Incorrectly Billed by Scottish Power - what next?

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Hi All,

Hoping for some sensible advice/wisdom from the informed folks on here.

We moved in to our current property 4 years ago now - it’s out in the sticks and only has electricity and a biomass central heating/hot water system.

We pay for electricity via direct debit and I’d been submitting meter readings when requested via email (roughly every quarter). Now, our dirext debit did seem fairly low (typically £20-35/month), but every time I logged into my account, I could see that it was in credit, so it never concerned me. Given that it was a new (to us) property, we weren’t sure what to expect. 

Just recently, after having submitted a meter reading, my direct debit rose to just under £400, without warning. I logged in to my account to find that I was nearly £7k in debit. I contacted Scottish Power who told me that they’d not been recieving my meter readings and that all my previous bills were estimated. They’d recieved the latest and adjusted my account accordingly.

I’ve obviously challenged this and there’s been a bit of back and forth over the last couple of weeks. They’ve contacted me today and said that they’ve adjusted my move-in readings to reduce my debit to £2.5k and that I would need to pay this off over 12 months. Coupled with this, they’re now projecting my useage at around £120/month, so are demanding nearly £400/month from me.

I’m not overly concerned about their projection of my useage - presumably I can move to another provider, make sure I have meter-based bills and only pay for what we actually use. And I’m not questioning the actual useage either - the meter doesn’t lie.

However, I’m left really frustrated by the remaining debit. Scottish Power have since ‘found’ the meter readings which I’d been submitting and have accepted responsibility for under-billing me. But, is it right that they’ve arbitrarily removed £4.5k off the debit and are insisting that the rest is my responsibility? 

They are saying that my next move would be to refer to the ombudsman, but in the meantime will be charging me £350/month direct debit, which feels like I’m being forced to accept an outcome which I don’t agree with.

If indeed it is my responsibility to repay the remaining £2.5k, will they allow me to move to another provider and repay the balance on a payment plan?

Comments

  • Torry_Quine
    Torry_Quine Posts: 18,840 Forumite
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    Didn't you notice that the readings were estimated and not the ones you were sending in. You've done well getting do much off.
    Lost my soulmate so life is empty.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,194 Forumite
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    When I was with SP the online account portal was good and I got a bill generated every time I posted a meter reading on the portal...  I usually did that monthly.  That often triggered a DD review, as well.

    I was also able to see if SP had alternative tariffs that would save me money and move to those via the portal.

    Bills showed E for estimates and C for customer read against the numbers .... can't remember what a meter reader one was (as they were so rare).  I also checked the numbers on bills matched those in my paper 'meter readings book'.  (Gas, Electric and Water in the last house, just Electric and Water here).

    Have you not noticed that the meter readings did not tie up with those you submitted every quarter for four years??

    Read other threads but as I understand it SP can and will block a move until the debt is paid off.

    Think yourself lucky that they've written off a very large chunk of the electricity you've actually used over the last four years!
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,499 Forumite
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    You can of course cancel the direct debit and make monthly payments instead so you can be better in control.  They may object.

    I think also (but happy to be corrected) that you might find it difficult to move provider with a large outstanding amount to be paid.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • welshmoneylover
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    Did you not notice your bills were estimated?
    they probably won’t allow you to move until the debt is paid off.
    you should check your bills carefully each time you receive one and check the readings are those that you submit. 
    Be happy, it's the greatest wealth :)
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    See https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/check-energy-back-billing-rules .  Then ask Scottish Power why they are not adhering to the back billing regulations.  Or do your readings show that you used £2.5 k worth of power between your first acknowledged reading and the reading from 12 months previous to that?
    Reed
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    This quote is from a web page here: https://www.forbes.com/uk/advisor/energy/energy-back-billing/ .  Your case is exactly as the second bullet point, you gave accurate readings which were ignored.
    If you receive a back bill, the 12-month rules will apply if:
    • You’ve asked your supplier to send you a bill, but you haven’t received one for over a year
    • Your bills have been based on estimated readings rather than the accurate meter readings you’ve provided
    • You’ve been charged for the wrong meter without realising
    • Your supplier hasn’t resolved a query you raised about your account or meter
    • Your supplier failed to reassess a payment arrangement, such as a direct debit, within 15 months.


    Reed
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