Money Moral Dilemma: Should I report my broken meter to my energy supplier?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
31 replies 12.4K views
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I live in a flat and have Economy 7 electricity. I'm diligent with meter readings and just noticed my 'day' reading for 2 March is identical to the reading I provided on 2 January (night reading is changed). So it looks like there's something wrong with meter. Should I report it to my supplier or do I just sit tight and hope that they don't notice?!?

It's worth mentioning that when I bought the flat in 2004 the meter was totally broken for a year - I never reported it and the supplier never noticed that my monthly bills were zero, so I didn't pay for any electricity for over a year. My supplier at the time wrote it off when they put in the new meter in 2006. So past experience tells me that if I don't report it I'm unlikely to get a hefty bill....

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  • ska_loverska_lover Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    Hmmm just because you got away with it once, doesn't mean you will again

    I'd report it, and feel secure in knowing I wasn't going to get bit on the behind.

    If you don't, it is up to you really - but it is as good as theft, using something you know you should be paying for but not
    The opposite of what you also true
  • RubikRubik Forumite
    315 Posts
    Rampant Recycler
    There shouldn't even be any debate as to whether you report it or not. Report it, be honest and hope that the energy company won't send you an estimated bill. Which they may well do.

    You can't be that diligent with your meter readings if it's taken you 6 months to notice the reading is the same as it was in January.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
    70.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    "I bought the flat"

    As an owner, you'd never get away with it.... phone them up and get it sorted out. Who knows.... what if an important wire's come loose and is dangerously close to setting fire to the whole flat??
  • AmesAmes Forumite
    18.5K Posts
    I think it's more likely that you made a mistake with the reading than that the meter's broken. But if it is broken then of course you should tell them.
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
  • kingfisherbluekingfisherblue Forumite
    9.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Xmas Saver!
    What a ridiculous dilemma! If you are an honest person, then you would automatically report it. If you're dishonest, then you live with the consequences if you don't report it and are caught.

    Personally I couldn't sleep at night if I didn't report it, because it is theft. Would you walk into a shop and steal something? If not, then why would you steal from your utility company?
  • Your energy supplier will eventually notice anyway - their computers get suspicious as soon as meters don't move as expected or go backwards. Save yourself the hassle of waiting for them to contact you to get you to contact them, and just do it at a time that is convenient. It took months for my meter to get changed when it stopped working, but I paid a small amount compared to what I usually did in the meantime "as compensation" for the trouble. And other people I know in a similar situation also got considerable "discounts" while their meters were not working.
  • happyinfloridahappyinflorida Forumite
    807 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Of course you should report it because you don't know what's going to happen in life, you might be able to afford to pay a hefty bill if they notice later on and bill you but what if you have an accident and can't work and end up on benefits, if you're lucky and not one of those that even though are terminally ill still get refused any benefits and found fit to work - it's happened to so many already because the tories are quite happy to shaft people, especially when they're shortly going to die anyway, they don't care!

    So think carefully about this and then ring them up and get the name of the person you speak to so if it's denied in the future, you have a name and date and time you rang to prove you did.
  • Rubik wrote: »
    You can't be that diligent with your meter readings if it's taken you 6 months to notice the reading is the same as it was in January.

    Read carefully. OP says reading hasn't changed from Jan to Mar - that's just 2 months.
  • edited 25 July 2018 at 6:08AM
    stephanieannstephanieann Forumite
    10 Posts
    edited 25 July 2018 at 6:08AM
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm the OP of this dilemma which I sent in in March, but which is only being published now in late July.

    Here's an update....

    After 6 months of the day readings on the economy 7 meter being 'stuck' I did call my energy supplier at the end of June. They said that they will NOT charge me anything extra and they would investigate the problem and come back to me.

    A couple of weeks later they contacted me with an appointment for the meter to be replaced - I told them at that time that I do NOT want a smart meter as it's likely I will change supplier soon and smart meters aren't transferable to other suppliers.

    The day of the appointment, the engineer called me to confirm he was coming to fit a smart meter - so I told him that I specifically requested no smart meter. He didn't have any normal meters so we agreed that he wouldn't come. This was a contractor so I had to contact my supplier again to reiterate I don't want smart meter and to make another appointment for a normal meter.

    Today I got notice that they will be coming mid-August to install new meter. No mention on letter what kind of meter, so we shall see if they got it right this time.

    In the meantime, looks like I'll have received seriously discounted energy for almost 9 months since they are currently only charging me for the night readings that I provide every two months.
  • edited 25 July 2018 at 6:47AM
    gaving7095gaving7095 Forumite
    168 Posts
    edited 25 July 2018 at 6:47AM
    Well I guess at least this is closer to a "Moral Dilemma" than we usually get! But surely the answer from the moral standpoint is so obvious it renders the question moot.
    It seems unlikely that a new meter would be broken but who knows.
    Nobody here will advocate for anything other than reporting it, obviously.

    Update: just read the O.P.'s update - thanks :-) Lucky you! I don't see any good reason to refuse a smart meter as - if you want one - you can probably get one from your new supplier if you switch and if you don't the you can ignore it.

    Also I think you're under two misapprehensions:
    1) The actual meter (the broken thing you need replaced) and "smart meter" (usually a small handheld device) are two separate units. I guarantee that if your broken meter is replaced, the replacement to the actual meter will be suitable whichever supplier you use, and will have numbers on it which you can use for readings, etc.
    2) The functionality of the handheld "smart meter" telling you how much energy you're using at any given time WILL work, regardless of supplier. Anything over & above that on the meter may stop working once you've switched supplier, but surely the main point of smart meters was to provide an easy way of seeing how much energy is being used at any given time (which also is pointless because you can read the meter twice a day & do some simple maths, but heaven forbid).

    Worst case scenario is that the handheld "smart meter" bit either does stop working altogether (doubtful) or else loses some of its functionality if you switch - big deal.
    Seeing as you are going to switch, why not just do that now?
    If I were a cynical person I may suggest it's because your reason for switching - to get a better deal - is currently not there, even though you know full well that currently you are, technically, stealing energy.
    I would say that was "through no fault of your own", were it not for the fact that you've already refused one engineer due to what I believe is a pointless / false reason.
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