Can your landlord back date an electricity terrif increase?

We rent our unit from the local authority, who supply our electricity and bill us quarterly. The landlord has recently emailed all the tenants in the building advising that our electricity unit price will increase, but they are going to back date the increase from November 2022, and apply a standing charge.

Can they do this? Backdate an increase? Surely they need to give us notice that the unit price will increase at a future date and the standing charge will be applied from a future date? 

We are looking for a section or legal jargon to go back to them with. 

email: "As you will be aware under the terms of your lease you as a tenant are responsible for paying the utilities for the use of your property.  As such Cornwall Council seeks reimbursement of the electricity you use in each of your units by way of quarterly invoices.  In order to do this we take quarterly readings from your sub-meter and recharge you at a unit rate .  To date the rate we have applied to recharges has been a fixed rate of £0.1055 a unit even during the current energy crisis where rates have risen.  This does not reflect the actual rate that Cornwall Council are paying for the electricity supplied to West Cornwall Enterprise Centre which is now £0.26271 per unit.


It is important to highlight that this rate is lower than you would likely secure if you held a direct contract with a utility company because Cornwall Council benefits from a discount due to its buying power which we pass onto our tenants.


In addition to the unit rate we also pay a standing charge and a Climate Change Levy and Renewable Energy charge.


Historically we have not applied the standing charge to your invoices although we should have done so.  Going forward we are going to apply this to each invoice.  Apportioned the standing charge equates to £0.01611 per day per lettable unit.  We will not be charging you for the Climate Change Levey or the Renewable Energy charge.


As you can see there is a considerable discrepancy between what the authority is being charged and what is being recovered.  Unfortunately we can no longer continue to recharge at the current rate and must align it with the true cost.


In light of the above, future invoices will be recharged at the actual rate that Cornwall Council is invoiced plus the apportioned standing charge. 


In regard to the November to April invoice which we will issue imminently we will re-charge on the basis of a reduced/favourable rate of £0.184345 per unit rather than the actual rate of £0.26271 per unit plus the standing charge."

Hope someone can help? 


  • superbigal
    superbigal Posts: 601 Forumite
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    I do not see it as back dating the increase as they have not actually invoiced you for the period yet.
    In effect however you dress it up you are expecting an invoice of some sort for a period in arrears.
    Looks like a good deal to be honest.
    If prices go down you would expect them to charge lower at the next invoice point.

  • tightauldgit
    tightauldgit Posts: 2,628 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Really depends on what your lease agreement says with respect to charging for utilities. 
  • Annisele
    Annisele Posts: 4,827 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Depending on what your lease says, it's possible they could backdate for six years (eg if your lease said you were always supposed to pay these charges but your landlord just neglected to bill you). If the unit rate they're talking about is per kWh, you've got a fantastic deal - domestically I pay 33.98p per unit, with a 43.65p standing charge.
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