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Bills way too high and Electricity meter in flat next door in rental property

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Bills way too high and Electricity meter in flat next door in rental property

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PW3371PW3371 Forumite
7 posts
First Post
MoneySaving Newbie
Please can anyone help with advice? Sorry this is a bit long winded ....
My sister rents a 1 bed flat which only has an electricity supply.  The meter is in the flat next door and she can only get a meter reading via the tenant there. 
For a start is this actually legal to rent a property with no access to the meter?
When she moved in Spark energy estimated when she moved in that £40 per month would be ample for a 1 bed flat, especially as she is at work all day.  She then got an extremely large bill (approx £150 for 1 month) she called to find out why and ask for the meter to be calibrated.  They said they won't do that yet and asked her to send a 2 week meter read, as you can imagine this is not easy because the man in the other flat had to do it for her.  Anyway she did send the readings and was waiting for a response, she cancelled the direct debit but has been making payments manually to the account of approx £50 per month.  She then got a letter from a debt collection agency saying they would be sending an 'agent' round!    She called and said there was a dispute with her bill so this should not be happening, the debt collection company said they can only take instruction from Spark. So she was back on to Spark who assured her they would call off the debt collectors while this was being sorted.
Yesterday .....Bailiff on the doorstep!!!!!  She didn't answer the door thankfully as is working from home and was on a call to her boss (COVID19 precautions) so a letter was left.
She has again contacted Spark and they have now said that the meter read was not good enough as for 4 of the days she was not at the property!!   The reason she was not there is because our mum was taken ill very unexpectedly and in hospital and subsequently died. As I'm sure you can appreciate this is an issue we really do not need at the moment  :'( 
She has again contacted Spark and they have now said that she needs to re-do the meter read.  She has to rely on the neighbour to 1) do it each day 2) do it accurately 3) read the correct meter (there are 3 meters, one for my sister, one for him and one for the cafe next door!)  With the buildings being very old and disjointed I also wonder if the cafe are connected to the supply which is going through her meter, how would we check this???
If we go into lockdown she again will not be there as I have insisted she comes and stays with my family rather than be alone at what is already a very difficult time for us.
Spark have refused to send someone out to look at the situation or to install a smart meter so the readings can be taken electronically each day.
We are really worried this is going to affect her credit rating as she is hoping to buy a property next year? 
She has now handed in her notice on the property and will move to our Mum's house rather than it be empty.
Spark have refused to send someone out to look at the situation or to install a smart meter so the readings can be taken electronically each day.
She has made notes of all the calls she has made with Spark and has email correspondence etc.
What do we do? 
How do we get them to resolve this?
Any advice would be massively appreciated, Thank you in advance :smile:

Replies

  • Mister_GMister_G Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    OP - You have posted this in the wrong place.  This is the LPG, Heating Oil, Solid and Other Fuels forum.  I suggest that you post it in the Energy forum, where you will be more likely to get answers.
  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
    7.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    PW3371 - you are not the only one to post in the wrong place - it's a consequence of a badly designed part of the Forum.
    She can prove that the meters supply the right property with the co-operation of the neighbour and the café.  Alongside the meter there will be a consumer unit -  switch them off in turn and see which property looses its supply.

    When she next gives readings to Spark don't give them any excuses like saying she wasn't there.

    She made the initial mistake of assuming the £40 was fixed - electricity is not an all you can eat utility. It relies of accurate meter readings.  What was the reading when she moved in and what is it today. ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • greatcrestedgreatcrested Forumite
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    * did she read the meter (herself, not the neighbour) when she moved in?
    * has he read the meter (herself, not the neighbour)sice to compare against the bill(s), or are the bills 'estimates'?
    * is she sure the right meter is being read (by her or whoever)? Has she checked (see post above, or turn on a high use appliance like oven and see which meter starts wizzing round)?
    * what notice has she served? Has the landlord accepted it? What tenancy does she have?

    If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link.

  • PW3371PW3371 Forumite
    7 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thank you, we are now looking into all of these things, she does have an initial read on the inventory from when she moved in so we will get her to do a reliable reading ASAP and try and work it out from there.
    She has given 2 months notice to terminate the tenancy agreement and they have accepted it.
  • edited 20 March at 1:07AM
    Richie-from-the-BoroRichie-from-the-Boro Forumite
    6.9K posts
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    edited 20 March at 1:07AM
    Photograph it. . .. then photo again as evidence on the last meter reading.
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
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