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Reducing my dad's direct dbit

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  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,946 Forumite
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    keithp88 said:
     it's just that British Gas haven't had a meter reading for the best part of two years
    A couple of points may be worth mentioning, although possibly longshots.
    • IIRC British Gas are supposed to obtain a meter reading at leat once per year.  If they don't, then the Back Billing rules may apply.  There are many knowledgeable posters on this forum who can advise.

    • Once things are settled, he can pay by Monthly Variable Direct Debit.  This makes it much easier to keep tabs on consumption and avoids the big catch up bills that can arise if a fixed DD turns out to have been set too low.  It also avoids big credit amounts building up, but of course it also means big bills in winter and small ones in summer.

  • keithp88
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    Every day is a school day, thank you for the education. I will see him tomorrow and phone British Gas and try to get a more reasonable monthly payment from them. I'll also register him with an online account and we'll provide regular meter readings. 

    Thank you for your help on here, what nice people you are.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    keithp88 said:
    Little bit of background, I live in Ireland and am home for Christmas. I have been in the dark about this as he didn't want me to worry... 

    He essentially paid next to nothing last year, so there is a little over £2k of debt. His usage over the last two years has probably been consistent it's just that British Gas haven't had a meter reading for the best part of two years

    It's the actual meter that hasn't been reporting to British Gas. Apparently the IHD has never worked.

    I don't want this to be overly complicated, he isn't trying to get out of paying (he is honest to a fault) we just don't want to leave him with nothing. 
    If - as it seems - British Gas messed up because their smart meter didn't work and they didn't ask for readings then in England 'back billing' legislation would I think apply. In certain circumstances energy companies may not bill for more than a year back.  Is there any equivalent legislation where you are?  It might be worth investigating.

    Dad is in England or Wales; the OP is back from Ireland, presumably Eire.
    If it was Scotland then the supplier would be Scottish Gas.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • SensibleSarah
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    Just for a bit of context, I'm a single person household and low gas user - in a 2-bed terraced house in the North West of England. My gas usage over the last 12 months (to 16th Dec, so just as the recent cold snap was coming to an end) was 2580 kWh - so it's definitely possible for the 4000 ish kWh to be a year's use if he's fairly frugal with it. 
    Obviously if he's someone that always has the heating on etc then that's not going to be case though.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    For it to be that low, assuming gas CH and DHW, I'd suspect that you have hardly had the heating on at all until the recent very cold spell? And using minimal hot water?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • pochase
    pochase Posts: 3,449 Forumite
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    edited 23 December 2022 at 4:00PM
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    Is it really 4000KWh gas, or is it maybe 4000 units? That would explain the high debit order they are asking for much better?

    It would also explain a debt of £2000.
  • keithp88
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    Dad is in a terraced house in Lancashire, and he's a bit terrified to put the heating on. We have dug out his most recent (and only available) bill and British Gas have estimated that his usage for the next year will be 49485.67kwh. Given that he has used 4100kwh over summer, if that doubles over winter he will hit the 12000kwh mark which someone earlier said would probably be on the mark. I have no idea where they get the 49.5k from, I can make some guesses but its probably against forum policy...  The debt comes from the fact they have been charging him just £14 a month. It could arguably be said he should have known it was too low, but he's 86, active, no dementia or similar but he struggles with the modern connected world and he just assumes that these large companies will bill him the right amount. 

    Just for info, I am back from Northern Ireland into the best county in England (IMHO), but I'm on a learning curve here with the gas.
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,946 Forumite
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    If you set up an online account you will be able to see the previous bills and meter readings and whether they were smart, meter reader, customer or estimated.
  • wrf12345
    wrf12345 Posts: 452 Forumite
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    British Gas appear to make up estimated use in their favour, often three times what it should be... but then only charging £14 a month in the past should have had some red flags popping up on their system but they seem to have given up with meter readers (I have been expecting the meter man to call for the past ten months as I have old style meters and eventually persuaded them to drop my DD to £30 a month for gas and electric, surely suspicious if they had a handle on their affairs). Letting the account go into debt by cancelling the DD will force them to fit prepayment meters with the debt paid off a little bit every time it is topped up but your dad will not like that idea, I think.
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