I feel like Brit Gas are fiddling my energy account. Raising DD way above usage, etc. Any advice?

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danieljm
danieljm Posts: 39 Forumite
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edited 8 February 2023 at 12:34AM in Energy

Really need advice here if you can take the time. Going to try and keep it short and concise but I could waffle on for a while. I honestly feel as though British Gas may on the fiddle with my energy account. I am genuinely worried about this and seriously need some advice as I'm lost and anxious.

When I started my plan with them, not long in I received an energy usage bill for £9,000. Disputed this and after some to and fro they admitted 'we got it wrong' and something about 'the meter doing a full lap'. Was corrected but I told them I still wasn't happy.

Back in Sept they increased my elec DD to £90 - definitely about right, but my gas DD to £230. The most we have ever used in a month is £75 the December just gone, that is AFTER the prices went up. Felt like they just plucked a number out of thin air. Was using an average £15 a month before this and was massively in credit. Second complaint submitted - they admitted it was 'excessive' and refunded around £190 (diff between old/new DD) and reverted it to the old amoint.

FFWD to today and I looked at my gas use for Jan - it was through the roof, £100. Funny given we heated the place much less than Dec with it being much milder and were hardly at home. Look at the day-by-day breakdown and they calculated we used precisely £3.90 every day, day-on-day for the latter half of the month. I have just submitted another complaint asking them to provide a succinct explanation as to how this has come about and insisted they amend it with precisely the exact usage.

Honestly I don't know what to do. I feel like BG are getting it VERY wrong time after time and taking much more than they should. I understand the cap is on the up but I'm absolute certain beyond all doubt they aren't getting it right and it's causing me massive stress.

Any advice before I get fobbed off on my complaint?

Am I allowed to refuse BG permission to modify my DD without consulting me?

Should I move to a pay for what you use plan?

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Comments

  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,997 Forumite
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    edited 8 February 2023 at 12:42AM
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    You can’t work it out on the amount you are paying. You need to go on your meter readings and the number of KWh. 
    Are you taking and submitting regular meter readings? Is your bill based on a reading or an estimate? 

    As a point of comparison my direct debit for all utilities was £75 before everything went up. I live in a three bedroom not particularly well insulated terrace. My gas bill for January was £200. That’s not an estimate,  that’s based on the correct readings and with my thermostat firmly fixed at 17 degrees. 

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • danieljm
    danieljm Posts: 39 Forumite
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    edited 8 February 2023 at 12:50AM
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    elsien said:
    You can’t work it out on the amount you are paying. You need to go on your meter readings and the number of KWh. 
    Are you taking and submitting regular meter readings? Is your bill based on a reading or an estimate? 

    re; Readings, I am on a smart meter so these should be totally automatic yes?

    I understand what you are saying in regards to calculating usage/payments, but my account gives a full breakdown of energy usage recorded by the smart meter both in terms of KWh and £ used, so surely it should be fairly obvious whether I am paying too much/too little by looking at the energy I used in £ terms, the amount I pay every month and comparing these? It's clear that putting the DD up to £230 was grossly in excess of our average usage.

    I'm thinking I may be best to move to a variable direct debit.
  • victor2
    victor2 Posts: 7,656 Ambassador
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    Don't think in £s, kWh is what you are billed for. Of course it is money you are ultimately interested in, but read your meters and make sure BG are using actual readings and not estimates. 
    Your electricity meter reads in kWh, so is easy to track. Your gas meter could be cubic meters or  (if an older meter), hundreds of cubic feet. Your statements will show the formula used to convert the reported usage into KWh.
    If you can find readings about one year apart, you will see what your annual usage typically is. That will then give you an idea what your current cost should be - at current rates of course.

    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.

