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Paying communal electricity for 4 years, help! Supplier: Npower

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Paying communal electricity for 4 years, help! Supplier: Npower

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
9 replies 2.2K views
AlexhuddsAlexhudds
3 posts
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
Hi all, new to the forum so apologies if I have posted in the wrong place. This is quite a long post as I want to be as thorough as possible, any advice would be appreciated.

I moved into my property (2 bed flat, all electric, no gas) in November 2011, shortly after moving in (Feb 2012) I received an electric bill from Npower for around £80/month in electricity. At this point I made a huge effort to lower my usage, to do this I did the following as well as many other things; I reduced my washing machine usage to 2 times a month, I turned off my water heater and used cold water only, I limited showers to 5mins Max on eco setting, I also stopped using all forms of electric heating.

Expecting this to drop my bills to around £40 I waited for my next bill, and again the bills where coming through at £80 - £120 a month, at this point I contacted Npower and requested they come inspect my meter. I made the same phone call 3-4 times over the course of 6 months and each time was told my usage was average and they wouldn't investigate, instead threatening to cut me off if I didn't pay my balance immediately.

Bringing us to today and my total payments to Npower have been in the region of £3700 - £4000 since November 2011, an average of approx £100/month and somewhere in the region of 9000kwh/year for a 2 bed flat occupied for the last 2years by just myself. Electric consumption is outlined above; one person, working full time, short showers, no heating EVER, no hot water heater and very infrequent use of cooker.

Last week whilst doing a meter read I decided to have a quick look at my meter and the cables attached etc, and noticed that my meter is connected to a separate fuse board for the communal lights, sockets, and alarm systems of the flats above me (I'm basement flat with my own door, meter is located in the entry area to the block of flats directly above me).
By killing the power to my flat and turning on the lights in the communal areas, and monitoring my meter, I have confirmed that I have been providing the electric for the communal areas since I moved in.

I have raised an official complain with Npower and have been told it will be investigated within 10 working days, what I'm wanting to know is, who is responsible for refunding my overpayments? I have been advised by CAB that Npower MUST correct my overpayment first, then persue the landlord for the energy used by the communal areas themselves. Is this the general practice? Or is it possible Npower can just tell me to speak to my landlord to get the money back?

Also after speaking to a former tenant of the flats who I knew from his time in the building, he has told me that several of the tenants have been using extension cables from the communal plug sockets (used for cleaning/contractors) to power heaters/appliances in their flats as a way to avoid using their own supply. Whilst this does explain why my usage is so high, how can I prove this is the case when requesting my overpayments back? I'm a little worried Npower are just going to try fob me off with a 10% refund when the real figure I should be refunded is likely to be closer to 70%/80%..

Any help much appreciated, thanks for reading

Replies

  • edited 10 June 2015 at 7:34PM
    moleratmolerat
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    edited 10 June 2015 at 7:34PM
    This is nothing to do with NPower whatsoever. A complaint with them will get you nowhere. They owe you nothing. They have billed you correctly for the electricity your meter has used. They are not responsible for the wiring after your meter. Your complaint is with the landlord / management company / freeholder of the building. Get them to install their own meter and get the wiring corrected.
  • Thanks for the reply molerat, this is how I initially understood the situation to be however Citizens advice seemed quite certain that npower would be the ones who would make the adjustment and told me as I was being billed for my property (which is a completely different address and postcode to the above flats) they said it should be npowers responsibility as they are the ones legally responsible for the meter.

    Does this mean that we are contracted to pay for the electricity consumed by the property or electricity consumed by the meter? If that makes sense, because my meter is registering consumption from more than one address does that not make it an Npower meter fault?
  • Alter_egoAlter_ego
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    Seems CAB are wrong, or misunderstood what you told them on this occassion.
    As said, nothing to do with Npower. The wiring after the meter is not their concern.
    Loose means not tight, Lose means something is lost, simples no?
    Ignore me if you like, it's not the real me anyway.
  • Seems I'm getting some completely conflicting information here, i asked the same question on a different forum and had the exact opposite answers.. can I ask what you guys have as a source for your information? I understand that Npowers responsibility ends at the meter, but my responsibility ends at paying for the electricity used by my property.

