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Company appeal energy ombudsman decision

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sunnyjimbobsunnyjimbob Forumite
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I contacted the Energy Ombudsman (EO) because I couldn’t get Utilita to refund my outstanding credit from when they were appointed as SoLR when Eversmart went bust. Cutting a long story short, the EO ruled in my favour, ordering Utilita to refund the credit, pay compensation and give me a written apology. I accepted the ruling but Utilita have appealed and have submitted 'new' evidence in the form of a bill they say I didn’t pay when I was an Eversmart customer. This bill was not in their original evidence bundle and I have still not seen it but the value exactly matches my outstanding credit – so it can’t be 'new' evidence. Can a company continue to add evidence and appeal the EO ruling ad infinitum? This has been going on since October!






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  • edited 9 July at 12:19PM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 9 July at 12:19PM
    As far as I'm aware this is the process

    "The ombudsman starts by contacting your energy supplier for information about what has happened so far. Once it has all the facts, it'll first try to resolve the complaint informally.

    If this isn't possible, the complaint will be referred to an ombudsman investigation officer. The investigation officer will write a provisional conclusion and send it to both you and the energy supplier. If you both accept the provisional conclusion, it'll become the final decision, and the energy supplier must carry out any required solution.

    You should tell the ombudsman if you or the energy supplier feels that the ombudsman has made a significant error, or if new important evidence has come out that could have had a real effect on the ombudsman's decision. Any comments or evidence received at this stage will be passed on to the ombudsman to consider when making the final decision.

    When the ombudsman has finished this process, it'll send you and the energy supplier a copy of the final decision. The final decision can't be changed and there is no appeal procedure."


    So it appears that if either your or the supplier do not accept the provisional conclusion and can produce new evidence then it can vary the final outcome - do I assume that this is the preliminary decision that you are citing or the final one.


    This is where keeping your own detailed records (every bill, statement, payment and document as well as bank statements or proof of payments) from your suppliers for several years is helpful. Unfortunately most people don't do this and therefore find it difficult to refute or challenge an errant bill or charge especially when the account has been closed or the company has gone bust. TBH in this day and age it best not to trust anyone to maintain proper accounts except yourself - especially when they are only available from someone else's server. (I save mine on my computer and keep a separate back-up on a memory stick)

    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • MWTMWT Forumite
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    This bill was not in their original evidence bundle and I have still not seen it but the value exactly matches my outstanding credit – so it can’t be 'new' evidence.


    It is 'new' to the extent that is was not originally presented as part of their case, and given the state of the records they are likely to have inherited it isn't all that strange that they may be finding missing parts of your account record.
    The real question though is if it is correct...
    Do you have all the bills for your time with Eversmart and do your payments cover all the consumption from day 1 to the transfer date?
    If so then you should be able to counter the new evidence, if not then perhaps they are correct... ?
  • sunnyjimbobsunnyjimbob Forumite
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    Thanks Matelodave and MWT

    I do have all my bills, going back to before I joined Eversmart but they are a joke – one bill covering a period of 21 days is 11 pages long and I received 3 bills in a month, all contradictory! At one point a refund becomes a debit (it’s as if they were lending me some money!). They didn’t bill me for almost a year despite me submitting monthly readings. When I did eventually get a bill, they didn’t charge me for kWh of gas, just the daily standing charge! (The electric was ‘correct’ ish). When my first Eversmart contract ended and the bills were sorted out, they calculated my balance and paid me a refund. They then offered me a very good deal with the Family Saver Club where I would pay for a year’s worth of energy up-front and they would pay 1% interest each month on the outstanding balance. The tariff was good too – too good it transpires but I remember thinking something about a gift horse and mouth at the time!

    When Eversmart went bust, the Utilita tariff was 17% higher than I could get with E-ON so I walked after a month. When I got the final bill from Utilita, my credit from Eversmart included a deduction for ‘transfer from Redfish’ but no further explanation. The deduction was identical to the amount I feel that I am owed. I’ve been asking for an explanation about Redfish but got nowhere and in fact Utilita just closed my complaint which is why I took it to the ombudsman. They have had an extended time period to submit evidence due to Covid19 but they failed to produce anything and now that the ruling has gone against them; Abracadabra!! A bill!!

    I must confess that I thought that the decision was final and binding if I accepted it. That is what the ombudsman portal timeline seems to imply: Complaint escalated; Prepare Case; Investigate; Decide.

    I’ll have to see what the bill says, I have sent the ombudsman a message asking if I may see this new evidence but I’ve been told that the investigator will review the appeal within the relevant time and provide me with a copy of the evidence they have considered when completing the appeal. It just feels wrong that Utilita get a second bite of the cherry but I’m not allowed to see or comment. What ever happened to “…….it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court…..” (that’s rhetorical). I’m just amazed that they are allowed to do this.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments, and I’ll keep you posted.






