Estimated bills - pro-rating of unbilled energy?

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My apologies for the obtuse title - let me explain.
I'm on DD with British Gas, and have been since inheriting this supplier on moving into our current house a year ago. I have been effectively underpaying for my energy for the past year. Largely through laziness, but also due to having more pressing matters (and larger mortgage bills!) I've been ignoring the fact that the DD amount was *way* too low. For the first time in the past year I've had some time to sit down, compare other suppliers - and calculate the amount I owe. This will be some (gulp) £1400 - £1000 on gas, £400 on electricity. Needless to say I'm on estimated bills. I did take a reading on moving in.
I have no problem with paying for what I owe, and appreciate that BG have been effectively subsidising me for the past year. However, I now have a quandary. If I jump to another supplier now, I have many unpaid units to pay for. Will these:
a) all be calculated at the present (high) rates? or b) be spread out though the year, since the last accurate reading, incurring varying (and lower) rates?
From what I can determine from searching other threads, a) is more likely - the rate from the last bill will be used (pro-rated if this has changed in the quarter?).
Would I perhaps then be better off waiting for a while, hoping that energy prices come down a bit, and pay off my unpaid units at a new lower rate? Does anyone know how BG calculate exit bills in this situation? Of course, should someone actually read my meter in the meantime, I'm scuppered.
Many thanks in advance for any response! (And yes I know that if I'd quoted my own readings on each bill I wouldn't be in this pickle!)

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,038 Forumite
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    Welcome to the forum.

    How refreshing that somebody comes onto MSE and admits some responsibility, instead of whining about the big bad Utility company.

    BG should estimate your consumption on the various dates of the price rises(2 in the past year?) and you pay them at the various rates. ie. your 'option B'

    However when you owe that much to BG, and because of the difficulty in working out exactly what you owe, there is scope for 'negotiating' a sizeable discount off the whole outstanding balance - possibly as much as 20% from reports on MSE.

    Obviously do not indicate you might be moving from BG.
  • matkinson
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    Thanks for the welcome Cardew (and for being gentle with my irresponsibility :o).

    So I am correct in thinking it is in my best interest to make a humble phone call to BG, provide my meter readings, and ask how I should make up the shortfall? Is the "discount" you mention likely to be offered if I do not get assertive? This isn't in my nature, but I might swallow my morals to get even 5-10% off!
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,038 Forumite
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    I really don't know how it is best to approach BG.

    As you say you could wait and see what happens if there is a price reduction - they may charge all of the units at the reduced price.

    However whichever way you are billed there is plenty of scope for a reduction and you will not be out of pocket; you will probably need to be assertive though.
  • Ken68
    Ken68 Posts: 6,825 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Energy Saving Champion Home Insurance Hacker!
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    Hi Mat...this underpaying should have been picked up by the BG computer and no doubt it/he/she will get a slap on the wrist from a programmer.
    Any resulting discount to you will come from the computers' Christmas Party fund so you need feel no guilt.
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