Unusual gas bills following meter replacement

Shoxt3r
Shoxt3r Posts: 169
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Hi there,

We had problems with our gas meter not working from September to December last year. Octopus booked in the replacement for 18th December and all went well, but during the period we weren't charged for our gas usage due to not being able to submit a reading. They advised us prior to the gas meter replacement that our bills would be rectified following the replacement.

It has come to light that the gas was not charged for within our most recent bill. I therefore questioned this with their Customer Services team, after which we received a bill for £173.16 for the use of 2626 kWh at 6.59p/kWh, plus a Standing Charge of 26.16p/day for 78 days, totalling £20.41. In total the bill for gas alone therefore came to £220.21. All of this was charged from the credit rather than taken as a Direct Debit.

On the 1st October it states there was an "estimated reading" of 6134.7, with a further reading being taken on 18th December as a "Data Collector reading" of 6373.0 (consumption 238.3 Units).

From the same period in 2022/2023 we had bills including standing charge of £41.22, £68.81 and £100.46, so totalling £210.49 for 163 units. The total kWh during this period was 1,783.

When I disputed this with Octopus, stating that the bill seemed excessively high when compared to a similar period in 2022/2023, and the "Data Collector" term within the bill, they said:

The bill you received for gas is based on an estimate reading as we were missing actual readings. The "Data Collector" meter reading figure is an estimation provided by a third party who calculates official estimates for all properties in the country. This estimate is based on historical meter readings from your meter and should be fairly accurate.

The part which concerns me is the "fairly accurate". Is there any further information I should request or does this seem about right for our bills during this time? Just to note that we have a 2-bedroom property with a gas boiler and hob but only boost our heating for 2 hours per day on average. If any other details would be helpful to calculate the above please let me know.

Many thanks!

Comments

  • Netexporter
    Netexporter Posts: 1,033
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    Unless you usage has changed markedly, for some reason, then the estimates are generally pretty accurate, as they take weather conditions into account, as well as historic usage.
  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,541
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    My Oct - Dec 23 use was 14% higher than Oct - Dec 22.  Oct & Nov 22 were particularly mild.
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Posts: 2,755
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    molerat said:
    My Oct - Dec 23 use was 14% higher than Oct - Dec 22.  Oct & Nov 22 were particularly mild.
    To add to this our energy use was also circa 10% higher in the Sept-Dec 23 compared to Sept-Dec 22
    "I can lead you to the money saving well but cannot make you drink from it"

    As mum always said "don't respond to imbeciles just ignore them" wise words mum 
  • wild666
    wild666 Posts: 2,100
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    If I have my heating on I use about 33 to 34 kWh for 7 hours usage, I don't have the heating on every day. Are they using the reading as the heating has being on every day for a set period like 07:00 to 11:00 and 17:00 to 22:00 and the thermostat and flow temperatures at 18 degrees and 60 degrees? The lower the thermostat temperature and the flow temperature the less kWh you will use. 
    Someone please tell me what money is
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 115,647
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    When I disputed this with Octopus, stating that the bill seemed excessively high when compared to a similar period in 2022/2023, 
    Why would you be comparing use against 22/23 season?   2022/23 was much milder than average.  Whereas 23/24 has been colder.



    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,632
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    The "data collector" is the same organisation that @Gerry1 likes to call "the mysterious third party". They're an independent organisation that validates meter readings.
    They're the best third-party estimate you're likely to get for gas consumption during the period that your meter wasn't recording.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • Mobtr
    Mobtr Posts: 609
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    Have you actually taken any meter readings from the meter yourself? 
  • Shoxt3r
    Shoxt3r Posts: 169
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    Thanks all! I guess we'll just put it down to a colder period compared to 2022/2023 and an increase in usage that we weren't aware of due to the meter being out of action. We've just not been aware of us using that much energy while the meter has been out of action. Is it worth pursuing for more information such as a daily rate or would this have just been taken as an average across the period?

    I've been pushing Octopus for us to get an energy monitor but I haven't heard anything back yet - they simply asked for a measurement between the meters but didn't explain why.

    Mobtr said:
    Have you actually taken any meter readings from the meter yourself? 
    Yes up until the previous smart meter stopping working we were submitting readings every month. Since the new smart meter has been installed we've submitted a reading. Unfortunately the screen was blank on the previous one so the last record I have is from mid-September.dunstonh said:
    When I disputed this with Octopus, stating that the bill seemed excessively high when compared to a similar period in 2022/2023, 
    Why would you be comparing use against 22/23 season?   2022/23 was much milder than average.  Whereas 23/24 has been colder.



    This is the only information we have to hand - I'm not sure what else we would be able to compare it against. I did wonder if others on here would be able to share their average usage or whether our "data collector" averages would tally up. Appreciate it's a long shot though and we'll just have to chalk it up to "one of those things".wild666 said:
    If I have my heating on I use about 33 to 34 kWh for 7 hours usage, I don't have the heating on every day. Are they using the reading as the heating has being on every day for a set period like 07:00 to 11:00 and 17:00 to 22:00 and the thermostat and flow temperatures at 18 degrees and 60 degrees? The lower the thermostat temperature and the flow temperature the less kWh you will use. 
    That's what I'm unsure of but I don't know how to really go about questioning their readings as I don't have any evidence to the contrary. We only have the heating on demand via the boost facility when we need it (as I say, maybe 1-2 hours per day). One thing I neglected to detail in my original post is that we have the hot water on a timer - 2 hours from 6am-8am then 2 hours from 5pm-7pm each day.
  • Shoxt3r
    Shoxt3r Posts: 169
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    I've gone back to Octopus to ask for a more detailed breakdown of the usage but they say they're unable to provide this. I don't think there's any more that I can do in that case and I'll just have to accept that there was potentially an increase usage during that period that I cannot account for due to a lack of evidence (i.e. essentially, no meter during October to December means I have to take their word on usage).

    If anyone has any more thoughts though please let me know!
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Posts: 2,755
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    Shoxt3r said:
    I've gone back to Octopus to ask for a more detailed breakdown of the usage but they say they're unable to provide this. I don't think there's any more that I can do in that case and I'll just have to accept that there was potentially an increase usage during that period that I cannot account for due to a lack of evidence (i.e. essentially, no meter during October to December means I have to take their word on usage).

    If anyone has any more thoughts though please let me know!
    The only thing you could say is that during that period you were intending to cut down on usage for budgeting reasons so the estimates provided to you appear to be on the high side. I suspect there is some bartering to be done here if you want to.
    "I can lead you to the money saving well but cannot make you drink from it"

    As mum always said "don't respond to imbeciles just ignore them" wise words mum 
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