  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    If you have all your records, then it should be pretty easy to work out how much energy you used despite random bills etc. Just take your opening reading from your final reading. Work out the number of days, do the sums and calculate how much it should have cost (dont forget to add VAT if necessary). Then check how much you've paid them and hopefully that should show you who is right and who is wrong.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • edited 12 July at 8:49PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
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    edited 12 July at 8:49PM
    sunnyjimbob It just feels wrong that Utilita get a second bite of the cherry but I’m not allowed to see or comment. What ever happened to “…….it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court…..” (that’s rhetorical). I’m just amazed that they are allowed to do this.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments, and I’ll keep you posted.

    If someone is incorrectly billed by a company, they can simply send a further bill for the correct amount. Obviously you will need to see the calculations for the new amount.
    There have been many cases where HMRC and other Government departments have made mistakes and overpaid, and subsequently recover that money.

  • PeteinSQPeteinSQ Forumite
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    This thread is of particular interest to me as a former Eversmart customer. We actually left quite a few months before they went belly up but we never received a final bill. 
    Many months later (15th June this year) we got a letter from utilita stating that our account is £500+ in credit and that within 14 working days we would receive a cheque refund. 
    One month later and we have received nothing. I phoned them today and they literally can't find us in the system.
    Eversmart were a complete shambles of a company. When we were with them I had to keep writing to them begging for an invoice. 
  • MWTMWT Forumite
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    PeteinSQ said:
    Many months later (15th June this year) we got a letter from utilita stating that our account is £500+ in credit and that within 14 working days we would receive a cheque refund. 
    One month later and we have received nothing. I phoned them today and they literally can't find us in the system.
    Were you expecting a £500 refund and from your own records can you justify that figure?
    If not, then even if they do pay you, I'd be inclined not to spend it right away as they could easily change their minds some months down the line and ask for it back. 

  • PeteinSQPeteinSQ Forumite
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    MWT said:
    PeteinSQ said:
    Many months later (15th June this year) we got a letter from utilita stating that our account is £500+ in credit and that within 14 working days we would receive a cheque refund. 
    One month later and we have received nothing. I phoned them today and they literally can't find us in the system.
    Were you expecting a £500 refund and from your own records can you justify that figure?
    If not, then even if they do pay you, I'd be inclined not to spend it right away as they could easily change their minds some months down the line and ask for it back. 

    I'll be honest and say I'm not sure. With my new provider I am currently hundreds of pounds in credit so it is possible. We have unusual electricity usage patterns. We have an electric aga that we turn off during the summer and back on in winter and it more than doubles our usage. Depending on how long it stays reasonably warm for we sometimes turn it off later. So it is possible they do owe us this money. 

    It does seem ridiculous that between Eversmart and Utilita they can be so useless.
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    TBH it also sounds a bit ridiculous that you dont actually know whether you were in credit or debit, don't seem to have kept any bills and didn't manage to get a final bill - did you make a formal complaint or did you just send e-mails and hope.

    I left Eversmart about a week before they went belly-up so didn't actually expect to see a final bill until Utilita had sorted it all out, As they hadn't done anything by December I sent them a formal complaint giving them 14 days get on with it or send me a deadlock letter so I could go straight to the ombudsman. I got my final bill within 48 hours and my refund cheque 24 hours later. It was only £35 but that's not the point.

    However I did tell them that I had copies all my bills, meter readings and statements and my final reading with Eversmart as ammunition if they wanted to get stroppy.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • PeteinSQPeteinSQ Forumite
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    TBH it also sounds a bit ridiculous that you dont actually know whether you were in credit or debit, don't seem to have kept any bills and didn't manage to get a final bill - did you make a formal complaint or did you just send e-mails and hope.

    I left Eversmart about a week before they went belly-up so didn't actually expect to see a final bill until Utilita had sorted it all out, As they hadn't done anything by December I sent them a formal complaint giving them 14 days get on with it or send me a deadlock letter so I could go straight to the ombudsman. I got my final bill within 48 hours and my refund cheque 24 hours later. It was only £35 but that's not the point.

    However I did tell them that I had copies all my bills, meter readings and statements and my final reading with Eversmart as ammunition if they wanted to get stroppy.
    It probably is ridiculous. I didn't overly worry about the lack of a final bill, and didn't complain at all via email or any other channel. I naievely assumed that there would be some sort of minimum requirement from regulatory bodies that energy suppliers should be able to sort these things out. I hadn't banked on Eversmart seeming to maintain their customer database either in Excel or on scraps of paper. 
    In my defence (sort of) I'm extremely busy, two kids, demanding job, long hours etc. Oh and £500 is perhaps not the end of the world to me but I'd still like it back if they owe it to me.

    Years ago we had a similar problem with a previous much larger supplier that sent us a final bill several months after we left them demanding £2k. We argued the toss with them for months and negotiated it down to something like £800 which we then paid. By this point we were so annoyed with them that we instructed them to delete all their records about us as per data protection. They then announced that our account was £800 in credit and gave us the money back. So I should have realised that energy companies don't employ the brightest and best.

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