MSE News: Back-bill ban for energy firms

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
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Former_MSE_Megan_FFormer_MSE_Megan_F Former MSE
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
All energy firms will be banned from back-billing customers for more than 12 months under stricter new rules...
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'Energy firms to be banned from back-billing beyond 12 months'

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  • liviboyliviboy Forumite
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    Anyone else think that companies will just inflate the direct debit amounts in order to always be in credit and then leave it to the consumer to claim a refund...
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    The cynic in me suggests that this has as much to do with keeping the pressure on suppliers to rollout smart meters to all their customers. From Ofgem's website:

    Quote: As smart meters are rolled out across the UK, suppliers will no longer need to rely on estimated bills and send catch-up bills to customers. Suppliers have obligations to make sure they use the technology, once smart meters are installed, to improve services for customers for example by providing accurate billing. Unquote

    You can see the supplier's defence as being one of 'the customer refused to accept a smart meter......"
  • WhoIsThatWhoIsThat Forumite
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    I'm getting a feeling of deja-vu here:

    11 months ago, you posted a similar story,
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/energy/2017/04/energy-customers-will-no-longer-receive-catch-up-bills-under-ofgem-proposals-

    Except it was supposed to have been introduced by last winter. :cool:

    Now I see it won't come into force until April 2019 for domestic customers, and October 2019 for microbusinesses.

    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/who-contact-if-its-difficult-paying-energy-bills/energy-back-billing-your-rights

    Until then, we'll all have to hope our supplier applies the the process "voluntarily", which Ofgem have previously said they expected all suppliers to do.
  • NineDeuceNineDeuce Forumite
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    Hengus wrote: »
    The cynic in me suggests that this has as much to do with keeping the pressure on suppliers to rollout smart meters to all their customers. From Ofgem's website:

    Quote: As smart meters are rolled out across the UK, suppliers will no longer need to rely on estimated bills and send catch-up bills to customers. Suppliers have obligations to make sure they use the technology, once smart meters are installed, to improve services for customers for example by providing accurate billing. Unquote

    You can see the supplier's defence as being one of 'the customer refused to accept a smart meter......"

    But that doesnt make sense. The supplier can still bill to an estimate if it doesnt have a read from the customer or a smart meter....
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    From the Ofgem Press Release:

    Quote: Suppliers can still backbill customers past 12 months where the customer!!!8217;s behaviour is obstructive, such as blocking physical access to a meter, or manifestly unreasonable, such as tampering with a meter or stealing energy. Consumers will not be at fault for failing to provide meter readings. Suppliers will need to assess consumer behaviour on a case-by-case basis. Suppliers are allowed to chase unpaid bills that they have previously sent in compliance with their obligations. Unquote
  • jackieblackjackieblack Forumite
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    liviboy wrote: »
    Anyone else think that companies will just inflate the direct debit amounts in order to always be in credit and then leave it to the consumer to claim a refund...

    My first thought too
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  • glider3560glider3560 Forumite
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    So those of us who give regular meter readings will be subsidising those who can't be bothered and are happy to receive estimated bills. Typical.

  • HornetSaverHornetSaver Forumite
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    glider3560 wrote: »
    So those of us who give regular meter readings will be subsidising those who can't be bothered and are happy to receive estimated bills. Typical.

    It's quite rare for estimated bills to be lower than actual bills, for what I would have thought are obvious reasons - the less attention someone pays to their energy usage, the more they are likely using, therefore the estimated bill is usually on the high side. Such people are also disproportionately likely to be on standard tariffs.

    So if anything, they are subsidising your behavior.
  • Tim1952Tim1952 Forumite
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    My son and his partner are in severe financial difficulty including £3,500 in unpaid gas and electric with British Gas. When my son contacted British Gas to make a reduced offer to pay the debt they said the account was in a state of confusion and they would sort out the account and come back in 10 days. Both metre readings were provided. 10 days later they sent a bill for £1500 which looked promising until we noticed that the gas metre reading date had note been updated and was set at the March 2017 date and value. This means (confirmed with British Gas) that another bill will appear reflecting 2 years gas usage when the up to date reading is applied bringing us back to around the original £3000+ bill. Is there any way my son can argue the 1 year catchup rule in order to only pay for electricity and gas used in the last year. Note that they have not paid the bill for just over a year. There are no gas readings actual or estimated registered since March 2017 on the latest bill. Actual electricity readings are present for March 2017 and April 2019. All other readings are estimated.
  • SwanJonSwanJon Forumite
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    I'm not as close to this as I used to be, but I think as they were receiving bills they can't argue the 12 month rule.
    Not making any payment in a year won't look good either - I suspect this will have been reported to the credit agencies.
    However, if they are in a position to pay for what they are using (and I recommend that they at the very least start putting this amount into savings) then it might be worth looking at the British Gas Energy Trust.
    This is a charity funded by BG, and their customers can claim a grant. (BG would much rather get that money back than it go elsewhere).
    https://www.lets-talk.online/Home/AllSchemes
    As you can see from the link, EDF, npower and eon also have similar schemes.
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