  • danieljm
    danieljm Posts: 39 Forumite
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    edited 8 February 2023 at 1:02AM
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    victor2 said:
    Don't think in £s, kWh is what you are billed for. Of course it is money you are ultimately interested in, but read your meters and make sure BG are using actual readings and not estimates. 
    Your electricity meter reads in kWh, so is easy to track. Your gas meter could be cubic meters or  (if an older meter), hundreds of cubic feet. Your statements will show the formula used to convert the reported usage into KWh.
    If you can find readings about one year apart, you will see what your annual usage typically is. That will then give you an idea what your current cost should be - at current rates of course.
    This should be too hard for me to calculate really. I will have been on their account for exactly 12 months in just under a fortnight. I didn't think to look at it on these terms.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but presumably: 28.485*365 + KWh*10.343/12 will bring me to the amount I should (roughly) be paying for gas? 
  • victor2
    victor2 Posts: 7,656 Ambassador
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    danieljm said:
    victor2 said:
    Don't think in £s, kWh is what you are billed for. Of course it is money you are ultimately interested in, but read your meters and make sure BG are using actual readings and not estimates. 
    Your electricity meter reads in kWh, so is easy to track. Your gas meter could be cubic meters or  (if an older meter), hundreds of cubic feet. Your statements will show the formula used to convert the reported usage into KWh.
    If you can find readings about one year apart, you will see what your annual usage typically is. That will then give you an idea what your current cost should be - at current rates of course.
    This should be too hard for me to calculate really. I will have been on their account for exactly 12 months in just under a fortnight. I didn't think to look at it on these terms.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but presumably: 28.485*365 + KWh*10.343/12 will bring me to the amount I should (roughly) be paying for gas? 
    Assuming 23.485p is your daily standing charge and 10.343 is the p/kWh, that is correct, so long as you add the two numbers together before dividing by 12. 
    That is obviously for one fuel only. You would need to do the same for the other (with the appropriate rates) to get an idea of total annual cost for utilities. This also assumes the rates you are using include VAT at 5%. If they do, your statements will show slightly lower rates as VAT is added to the total.

    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.

  • danieljm
    danieljm Posts: 39 Forumite
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    edited 8 February 2023 at 1:21AM
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    victor2 said:
    Assuming 23.485p is your daily standing charge and 10.343 is the p/kWh, that is correct, so long as you add the two numbers together before dividing by 12. 
    That is obviously for one fuel only. You would need to do the same for the other (with the appropriate rates) to get an idea of total annual cost for utilities. This also assumes the rates you are using include VAT at 5%. If they do, your statements will show slightly lower rates as VAT is added to the total.
    Thank you. I will crunch these numbers and see what it returns. I will use my average daily use for Jan/Feb to calculate the remaining days up to 20/02/2023 (one day before my plan started) which should give me an accurate enough figure to take to BG when I query it.

    Yes, I am on dual fuel though it is taken as two separate payments. I am confident that my DD amount for electric is pretty bang on, but I shall look at it anyway for sake of accuracy. It's my gas DD that they have been trying to bump up by almost 500%.

    This will just leave me to figure out how they have calculated me to have used precisely 35KWh gas every day for 15 days on the bounce in Feb - I think not somehow - this is what is concerning me more right now; that cannot be an accurate reading from my smart meter.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
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    danieljm said:
    victor2 said:
    Assuming 23.485p is your daily standing charge and 10.343 is the p/kWh, that is correct, so long as you add the two numbers together before dividing by 12. 
    That is obviously for one fuel only. You would need to do the same for the other (with the appropriate rates) to get an idea of total annual cost for utilities. This also assumes the rates you are using include VAT at 5%. If they do, your statements will show slightly lower rates as VAT is added to the total.
    Thank you. I will crunch these numbers and see what it returns. I will use my average daily use for Jan/Feb to calculate the remaining days up to 20/02/2023 (one day before my plan started) which should give me an accurate enough figure to take to BG when I query it.

    Yes, I am on dual fuel though it is taken as two separate payments. I am confident that my DD amount for electric is pretty bang on, but I shall look at it anyway for sake of accuracy. It's my gas DD that they have been trying to bump up by almost 500%.

    This will just leave me to figure out how they have calculated me to have used precisely 35KWh gas every day for 15 days on the bounce in Feb - I think not somehow - this is what is concerning me more right now; that cannot be an accurate reading from my smart meter.
    Smart meters can be set to send the usage data at different frequencies, some of them are only monthly (although what the supplier does with the data I'm not sure, it's possible some might just average it out rather than using the actual daily/half-hourly data).  If yours is set to monthly you should be able to change it to daily - gas doesn't need to be half-hourly.

    The bills will show whether the readings are estimated with an E next to it, or S for smart / A for actual.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,997 Forumite
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    May also be worth checking your meter to see that it is working, and your readings tally with theirs. Parent’s gas meter died last January - took her 9 months to notice. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • km1500
    km1500 Posts: 2,393 Forumite
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    There is something wrong with a gas usage of exactly £3.90 every day.
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