Seeking Advice Please re not paid for Electricity for 5 years!

Hello! I could really do with some advice as circumstances have recently changed and I'd like to see what others think about my situation.
I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

I moved into a property (privately rented) in July 2018. Both Gas & Electric are with EDF. We have prepaid metres with the top up keys.
After 2 months of living here the Electric metre stopped working, the display went blank and would no longer do anything when key was inserted.
Straight away I called EDF.
Phone call went something like..
Do you still have working Electricity in the house? .. yes everything was still on/working. 
Ok, I'll pop your name on a list but since you are not an emergency without power it may be a little while.
Fast forward probably 2 weeks. 
I called again and got told the same thing. I'm on a list and an engineer or something will be out whenever. 
Ok no problem.
2 weeks later I gave birth and completely forgot about the metre.
I was a new mum and it was genuinely something I put to the back of my mind as I got on with my life. 
It came up in conversation now and again to the likes of my partner and family. They would all say the same thing. You have done your job and told them! Enjoy it while you can 🤷🏼‍♀️

We continued to top up out gas once a month and I would continue to receive yearly statements. I'll be honest I could never understand the statements but it just looked like the Gas one. 

About 2 years ago we had someone come out to read the metres. Thought it was finally going to get sorted. He came into the house and I shown him the metre, told him I contacted EDF on 2 occasions and nobody ever came to fix it. He said 'I won't spoil a good thing then' he winked and left my house. 
Since then I've had another child and got on with my life. 
We always said if they come after us claiming the money we will just pay and be thankful for what we got. 
I seen Martin Lewis say they can only get 12 months worth so we made sure to put some money aside. 

Now last week I received an email saying 'sorry to see you leaving us'
From EDF. Stating another energy company has contacted them to say we have moved to them.. I have not signed up or registered with any other company so I am left very confused. I logged into my EDF and its showing my Gas still active but Not the electric. 

So that's where I'm up to. 5 years free Electric and confused at now where its coming from as EDF believe I'm no longer with them for the Electric. 

Any and all advice on this would be appreciated. 

Anxious mum 


  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,256
    Photogenic First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    I'd ring them (again!) and say you aren't switching so where did that get that idea from.  Remind them that your meter isn't working and hasn't for some time - something that was known to the person that came out to read them.  

    And see how it goes....obviously if they do nothing and you continue to have electricity from an unknown source I'm not sure what you can be expected to do.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”

  • I seen Martin Lewis say they can only get 12 months worth so we made sure to put some money aside. 

    This isn't guaranteed in every case.  You need to have made reasonable efforts to pay your bill but you told EDF more than once and were told that the problem would be dealt with so hopefully it will apply in your case when your electricity provider eventually realises that there is a problem.  
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 9,784
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Haven't EDF just changed their billing system? Could it be a 'computer says no' issue which has spat out this letter, as it's not seeing any readings?
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  • **Update**

    So for the past weeks I've just got on with it and ignored the email. 
    Today I got a letter from British gas.. well not me Some ones else's name on the letter, from British gas with a new electric key for a metre. 
    So some random man has registered with British gas with our address? 
    I've never been so confused before in all my life! How do engery companies mess up like this? Or does the blame fall with Mr Alan. (Name on letter) 
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,645
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Did you do as Brie suggested and ring EDF to say you were not switching? 

    Something odd is going on but burying your head in the sand is not a good plan for the long run. 

    Have you spoken to your landlord/letting agent about the supply. If you come to leave the property you could find yourself with a massive bill, you are using the energy so it needs to be paid for. Sitting back and saying 'I dont know who is giving me free electric' is not going to be a defence.
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,674
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 28 November 2023 at 8:21PM
    Whilst EDF havent exactly covered themselves in glory.

    Neither have you - I mean five years - really ?

    And I warn you now - this may all sound harsh - but these things can end up being taken to extremes by some suppliers.

    And I can tell from your tone even you realise that you haven't exactly been proactive in resolving this issues.

    With young children they couldn't cut you off anyway - but your possibly not yet even registered for that protection (priority service normally allows listing whilst pregnant, or iirc child under 5) 

    (I know someone at another suplier on standard credit terms - who was issued a debt recovery letter - 2 weeks after payment due on bill sent whilst in hospital for month plus.  Edit - And my own mum in her 70s was threaatened with debt agents when SP failed to reinstate her DD - despite sending a letter saying they had.)

    Parenthood may well have bought you a few weeks or months of leeway, but certainly not I suspect 5 years.

    And I am sorry to say it - but I stronly suspect a couple of verbal attempts 5 years ago to rectify the problem is not - a legally defensible "reasonable attempt" on your part to rectify.

    Every time you topped up the gas you knew you weren't topping up and paying for electric.
    Every time it popped up in conversation over last 5 years you knew you weren't paying for your electric.
    Every occassion should have been a reminder to chase up the issue.

    Mr Alan letter from BG.

    As to the Mr Alan takeover- you need to contact EDF and possibly BG if not registered with EDF to stop the move.
    Something that will in all likelihood - as your not perhaps an active customer - now prove far more difficult.

    He may in fact may be the last known customer prior to you at that address with old supplier if EDF dropped you for non payment so quickly.

    Did you return letters / keys to sender as a not known ?

    Have you even checked the dno on their databases to see who is currently the electric supplier for your property ?

    Other sites to search may be available.

    Landlord / Tennancy

    And as well as your contract with EDF or supplier  - you are almost certainly at real risk of being in violation of your rental / tennancy agreement re your responsibility for bills. Worst case your landlord will be held liable for any outstanding bills.  And that really will not go down well.

    It is not the agents or landlords job to resolve this - and they may take a very dim view of situation after letting it run for so long.


    You really need to urgently talk to someone like Citizens advice re your situation.  

    As well as dealing with suppliers.

    Rather than relying on "partner", "family" or any other random "Joe" down the pub.  

    If the contract is in your name - you are the responsible adult for making sure it operates as intended.

    And that means in this case ensuring you are paying for what you use.

    Not even sure back billing will apply given your inactions for most of five years.

    Certainly with other - credit -  faulty meters - estimated billing is permissible.

    Letting this roll on a mistake that could cost you - and remember ONLY YOU - not them - severely if in fact blows up.

    Financially (have you been putting by your say £20pw at current rates - or pro rata over last 5 years  - ever since meter failed for when cash demanded).

    Or on credit records if end up pursued for any or even partial debt.

    Do you have any non verbal proof or actual or approximate dates to give Ombudsman if necessary to challange any billing - to prove you  reported fault

    Are you willing to pursue EDF for a public records disclosure to prove you did  (cost ?) 

    Should this matter end up in court - from supplier or landlord  - it will go on your record - your public records - not any of the friends and family etc  - and stay for years to come.

    You clearly appear to perhaps have fallen down a crack in the system. 

    But I can see your lack of continued action to resolve as now being a potential major issue for those owed money.

    You may be lucky and its simply all written off.

    Hopefully EDF will acknowledge their part in this - and they or whoever should have been getting meter credit -  will not come after you with guns blazing for the full five years.

    But it can and does happen that customers are pursued and end up in debt proceedings.
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