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not using enough gas - supplier wants to change meter

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
13 replies 774 views
Vaultgirl42Vaultgirl42 Forumite
2 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Energy
I've moved to a 1-bed 1st floor flat. Everything in the flat is electric including heating. The only gas appliance is the oven hob. I spend most of my time at work or out so I very rarely cook at home. I've been having trouble the last few months submitting meter readings for my gas usage since the meter reading is the same (though the three digits at the end are going up).

I'm with Scottish power so have been using their in-app chat to speak to someone about it. Every time I have had a letter or text to submit readings (which has been 5 times since I moved in at the end of October!) I cannot submit through the app as the old reading matches the new one so I use the app-chat to submit readings. Each time this has been fine but this time I discovered that despite sending a photo of the meter, the person previously had submitted the reading wrong and changed the 1 at the end of the reading to a 7. In the process of requesting this be reverted so I don't get billed for gas I've not used, and to update my meter readings, the person at the end of the app has decided that my meter must be wrong since the main reading has not changed, only the decimal points at the end which are not recorded.

I have supplied photographs from the day I moved in and each time it has been read (I've taken a photo each time) and you can see that the meter is going up but I have probably only used the hob 2-3 times in the whole time I have been at the property and usually only to cook pasta for 5 minutes or so.

They asked me to run a burn test, which I did and it showed the meter going up during burning and not when not in use. The amount it went up was from ###21.353 to ###21.517 - that was with 4 gas hobs on 90% power for 15 minutes. based on gas hobs costing around £16 a year to run (based on being used 400 times a year) I think this seems fairly reasonable for 15 minutes of use.

I have now been told that the meter needs replacing and they have booked an appointment, which is of course when I am at work and I cannot take the time off or get someone else to stay in for me. I asked why they thought there was a problem and they said "they just want to make sure that I pay for the gas I use and nothing more"

the original reading when I moved in in October was ###20.817
as of this morning it was ###21.517

- I also rent, so I'm unsure of the rules about this - do I need the landlord's permission for a gas meter to be replaced?
- can I tell them to cancel the appointment? the property has a Gas Safety Cert so there is no issue with gas safety.
- can I refuse a new meter?

I really don't want to go through all this upheaval for them to then turn around next month after seeing that I have still not used any gas and question it again.
As far as I can tell everything is in order, I just use very little gas (my bills are actually a LOT more than at my previous 3-bed terraced home due to everything being electric - average bills were £75 per month and I'm averaging £110 per month now! I'm just not using much gas...
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Replies

  • Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    Neither you nor the landlord can refuse a meter change (have a look at the Ts & Cs to which you signed up), but why not offer them some appointment times when you'll be at home?

    Given that the property has gas, you might wish to ask the landlord to install gas central heating. It would improve the value of the property, and it would attract a higher rent. You could offer to split the savings you'd make !
  • thanks for confirming re the changing of the meter. I'm going to call them tomorrow as I already asked for another appointment and was told that if I did cancel then i will have to wait 7 days for them to be able to give me another slot... no idea why... not great!

    I know that the landlord isn't going to have gas central heating put in. It was recommended on the EPC when I moved in and they turned it down. they were planning to sell and I'm not planning to stay very long. I'd just prefer not to keep getting bothered by the utility company over the fact that I don't use much gas, and not have to have an unnecessary meter change happen...
  • Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    It would be a good idea to keep the landlord informed. They may not wish to have a smart meter installed.
  • unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    Gerry1 wrote: »
    It would be a good idea to keep the landlord informed. They may not wish to have a smart meter installed.

    It's not the landlords decision whether the bill payer changes to a smart meter or not.

    It may be polite to keep him in the loop.
  • ASavvyBuyerASavvyBuyer Forumite
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    Try changing your gas supplier to a different company. You may be paying more in standing charge than you need to as you have a very low gas use.


