Nightmare electricity meter

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caj
caj Posts: 6 Forumite
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Hi 
I hope someone can help with advice 
my near neighbours just had a bill for electricity for £12,500! Their normal bill has been about £130 per month. They have regularly read their meter but the electricity company (shell) have not read the meter for years. They are two old people living in a tiny bungalow and only have 1tv fridge etc so there is no way that they could ever build up a bill like this
To compound the problem, the named account holder is in hospital and has become extremely confused and the electricity company won’t speak to his wife! 
Looking at the meter readings there was an enormous spike in the reading in mid September. The house was struck by lightning at this time. This blew up the Tv modem and landline phone
Has anyone had experience of anything similar?
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  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,132 Forumite
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    It's possible the meter is damaged.

    Has a member of his family got POA for him ?

    Have you access to their bills  - can you give us readings from the last 6 months or so please. Include the letters A, C, E  ,S,  Your read or Our  Read.

    Unless the couple are on the Priority Register don't expect meter readers to call.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • [Deleted User]
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    Someone needs to speak to a Citizens Advice energy adviser. The CA has access to supplier senior management teams.
  • SAC2334
    SAC2334 Posts: 764 Forumite
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    edited 1 November 2022 at 9:56AM
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    What type of meter is it and is it Economy 7 heating to the bungalow ?

    Two OAPS living in a bungalow could certainly use a lot of electricity if they are heating by Eco 7 .
    £130 a month might seem optimistically low if that is the case 

    I ve seen this situation happen enough times with Eco 7 when people with transposed readings get an enormous catch up bill and in some cases the supplier has force fitted prepayment meters and applied catch up weekly payments/
    A surge in electricity would take out a digital electric meter and turn it blank so the meter would not be recording units.
    An old analogue meter I don t think would be affected .
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,378 Forumite
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    Has anyone tested the electrics since the lightning? A combination of lightning and/or water getting in could mean an excessive leakage current 24 hours a day.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • caj
    caj Posts: 6 Forumite
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    Thank you all for the helpful comments. I’ve now had a look at the meter and it has become clearer now. The meter is a digital one and shows a changing display with firstly the date then a t figure then a 1 figure then a 2 figure. I’ve figured out that the neighbour has put down the t (total) figure as the 1 (nighttime) figure and the 1(night time ) figure as the 2 (daytime) figure. They therefore have hugely increased the readings, to £12,500 worth! So, having read the meter properly (I hope!) the readings show a usage of about £85 per month. I also looked at their account, and they are in nearly £600 credit . I’ve suggested that they request a meter reading ASAP by Shell, so they don’t take a direct debit payment of £2000 this month. 
    As to the issue of a Power of Attorney, there isn’t one in place and now can’t be done as he isn’t able to sign. Don’t know how it will all end…..still a nightmare
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,764 Forumite
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    caj said:
    Thank you all for the helpful comments. I’ve now had a look at the meter and it has become clearer now. The meter is a digital one and shows a changing display with firstly the date then a t figure then a 1 figure then a 2 figure. I’ve figured out that the neighbour has put down the t (total) figure as the 1 (nighttime) figure and the 1(night time ) figure as the 2 (daytime) figure. They therefore have hugely increased the readings, to £12,500 worth! So, having read the meter properly (I hope!) the readings show a usage of about £85 per month. I also looked at their account, and they are in nearly £600 credit . I’ve suggested that they request a meter reading ASAP by Shell, so they don’t take a direct debit payment of £2000 this month. 
    As to the issue of a Power of Attorney, there isn’t one in place and now can’t be done as he isn’t able to sign. Don’t know how it will all end…..still a nightmare
    Just because some is unable to sign does not mean a LPA can’t be put in place. As long as they have sufficient mental capacity it can still be done.

    Sounds like they really need smart meters fitting. 
  • victor2
    victor2 Posts: 7,643 Ambassador
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    caj said:

    As to the issue of a Power of Attorney, there isn’t one in place and now can’t be done as he isn’t able to sign. Don’t know how it will all end…..still a nightmare
    This is from Shell Energy's help:
    https://help.shellenergy.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/360001034497-I-want-to-nominate-a-contact-carer-or-third-party
    If his wife can access his email, it might be a way to get the form, then you can deal with his inability to sign.

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the In My Home MoneySaving, Energy and Techie Stuff boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. 

    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

  • caj
    caj Posts: 6 Forumite
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    Don’t think that he has mental capacity ( late stage Parkinson’s ) and there is no signal at all for smart meters. Feeling really sorry for his wife…
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,132 Forumite
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    May I suggest you take photos of the meter readings and send them to Shell by email quoting the a/c number.  Apologize for the error and ask for the bill to be amended.

    I don't think they will bother whose email account it is  (I assume your neighbour hasn't got email - if he has then use his account if you can)


    Shell won't just get a meter reader to visit just like that 
    Never pay on an estimated bill
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