    The feedback from the other forum seems to be that you are contracted for the electricity used at your own property and the coincidence that another separate property also is wired into my meter does not make me liable for the electricity used by the separate property. My agreement is for electric consumed by "1 electric street" (example) and not by meter number sn71268954

    Yes I understand and agree that it should be the landlord from a moral point of view, but as me being the end consumer I have an agreement to pay for only the energy at my property and nothing else. And as such Npower as the supplier have no right to ask me to chase up money that someone else owes them.. Do they?

    Thanks again for your help
  • I'd concentrate on working with the management company to get the communal areas running of their own meter. What have the management company got to say as presumably they are aware there is communal lighting/sockets and must surely be aware they were not being billed for them ? Having a separate meter for communal electricity can often be more expensive as it needs to be on a business tariff and as such sometimes a flat will agree to it being wired to their meter in return for say a reduced service charge
  • edited 10 June 2015 at 11:49PM
    ChumpusRexChumpusRex
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    edited 10 June 2015 at 11:49PM
    Alexhudds wrote: »
    Yes I understand and agree that it should be the landlord from a moral point of view, but as me being the end consumer I have an agreement to pay for only the energy at my property and nothing else. And as such Npower as the supplier have no right to ask me to chase up money that someone else owes them.. Do they?
    Your electricity supplier delivered the electricity to your property (your meter); the point at which their responsibility ends.

    The fact that your wiring allowed other people to use the electricity that had been correctly delivered to your address is not your electricity supplier's problem.

    Once the power reaches the meter your electricity supplier is entitled to submit a bill for the whole amount to the account holder. It appears that npower have done this, and therefore you have no complaint against them. It is absolutely your responsibility to check what electricity is being consumed through your meter and to pay for it.

    If, by coincidence, your electricity supply is being used by someone else, then you still have to pay the electricity supplier. You can, if you wish, bill the other user(s) for their consumption. However, you will have to make all the arrangements yourself - either estimating a bill for them, or buying and installing a private meter and calculating the bills yourself.

    You need to speak to your landlord and/or the management company of the building and ask for reimbursement for the electricity that has been used. In general, if it is just some corridor lights on time switches, this is rarely more than about £10 or 20 per year.

    If other residents are using extension cables to steal your electricity, then I would suggest you get an electrician in to disconnect the communal electricity as a matter of urgency. If you can get proof (with photos) or other residents stealing power with extension leads, then send them a bill, then if necessary take them to court.
  • Robin9Robin9
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    I am Secretary for a management company for a block of 6 flats.

    We have a communal meter for corridor lighting, security systems. The bill is under £100 a year and is included in the management fees.

    OP - the issue you have is with your Management Company- it is absolutely nothing to do with NPower. Put your problem to the company. Do not switch off the supply to the corridors - that would cause a safety issue.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • moleratmolerat
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    Alexhudds wrote: »
    Seems I'm getting some completely conflicting information here, i asked the same question on a different forum and had the exact opposite answers.. can I ask what you guys have as a source for your information? I understand that Npowers responsibility ends at the meter, but my responsibility ends at paying for the electricity used by my property.

    The feedback from the other forum seems to be that you are contracted for the electricity used at your own property and the coincidence that another separate property also is wired into my meter does not make me liable for the electricity used by the separate property. My agreement is for electric consumed by "1 electric street" (example) and not by meter number sn71268954

    Yes I understand and agree that it should be the landlord from a moral point of view, but as me being the end consumer I have an agreement to pay for only the energy at my property and nothing else. And as such Npower as the supplier have no right to ask me to chase up money that someone else owes them.. Do they?

    Thanks again for your help
    No, you have an agreement to pay for the electricity supplied to the meter registered to you and your property. What you, or any other third party, choose to do with that electricity is of no concern to or responsibility of the supplier. If it was a separate meter supplying the communal areas and you were being billed for that then it would be an entirely different matter and that is what I assume the other sources of advice are thinking is the case.
  • macmanmacman
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    In short, you are fully liable for the usage through your meter. It's up to you to recover any communal or 'stolen' usage through the LL or management co. That is a third party dispute and no concern of Npower.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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