    Some companies don't mind that you have low use. For example, we are with Zog and don't use any gas from May till September as our Solar PV panels provide all the electric we need to heat our water. They have never queried the zero increases during those months.
    4kWp, W roof, 30° pitch, Solar Edge Inverter + Optimisers. South Wales Valleys, Installed Aug 2015. Octopus Go Faster Electric Tariff.
    Solic 200 Diverter, 2 x Ultra High Efficiency Air Conditioner/Heat Pumps, Kia Soul & Renault Zoe EV's & Ohme Charger.
  • BenightBenight Forumite
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    unforeseen wrote: »
    It's not the landlords decision whether the bill payer changes to a smart meter or not.

    It may be polite to keep him in the loop.

    It is, as the tenant will not be able to return the property in the same condition it was let, fair wear & tear excepted.

    Replacement of the meter on a like for like basis should not need the landlord's prior permission, but it would be courteous to keep them informed.

    :)
  • edited 16 January 2020 at 4:03PM
    chimneymanchimneyman Forumite
    9 posts
    edited 16 January 2020 at 4:03PM
    So long as you only pay for the gas which you use, then I'm not sure I really understand the problem. You will, of course, also be billed for daily standing charges.

    If you hardly ever cook at home, then why don't you get a couple of electrical devices and cancel the gas supply altogether? You'll be able to take the devices with you when you go.

    If you are paying a monthly payment plan, then I would suggest that you cancel it immediately and insist on paying on receipt of bill. You may lose a bit of discount but you will also avoid building up a credit on your gas account which may be difficult to reclaim.

    As soon as you are paying on receipt of bill, based on your own customer-supplied meter readings, then it will be for the gas supplier to decide how to arrange their own 'actual' meter readings. Just don't accept any demands to pay any bill which is based on the supplier's own 'estimated' meter readings.
  • edited 16 January 2020 at 4:15PM
    unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    edited 16 January 2020 at 4:15PM
    Benight wrote: »
    It is, as the tenant will not be able to return the property in the same condition it was let, fair wear & tear excepted.

    Replacement of the meter on a like for like basis should not need the landlord's prior permission, but it would be courteous to keep them informed.

    :)

    Unless it is explicitly stated in the contract and even then that would arguably be an unfair term as it may prevent you getting the best contract.

    The meter is not the property of the landlord so he/she is not in control of it unless the gas/electric is still in their name. TDS have already thrown out attempts by landlords trying to claim for changing the meter back.

    Landlord/tenant relationships aren't helped by changing.
  • Owain_MoneysaverOwain_Moneysaver Forumite
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    I have now been told that the meter needs replacing

    They want to check that (a) the meter isn't faulty (b) you haven't bypassed it.

    If you are renting and at work, can you get your landlord or the agent to provide the key to the meter fitter?
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
  • edited 16 January 2020 at 5:53PM
    BenightBenight Forumite
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    edited 16 January 2020 at 5:53PM
    unforeseen wrote: »
    Unless it is explicitly stated in the contract and even then that would arguably be an unfair term as it may prevent you getting the best contract.

    The meter is not the property of the landlord so he/she is not in control of it unless the gas/electric is still in their name. TDS have already thrown out attempts by landlords trying to claim for changing the meter back.

    Landlord/tenant relationships aren't helped by changing.
    Ofgem recommends you tell your landlord before you get one.
    Source: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/smart-meters/

    Similarly
    If you've got a prepay meter and you're renting, you can still switch your energy supplier providing you pay the company directly (check your tenancy agreement too – though if it says you can't switch, challenge it).

    This is because it could be seen as changing the property from its original condition, unless you arrange to change the meter back at the end of the tenancy. The supplier may charge to do this, so check first. See the Cheap Prepaid Gas & Elec guide.
    Source: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity/

    But lets follow your arguement through to it's natural conclusion.
    Lets say my landlord provides me with a furnished property, and all the furniture is rented by him. Presumably I can do what I like to that furniture, or even take it with me when I leave, as , the furniture is not the property of the landlord so he/she is not in control of it :cool:

    Taken at it's highest, you appeared to have been advocating an action that you now concede would not help landlord/tenant relationships.
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