Energy company and pre payment meter

Hi all, 
I need some advice about my energy company because I'm at the end of my tether with them now. It's quite a long story so many thanks to anyone who hangs in there long enough to even read it, never mind reply! 
 Background - I'm on prepayment meters for gas and electric. Just before covid I moved energy company and had a smart meter fitted for electric only, they said the gas one was to follow.
Due to covid/backlog etc it wasn't until earlier this year (May I think) I remembered to chase it up and try and get my gas one changed over to a smart meter. The install was booked and on the morning of the install it was cancelled by the engineer as he didn't have the right type of meter available and I needed a different one from the usual one because I am close to an RAF station. 
Chased a couple of times with no joy. 

Since the April price rises I had been putting on the same amount of credit each month (£70 using a gas card at the shop then into the meter) with knowing that more were coming, I put more on during the summer months while I was hardly using it and had built up around £100 in credit. Once the meter had accepted the payment, and knowing I had plenty on I didn't check the meter until next top up, all good until August this year. 
I put the shower on to no hot water, checked the boiler and it showed the error code for no gas available (as in the meter wasn't dispensing gas) on checking the meter I had £0 credit and when I started looking through the screens it also had a debt of over £600. 
I rang the company to find out what was going on and they said that they had no record of the debt and that they couldn't 'see' the meter. I said that the meter must be malfunctioning because I had topped up £70 two weeks before, and at that point I had £123.00 credit, and there was no way, in a heatwave that I had used £123 gas and run up over £600 of debt in 2 weeks. I was told I needed to 'prove' this before they would send out an engineer to look at the meter and so I took photos of the screens and then emailed them. I called back and a meter change was booked for the following Tuesday (this was Thursday). 

In order to get some hot water I put the emergency credit on (£6) and 90% of that went towards this 'debt'. I topped up in total (in smaller increments) £21 the next day - of that I ended up with £2 credit and the rest went towards this 'debt'. I took photos and emailed those in as well as proof of the malfunctioning meter, on one occasion when the balance was again £0 and the gas cut off again, 90% of the credit I put on was taken towards the 'debt' and the 'debt' had doubled to over £1500 - in one day. 

I kept losing supply over the weekend because the meter was taking credit I put on for the debt so I rang them and said that they offered a 3 hour visit for people 'off supply' And I believed I qualified as I kept being taken off supply, I was eventually put through to the technical team after being bounced around and no one seeming to understand what I was telling them, that lady was brilliant, she understood exactly what I was saying, looked at the photos and agreed that there was no debt on my account and the likelihood was my meter was malfunctioning because it was old and I had an engineer out the same day to change me to a new meter to use with a smart meter. She told me that any credit I had lost because of the meter malfunction would be replaced. 
At least I had gas and hot water now! 

Then the real problems started! In summary, I have spent hours on the phone and emailed at least 20 times, escalated to a complaint and am still being given the run around trying to get back the credit I lost due to the malfunctioning meter. 
At first they thought I was talking about my new meter and that I didn't have a debt and I wasn't owed any credit, then that it was my own fault because I didn't have a smart meter installed soon enough, then that they'd transferred the credit on the old meter to the new one (£1.50 odd - what was left from the £21 top ups while malfunctioning) and so I wasn't owed anything. 
Today I was told that when they inspected my old meter it was found that I'd used more than I'd topped up and owed them money! I questioned how that was possible when I was on a prepayment meter and when your balance reaches £0 it cuts you off?! And that there was no way I'd used over £100 of gas in 2 weeks in a heatwave when I only have the central heating and hot water on gas and I wasn't using the heating, like most normal people during a heatwave of temps up to 33c. 
To illustrate that I pointed out that I was using about 60p a day according to the smart meter once it was changed over until mid October. 

Eventually the guy on the phone today got what I was saying and said he'd speak with a manager and email me about 'seeing if they can replace my credit'. 

I don't have proof of the credit I had prior to the malfunction because once the meter accepted the credit on the card, that was done, and they say they can't see top ups (which would indicate the meter was malfunctioning?!).
 I do however have (and so do they because I emailed photos of it) proof of the £21 I topped up and that 90% of that was taken by the meter for a debt I don't owe. 

I just want the money back I built up over the summer to guard against the price increases but I'm banging my head against a brick wall here.
The meter malfunctioned, ate over £100 credit I had towards a debt I don't owe, and then further top ups I put on to keep my hot water on. 

I have made a complaint and am still being given the run around, also through resolver. 

The really galling thing is I have had this situation before, with a different company at a different address, the meter wiped credit and added a huge debt - that company came straight out, changed the meter and restored the credit immediately, it took one day to solve.
 Apparently hot weather can make the prepayment gas meters malfunction and add debt and take credit towards that debt, but according to my current company that's impossible. 

What are my next steps here? I know about the ombudsman but not sure how to go about it because I haven't had a resolution yet from the company, to be honest I feel like going to the press because this is appalling, I should be able to have my heating on more than I can because I built up credit for these cold months, and I've been given the run around for 4 months now. 

If anyone has experienced this, or has any advice I'd be truly grateful! 


  • mac.dmac.d Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Possibly best to post this in the Energy forum for a better response. I've no experience of pre-pay meters, but I'd imagine if you have no proof of the credit you say you had in your meter (photos showing the meter or receipts for the top-ups), you'll struggle to get anywhere.

    You need to log a formal complaint with your supplier and after 8 weeks if you aren't happy you can then take it to the ombudsman. 
  • Broken123Broken123 Forumite
    4 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Thanks, I did think about the energy board but thought as it was more a customer service thing I'd try here, but I'll post over there. 

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