BG and Octopus not able to send me a gas bill - anyone out there who might be able to explain why??

itm2
itm2 Posts: 1,303
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For the last year I have been having a running battle with my energy provider(s) to get regular gas bills based on (smart) meter readings, rather than estimates. The problem started in the summer of 2022, when my gas & electricity account was transferred to British Gas following the collapse of my previous supplier. British Gas were never able to provide regular gas bills (although electricity bills were fine, albeit infrequent). They kept telling me that my account had been migrated to their new system, and that they were having problems migrating my gas account. After several months of phone calls and messages, I gave up with them and raised a complaint with the regulator. I got an apology from BG, and some cash as a goodwill gesture, but still no gas bill (even though they had sent me a "Final Statement" in June this year - it contained only the standing charge for gas, no usage charges). This is despite the fact that I gave them a manual gas meter reading over the phone to help them to calculate my bill. They have since told me that they are still planning to bill me for my gas usage between December 2022 and the end of my contract in June this year, although when they plan to bill me for this is anyone's guess. Is it really allowable that they can send me a bill for gas usage more than 6 months after the termination of my contract with them?

So I moved to Octopus in June, and they seem to be having similar problems. I got one accurate gas bill from them, in July, based on a manual meter reading which I supplied. I then had two subsequent bills, for electricity only (no gas). So I chased them up for a gas bill and they have just sent me a bill based on an estimated gas meter reading. In email dialogue with them, they told me that they were not getting regular readings from my gas meter.

Last year I signed up to an online service (maybe Glowmrkt?), which provides analysis of your energy usage using smart meter readings. They told me that they were only able to access my electricity data, and that I needed to get the Gas Proxy Firmware on my Communication Hub updated to version 220A0000 in order to use their service for gas usage. I passed this information on to Octopus (and indeed to British Gas before them), but neither company were able to get this done for me. I have no idea whether or not this explains the issue with my gas billing, but it seems that neither Octopus nor BG are able to do anything about it anyway.

My smart meters are first-generation - installed in 2012 IIRC.

Is there anyone out there with knowledge of our wonderful and diverse domestic energy industry, who can hazard a guess at why nobody seems to be able to bill me for my gas usage, and whether there is anything that I can do about it?

Comments

  • itm2 said:
    They have since told me that they are still planning to bill me for my gas usage between December 2022 and the end of my contract in June this year, although when they plan to bill me for this is anyone's guess. Is it really allowable that they can send me a bill for gas usage more than 6 months after the termination of my contract with them?
    I'll leave the rest to someone more familiar with the processes of moving accounts, but depending on WHY they have been unable to issue a bill, they have either 6 years (if you have some responsibility for the problem) or 12 months from when the energy was used to charge you for it. 

    So they (or Octopus, but not both for the same period) can charge you today any use between 3 December 2022 and 4 December 2023. If you have been taking and giving readings then it should be fairly easy to check it's right, but if it's based on estimates then you need to check you're happy with the number and how it's been calculated. 

    Also worth saying that if you have been making payments towards what you think the gas bill should have been, then these can be kept by your supplier for the gas you used even if they didn't bill for it... I've read that a couple of times and I've explained it badly, but basically 

    If you used £20 of energy every month for 2 years, but paid estimated bills at £10 a month, then you paid £240 and 'owe' £240. If back billing applies then 12 months of the debt can't be enforced. 

    ...but that would only reduce the debt to £120 (as the debt cancelled is the difference between what you paid and what you should have paid). 


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  • itm2
    itm2 Posts: 1,303
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    Many thanks for that explanation - that's very useful. According to my records, I was not billed for any gas usage by BG between 14/12/22 and the contract end date of 13//6/23 (although I have been billed for the standing charge for the full period). I was paying a monthly D/D for the entire period, based on an estimate of my expected usage. 
    So it seems that BG have another 10 days to start billing me for my gas usage from 14/12/22 before they start having to write off the associated charges. And if they don't manage it before 13/6/24 then they will have gifted me 6 months worth of free gas. I guess I should stop chasing them😂

    In the meantime I really need to find out how I can fix the problem with my gas meter readings not being accessible to my supplier. I've been submitting regular monthly meter readings on the Octopus website but, as with BT, they are being ignored by their billing system.
    ????
  • itm2
    itm2 Posts: 1,303
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    So British Gas issued me with another "Final Statement" today - nearly 7 months after the end of my contract with them. Believe it or not, it was once again based on an estimated reading for my gas meter. Even worse, their estimate (for the contract end date of 15/6/23) was 120 units higher than my current meter reading!
    I have responded to reject the final statement, on the grounds that:
    (a) It's based on an estimated reading; I provided a reading to them over the phone at the start of June last year, and also to my new provider at the start of my new contract on June 15th
    (b) some of the period being billed is more than 12 months ago (I was last billed for gas by BG on December 15th 2022).
    It's also my understanding that energy companies must provide a final statement within 6 weeks of the end of the contract. While I did receive a "final" statement a few weeks after the end of the contract, it did not contain any provision for my gas usage. So are they really allowed issue another "final statement" more than 6 months after the end of my contract?
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