Ofgem backbilling rules question

blackbaccararose Forumite Posts: 6
First Post
Hi there,

With apologies for a bit of a saga, but essentially my question is about backbilling. I did ring Citizens Advice but they were very vague about how backbilling rules "might" be applied by the company so wondered if anyone here might have experience / thoughts:

1. I moved into a new rental flat at the end of May 2019. Landlord's managing agent confirmed they would contact utility provides to update of new residents. We then received initial contact from (and set up accounts with) all utility providers apart from electricity. Looked it up online, our supplier was apparently Together Energy, called them and asked for an account to be set up, provided move-in meter readings and asked for a bill to be sent out.

2. Then nothing (!) until June 2021, when a bill arrived for £1.427.97 total - the letter was undated but arrived at our address on 18th June 2021. It was unclear what duration the bill covered as it had no dates at all, including no dates to indicate the period covered. At this point I emailed TE stating all of this, giving them our move-in date and meter reading again, as well as a meter reading from the date I was emailing. I requested that an accurate bill be issued which included meter readings and dates, covering the period 18th June 2020 - 18th June 2021 under backbilling rules.

3. A couple of days later, I received an email response and apology as follows: "Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of communication and that you have not been provided with access to your statements. All statements since the move-in date have based off estimate readings. 

I have looked into your account and can see that the customer move-in process has not been completed fully. This is the reason for the lack of communication, and no access to the customer portal. 

I have passed this information to our home moves team in order to complete the customer move-in fully and update the account accordingly. 

We will be back in touch with an update shortly, please don't hesitate to get back in contact with us regarding any other queries."

4. There was no further contact until an updated bill arrived in September 2021. I emailed them to dispute this as follows:

"Thank you for this - please is it possible to have an update? I have been trying to call for the past couple of weeks but haven't been able to get through on the phone lines.

I've received a bill through the post in September after waiting since July, but this hasn't used the meter readings that I provided below (either as "previous" readings or "present reading") and the numbers on both are substantially higher than the ones I provided, so I don't think these have been taken into account. For example, the Normal reading I provided below on 13th July was 618712 - the "previous" reading listed on the new bill is 62054.

The bill also doesn't say what period the total amount covers - as below, this should only be covering from June 2020 onwards.

Please could someone urgently take a look at this? I am very keen to pay my first energy bill and then to arrange for regular bill payments going forward, but need this to be an accurate bill. I am happy to provide an updated and accurate meter reading for an initial bill covering 18th June 2020 - today under backbilling regulations."

I chased this email again in November 2021.

5. No further contact from TE (including no final bill from them when they went bust in February 2022 - it was a relief when British Gas took over our contract at this point and started issuing new, accurate bills based on our meter readings, which we happily paid!) UNTIL a text (??) stating that I owed a balance of £1,996.53 arrived in October 2022. I emailed the "support" email provided which was apparently still wrapping up customer issues, disputing the amount:

"This is the first I have heard of an updated balance, and still doesn't include any actual breakdown of the rates, meter readings or dates that I am being billed for.

I am disputing this bill as Together Energy have provided no evidence of the dates billed for (which should only be a year backdated as per Ofgem rules) or that any of my provided meter readings were ever taken into account. I am very happy to pay an accurate and correctly backdated bill but am yet to receive this.

Please can someone contact me urgently about this as I would like to resolve the matter once and for all?"

Someone replied fairly swiftly stating that payments needed to be mapped and that they would rebill me. I responded stating that I needed any final bill to include the dates of the period billed for and evidence that my provided meter readings had been used.

6. No further contact via email, and updated no bill or breakdown was provided via email or post but in November 2022 I received a "Letter of intent" in the post for the £1,996.53. I emailed the "support" address as follows:

"I have just received a "Notice of Intent" from Together Energy, despite receiving no response to my email below and no paper copy of a bill for such an amount (and as such, no breakdown of this cost). I have been trying to request an accurate bill since July 2021 when I provided full meter readings, but have never received a bill with any indication of dates covered, or of meter readings used. As previously, I am very happy to pay an accurate bill and need to resolve this before I move out of the property but it does need to be accurate."

7. No response received to the above, then yesterday I received a text from a debt collection company claiming for the £1,996.53. Having spoken to Citizens Advice Bureau, I sent them a "prove it" email. They've come back with a series of bills (which I never received), the first of which is "up to 10 Apr 2021" and includes a standing charge for 407 days and an inaccurate start of contract date of April 2019. There are 8 monthly bills after this, including a "final" bill. I need to check if any of these actually use any of the multiple meter readings I tried to give to TE.


My question is: I'm happy to pay anything I actually DO owe, but given that I asked *many* times for an accurate bill that used my readings, how far back can they actually backbill me for? Does an "estimated" initial bill still count as them "accurately" billing me, even if said estimated bill contained no dates for the period covered?

Am I right in thinking it would be fair for them to bill for 18th June 2020 onwards (i.e. a year before they made first contact with their random bill with no dates, which I immediately queried)? Or could I argue to the debt collection company that TE never engaged properly with my requests for an accurate bill?


  • Brie
    Brie Forumite Posts: 7,448
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    I would have thought that as they shouldn't bill back more than 12 months which they never have done accurately then it might be that you only owe for the 12 months to when they went bust.  But others may disagree.

    Re the bills you have now received - do they have your correct address on them?  That would be the obvious major fail in them getting to you.  presumably they are correct in other ways?  Showing the correct tariff, etc?

    You could do a subject access request stating that you want ALL the information they hold which should include transcripts of phone calls, any emails sent or received and check that record tallies with yours.  

    Should they persist in stating you owe close to £2k I would be tempted to go back with an offer to pay an amount for the final 12 months.  So if it's close to 3 years worth I might suggest at most 1/3 of the £2k.  Or round it down to take into account the amount of time you have spent trying to do the right thing.  So maybe £500 max?  Again others may disagree.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”

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  • Mobtr
    Mobtr Forumite Posts: 539
    500 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I’m not sure back billing would apply if they went out of business in Feb 22. They no longer hold a licence so not sure they can be held accountable. I could be wrong though & I'm sure people with more knowledge will correct me if I’m wrong 
  • QrizB
    QrizB Forumite Posts: 11,475
    10,000 Posts Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Mobtr said:
    I’m not sure back billing would apply if they went out of business in Feb 22. They no longer hold a licence so not sure they can be held accountable. I could be wrong though & I'm sure people with more knowledge will correct me if I’m wrong 
    You are correct.
    The back billing limits are a condition of holding an Ofgem supply licence. Suppliers who breach them can be sanctioned by Ofgem.
    Together Energy no longer hold a supply licence, so Ofgem has no sway and they are not bound by the back billing limits.

    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
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  • Dolor
    Dolor Forumite Posts: 7,657
    1,000 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    Just to add that under English Law claims for debt are only Statute barred after 6 years. Yes, the Administrators have been slow but that might be down to the failed company’s billing system.
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