Octopus cannot solve my billing. Can I complain and get them to write it off?

I live in a very old house and moved to octopus energy around two years ago. With that move they initiated a smart meter installation.

The smart meter was seemingly working fine so I never queried the bills. Back in June something caught my eye that the bill was not correct so I called them.  They said that the Smart meter had not been working for over a year and that they would get it sending information again.

I waited until September so that we could have three months of information to see how this was working. In September I was told that they were amending my bill. The next week it produced a £5000 credit and I was about to request this book then they created a new bill which was £9000 for six months of utilities. My normal spend is around £300-£350 per month so I knew this was incorrect.

At this time I had a physical me to read by somebody and I discussed the above with him. He said to complain to Ofgen and octopus would have to write off the debt. I spoke to up to person they said that this is a very complicated issue and they would resolve it by the start of November. Here we are near to Christmas and they have not solved this. I am paying £330 per month on direct debit which is about right from my energy use. I am in no rush to get Octopus to solve this as the longer it takes the worse they look.

My question is. Is there any kind of statute of limitation is for them to solve this.  If they cannot solve this can I simply make the regulator force them to write off this billing period because they do not have a clue how much I have consumed and how much to charge me?
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  • MWT
    MWT Posts: 9,139
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    edited 20 December 2023 at 10:02AM
    Are you able to read the meter yourself, and if so have you provided that reading to Octopus?
    Just as a first step, trying to see if the meter is completely dead, or just not sending readings...
    Similarly when the meter reader attended were they able to get a reading?
  • MWT said:
    Are you able to read the meter yourself, and if so have you provided that reading to Octopus?
    Just as a first step, trying to see if the meter is completely dead, or just not sending readings...
    Similarly when the meter reader attended were they able to get a reading?
    The meter reader gained a reading and it appears to be reading ok now.  What seems to be the issue is that it wasn't reading for 9-12 months and Octopus simply cannot work out an exact figure for that period.

    I was wondering if the longer it carries on if there is a chance they have to write it off 
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,171
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    It sounds like the meter is recording your usage correctly but Octopus aren't able to access the readings remotely. Basically, it works like an old dumb meter and unless you do regular monthly meter readings and give them to Octopus, they will have to estimate your use.

    You say you have been paying £330 monthly by direct debit, I'm assuming this is since you had the meter fitted 2 years ago? That's £7920. Give Octopus a manual reading and they will issue a bill for the correct amount of energy you have used. What you have paid already might cover it, or you might owe them more. You can't know how much you should use, you are only guessing, as you have never had correct regular bills for this property.

    There is no "write off", you have used the electricity and need to pay for it. 
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
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  • MWT said:
    Are you able to read the meter yourself, and if so have you provided that reading to Octopus?
    Just as a first step, trying to see if the meter is completely dead, or just not sending readings...
    Similarly when the meter reader attended were they able to get a reading?
    The meter reader gained a reading and it appears to be reading ok now.  What seems to be the issue is that it wasn't reading for 9-12 months and Octopus simply cannot work out an exact figure for that period.
    It should be fairly simple, new meter starts at zero, now it is at another figure, the difference is how much you have used.
    I was wondering if the longer it carries on if there is a chance they have to write it off 
    Back billing does not work like that, if you had used more energy than you had already made payment for and it was over twelve months old then they cannot ask for more for that period, but they do not write off the whole bill and you gt to keep your credit, neither would it apply to any usage from the last twelve months.
  • I am in no rush to get Octopus to solve this as the longer it takes the worse they look.

    My question is. Is there any kind of statute of limitation is for them to solve this.  If they cannot solve this can I simply make the regulator force them to write off this billing period because they do not have a clue how much I have consumed and how much to charge me?
    It may be in your interests to get a resolution sooner rather than later. Chances of a complete write off are practically none, and if the actual energy use cannot be determined the most likely outcome is that you’ll be held liable to pay based an estimation of use for the period. The longer the issue goes on the bigger this period of estimation will be, which potentially could  make it an even less accurate representation of your actual energy use.

