone up a lot since this time last year, and unless you specifically requested to change you will have been on BG's standard tariff - what tariff were you on with Atlantic?
    £120 for 7 weeks ~ £70-£80 a month, but that assumes all months are October(ish) so I'd expect a plan for a year to be a bit lower each month
  • Merroney
    Thanks for your advice.
  • JimmyTheWig
    JimmyTheWig Posts: 12,199 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    Merroney wrote: »
    are British Gas ripping me off?
    There's two parts to this.
    1. Are the start and end meter readings correct.
    2. If so, is the amount charged for such meter readings correct.

    I've had multiple issues with British Gas where they got number 1 wrong. Have never heard of them getting number 2 wrong.

    So lets deal with the meter readings.
    Do you know what meter reading the landlord gave BG? If not, can you find out?
    Did you take a meter reading when you moved in?
    Did the estate agent take a meter reading?
    How do these meter readings all compare with the reading given on your bill?

    I presume that you still have a copy of the final reading you gave them.
    How does this compare with the reading given on your bill?

    If you've got any discrepancies so far then check them out and that may explain things.
    If not, but you've only got the landlord's say on the initial reading then you could try the following...

    Take a meter reading today. You've now got three meter readings...
    X - as at 26th September
    Y - as at 13th November
    Z - as at 2nd December

    Now work out
    (Y - X) divide by 48
    (Z - Y) divide by 19

    The first of these numbers will give you the units used per day with British Gas. The second of these numbers will give you the units used per day since leaving British Gas.
    Are these two numbers similar?
    If the first is much higher, have you made more of an effort since switching which would explain the difference in usage? If not then I would doubt the landlord's reading. What you do from here I don't know...
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