Together Energy bill received 3 years after house sold

Milfordnige Posts: 1 Newbie
edited 6 November 2023 at 11:43AM in Energy
I have just received a bill from Together Energy (TE)  (October 2023) of approximately  £1,000 for alleged unpaid energy used at my mum's property up to September 2020 when her house was sold under probate. My mum sadly passed away in June 2019. I was appointed executor.

I notified all the relevant service providers within a month or so of her passing and settled any outstanding balances except for gas and electricity supplied by TE as I wanted to ensure the house was cared for and in good condition until it could be sold.

Direct debits continued to flow from my mum's account until late 2019. I requested payment balances from TE but never heard anything back from them. My mum had been ill for many years, and paid a high direct debit for gas as her illness made her feel cold. I held all paperwork until earlier this year but as 3 years had passed since the final probate distribution was made I shredded all information relation to her accounts and the house.

The alleged final bill from TE does not provide any account payments or balances, simply readings and dates. I agree the reading for the date my mum's house completed - these tally with the readings I provided which I have on the email I sent TE at the time.I have no way of checking the payments taken by TE as my mum's bank account was closed and her statements were part of the documentation that I since shredded. I wondered if anyone else has experienced this situation and has any advice and particularly whether Is there a legal validity to bill for energy 3 years after a final reading was provided as it's unreasonable to expect records to have been kept after all this time.


  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,208
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    Isn't there something about no back billing further than 12 months?  So even if mom hadn't paid for all the energy she'd used I don't think they are able to claim anything at this point.  I'd be tempted to simply send something back to them saying "deceased and estate settled in 2020."  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Newcad
    Newcad Posts: 782
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    edited 3 November 2023 at 6:22PM
    The 12 month back billing principle is pretty complicated, in particular in this case the fact that direct debits were being paid will probably (I think almost certainly) mean that it does not apply.
    The fact that this is a matter being dealt with as an executor of an estate may also throw in further complications.
    I would suggest that to start with a complaint should be made to the supplier regarding the late billing, if no resoultion can be arrived at there then escalate to the Ombudsman Energy.

    Unfortunately this kind of situation can/does take a long time to resolve.
    (I have one going on for over 2 years now, the Ombudsman Energy has decided in my favour, but it is still not fully resolved).
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  • Olinda99
    Olinda99 Posts: 1,154
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    edited 3 November 2023 at 9:23PM
    you should be able to receive copies of your mum's historic bills showing the amount of energy used and the payments in by direct debit

    this should provide an audit trail to your final bill of over a thousand pounds particularly as you do have final meter readings

    note that the claim by TE is not against you personally but against your mum's estate. yes they can come after you as executor but only if you have been negligent. if there is no money left in the estate to pay the bill then simply tell them that.

    *** since I'm not an expert I would recommend you post on the deaths forum and try and get and accurate insight into how much you personally are liable compared with the estate being liable
  • SiliconChip
    SiliconChip Posts: 1,255
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    Has your mum's estate been settled and distributed to the beneficiaries? If it has then there are no longer any funds in the estate to pay a bill, so as executor it's likely that you do have some responsibility for it, but as suggested it would be worth posting on the Deaths board to get confirmation of how that works. Were you one of/the major/the only beneficiary?
    You might also want to ask your mum's bank for copies of the historic statements covering the period of the bill, they should still be available but you may have to pay to get them.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,568
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    AFAIK being an executor means that you are still liable for any debts even after the estate has been wound up and the money dispersed.

    Most banks will keep info for six years so you should be able to get banking info going back that far (although it may cost you), likewise the energy co should also be able to furnish records so get them to prove the debt.

    You should never shred any financial documentation for at least six years as that is the period that HMRC can still chase you and the period that debts can still be recovered. 

    TBH I'm pretty paranoid and save all my bills and bank statements going back for at least seven years. I had a dispute with HMRC a few years back and having ten years worth of P.60's helped resolve it in my favour.
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  • RumRat
    RumRat Posts: 4,756
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    Debts that are in the deceased’s name only can be paid out of the value of the estate. If they don’t have enough assets to pay off the debt, the debts will be written off. Individual debts can be secured or unsecured.

    Any surviving spouse, civil partner or relative can't be required to pay off individual debts out of their own pocket, unless they’ve provided a personal guarantee.

    A personal credit card with an outstanding unpaid balance is an example of individual debt.

    The debts are paid in a specific order:

    1. Secured debts, such as mortgage repayments
    2. Priority debts, such as Income Tax and Council Tax
    3. Unsecured debts, including utility bills and credit cards.

    If there isn't enough money in the estate to pay off all the debts, the most important are paid off first.

    If there are assets, such as a car or house which could go towards paying off the debts if sold, it’s an option worth considering.

    If there are more debts than the estate can pay back, this is called an ‘insolvent estate’.

    If all is done correctly and in the correct order (especially checking with HMRC before all else) and making sure there are no unknown creditors by advertising, the executor is not personally liable for any debts AFAIK.

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  • As executer do a formal subject access request.  This will give you absolutely everything they hold relating to your mum, including things she may not even have seen.  At least then you will know what position her account was in and the payments she had made over the years with them
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