    You may be able to get a small compensation payment for the shortfall in service you have received, but you most likely will be expected to pay for the energy used.

    Do you/Octopus now have an accurate and up to date meter reading? If so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a good idea of whether Octopus’ new bill is reasonably accurate by looking at your billed vs actual usage (and any payments made) since the meter was last sending readings.
    Moo…
  • MWT
    MWT Posts: 9,139
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    edited 20 December 2023 at 10:44AM
    MWT said:
    Are you able to read the meter yourself, and if so have you provided that reading to Octopus?
    Just as a first step, trying to see if the meter is completely dead, or just not sending readings...
    Similarly when the meter reader attended were they able to get a reading?
    The meter reader gained a reading and it appears to be reading ok now.  What seems to be the issue is that it wasn't reading for 9-12 months and Octopus simply cannot work out an exact figure for that period.

    I was wondering if the longer it carries on if there is a chance they have to write it off 
    No chance of a full write-off.
    Does your current meter reading make sense given it started at zero when the meter was installed?
    Highly unlikely that it 'wasn't reading for 9-12 months' just that it wasn't responding to data requests.
    Which tariff are you on with Octopus, and is it single-rate or do you have E7 or similar?

    The next week it produced a £5000 credit and I was about to request this book then they created a new bill which was £9000 for six months of utilities. My normal spend is around £300-£350 per month so I knew this was incorrect.
    This sounds like they were re-billing based on the updated meter reading, so the first thing they do is reverse the original estimated readings and then replace it with a bill based on the current reading. You should be able to see this on the bill as it will show the meter readings used.
    The £9,000 is probably not for 6 months, but for the period from when the meter was installed.
    What are you basing your 'normal spend' on? Tariff rates have changed a lot in the last 2 years so you can't look back and assume your current bills will be the same...
    Odds are you will be due a partial credit for any under-payment over 12 months before the first accurate bill, but that is all.
    As mentioned above, they do get to keep the DD payments you have made and use those to cover the use that is over 12 months before the accurate bill, so your credit would only be for the difference over those DD payments.
    Similarly, anything you have used in the last 12 months will have to be paid for, so even if there was any unused DD payments from the earlier period it is unlikely there be anything left over...
    This is not simple as the CS agent said, but it is something they can do using industry standard profiles to split the metered use to determine how much of it was older than 12 months...


  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,773
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    edited 20 December 2023 at 10:48AM
    Have you complied with Section 15.3 of the Ts & Cs?
    15.3 Unless your meter is a Traditional Prepayment Meter or a Smart Meter which we are able to communicate with remotely, you are required to provide us with a meter reading each month at a specified time.
  • I had this situation when SSE fitted a smart meter here.  I'm in the habit of taking very frequent meter readings (having been caught out with a meter registration error many years ago) so I just submitted those as the smart meter couldn't get a signal.  Just as well I did as when they eventually swapped the non-communicating smart meter out for a new dumb meter somehow they forgot to take the readings!  They tried to get me to accept their estimate, but when I said I had lots of readings taken manually going back months they gladly accepted those instead.
    As above, there's no write off if the meter is recording properly.  You will be billed for actual recorded usage from the meter registers.  If that's more than you've paid by DD then you'll get a bill for the difference that has to be paid one way or another, if less then you will get a credit.
  • Gerry1 said:
    Have you complied with Section 15.3 of the Ts & Cs?
    15.3 Unless your meter is a Traditional Prepayment Meter or a Smart Meter which we are able to communicate with remotely, you are required to provide us with a meter reading each month at a specified time.
    Nobody (myself or Octopus) were aware this was not working correctly so no firm meter reads were taken as assumed it was doing its job
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,681
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    Yes, Octopus can solve your billing. It's one of the simpler cases.
    Yes, you can complain and you might receive a token credit for poor service.
    No, they won't write it off.
    They can pursue you for six years.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
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