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British Gas Issue

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Hi all,
First of all I'm sure I'm not the only person who is experiencing/has experienced an issue with British Gas.  I've had a scan through the forums to see if there is a similar thread, I can't see one but apologies if this is repetitive!
I'm a single 38 year old male, who lives on his own in a 3 bedroom semi-detached property.  It does have a downstairs extension, with a conservatory, but still has the standard amount of radiators (3 downstairs, 4 upstairs).  I've been with British Gas for 12 months for my gas and electricity.  The only gas I use is for my heating and hot water, and my average bill is about £90 a month for gas.  My electricity, like most people can fluctuate, but is usually around £50/£55 per month.
I paid BG £300 in December, another £150 in January but then got a bill for over £500.  At this point I logged into my app, and saw that there was a huge spike in my electricity usage that seems to start at the end of November, lasts throughout December, and suddenly stops again around 12th January.  This has meant higher than usual costs, especially for December when I allegedly used £334.67 for one month of electricity.  My lifestyle hasn't changed, nothing has changed in my property over that period (aside from Christmas tree lights, but they wouldn't cause that spike and the dates don't match anyway). I've tried querying this with British Gas, and their response was to send the outstanding balance to a debt collection company, as well as informing me that the amount outstanding has now jumped to £1019.60.

I find it astonishing that when someone queries something that is clearly not normal, their course of action is to be very aggressive and use bullying and intimidating tactics just to get their grubby hands on some more cash.

I've tried to cancel my gas and electricity with them to no avail, as they very smugly informed me that they weren't allowed to leave me without either.  It seems they have customers over a barrel, as the choices are either leave and go elsewhere, but only when you've paid everything they claim you owe, or stay with them.

I'm also in an unfortunate position financially, after losing my job with a Football League club that sadly was allowed to be thrown out of the league.  I've explained my financial situation to BG, and made it clear that I do owe them some money and it's only this ridiculous spike that I'm querying and that I'll pay as much as I can, when I can.  Their tactics of being aggressive shows they don't give a stuff about people and only care about money.  Saying this, my issue over the usage isn't because of my temporary situation, it's more a matter of principle as I know it's impossible for me to have used as much as they claim.


My two main questions to other forum users are:

Have you experienced something similar?  and

Who would you recommend using instead of British Gas?

Replies

  • edited 29 February at 10:17PM
    Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    edited 29 February at 10:17PM
    Welcome to the forums.  Unfortunately you've posted in 'other fuels' so you may not get many responses: it should be in Energy.
    You need to think in kWh rather than ££ and to provide much more information about your kWh usage.  I trust you've been giving monthly readings?
    It sounds like you're not paying by DD, and BG are seldom the cheapest, so your bills are probably a fair bit higher than they need to be.  You need to enter your annual kWh usage (from actual meter readings) into a few comparison websites such as Citizens Advice and 'Switch with Which?' and then see whether cashback is available from MSE/CEC or anyone else.  Separate suppliers may be cheaper than dual fuel.
    As to the excessive consumption, do you have an instantaneous electric shower?  Has the meter been changed or misread?
  • Milesy81Milesy81 Forumite
    2 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thanks for the reply, Gerry.  It's my first time on here so clicked on what I thought was the energy section.

    According to BG themselves, my daily average is 6/7 kWh a day, which then jumped to 19 kWh a day.  I also find it strange that according to BG customer services, my meter sent them twice monthly readings automatically, but at the end of November this stopped.  This is more than coincidental to me, however I only found this out from them during a call on Wednesday last week.

    I'll have a look at Citizens Advice and Switch with Which and see what they throw up.

    I do have an instantaneous electric shower, but again the usage of that hasn't changed over that period so it won't be that.  I have read elsewhere that smart meters can affect billing but that sounds like a lame excuse to me and not one I want to use!
  • edited 29 February at 11:42PM
    HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
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    edited 29 February at 11:42PM
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/energy
    Its the black writing saying energy. But this link will take you direct, just click new discussion big red button and you will get more advice.
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
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