First Utility - Incorrect Bills for 25 months!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
8 replies 1.9K views
CaptainkingsmillCaptainkingsmill Forumite
3 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
Evening guys.

So this is a long and complicated problem which I have been dealing for myself for over 2 years and it doesn't look like it is going to be resolved any time soon so it's time for some advice.

I purchased my home in oct 2014, advised FU of our meter readings as soon as we could.
we never received a bill from them so in approx Feb 2015 we made contact with them.
They advised that there had been a problem with the account.
since then there has been problem after problem,
Bills being sent that don't make any sense
Bills being sent will bills that predate us owning the property!
Problems with their meter readings.
Problems to do with the previous owners.
You name it.

luckily my account has been on hold and no collections have been attempted (except for one occasion where a customer service rep that had no knowledge of the account decided to mess around and try to fix the problems and only made it worse) as they attempt to fix the problems, which at there own admissions are 'all their end' and 'all their fault'

My last bill sent said i owe £2,600 for elec and gas which is from April 14 (before I owned the property) till now.

Whenever I call up i find it very difficult to speak to anyone who knows anything about my complicated case, to the extent that when I call, there is a good chance the person i speak to ends up causing further problems

My problem seems never ending!!!! Nobody can fix my account!!!
So, my key issues are as followed.
  • I've been trapped with this company for 2 years against my will
  • I'm going to continue to be trapped till this is resolved and I've paid whatever is owing
  • they are not the cheapest supplier by far
  • At some point a bill is going to drop on my door for 2k +

What can I do!!!!

I've summarised massively the collection of problems over the past 2 years, but if anyone needs any more information, please let me know!


Thanks
Aaron

Replies

  • edited 1 December 2016 at 12:37AM
    CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2016 at 12:37AM
    1) You are not trapped, you can switch at any time. Why do you assume you are trapped? Switching may mean they get their act together and send a proper final bill.

    2) It is very easy to work out, roughly, what you owe. Then you put that money aside, ready for when they get their act together.

    You have an opening meter reading, deduct that from your latest reading. If electric this is in KWH already. If it is for gas you have to multiply the m3 readings by 11.2 to get KWH.

    Once you have KWH use readings for both, multiply it by the pence per kwh rate. e.g 12p for electric would be 0.12.

    You can then work out roughly what you owe for what you have used. Then add the daily standing charge for each fuel.

    Done...

    If you are unsure, post your readings here and the dates taken. We will work it out for you.

    3) Regardless of the issues with their billing system, you know that your are using utilities which you will eventually have to pay for. If you want some form of compensation, then raise a formal complaint and you may get a gesture of goodwill credit.

    In fact, if you have not already, raise a formal complaint in writing. Try and address it to someone within the company "customer relations head". If they do not deal with your issue within the allotted time you can go to the ombudsman. But, you cannot go to the ombudsman until a formal complaint has be risen.

    But....do not start making assumptions that they will write off what you owe because of their technical difficulties. You have been using gas and electric, there (I assume) have been no problem with the supply. So you are liable for what you have used. So, ensure you put money aside ready for that bill you know is due.
  • Thanks for your reply.

    I've tried switching, I was told by the company I tried to switch to that they couldn't switch me as there was still outstanding monies on my FU account and was also told by FU that I can't switch untill the problem is resolved.

    Let me make it clear, I'm not after a free lunch here, I know I am at some point going to have to pay for the energy that we used, that's not a problem, although i am expecting a decent good will gesture at this point for the time and effort it's taken me.

    We have complained in writing, and it is currently their specialist resolutions department that are working of fixing it (although even that has been since june!)

    I've tried working out how much I will owe, however I've not even been able to select my Tariff with FU, and although they have previously been told by them that they will backdate my account to their best deal once this is resolved, I don't even know what that is or if they will actually do that.

    Does the backbilling code apply in my case as the error is all their end, and I've made every effort to correct the problem?

    I just want to pay for my Elec and Gas!!

    Aaron
  • edited 1 December 2016 at 10:15AM
    dogshomedogshome Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2016 at 10:15AM
    So far as Backbilling relief is concerned, the rule is that the supplier has to have failed to send a bill for 12 months or more
    From your post it appears FU did send a bill/s, albeit wrongly accounted, so I'm afraid Back-bill relief is a non starter.

    To get this to the Ombudsman, you must first follow FU's own complaints procedure - Do this by writing a letter headed Complaint
    Set this out by bullet points listing each error/contact by date, and making a claim for the differential in supply costs caused by their failure to properly establish an account that has prevented you from changing tariff or Switching supplier for over2 years
  • CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    Thanks for your reply.
    We have complained in writing, and it is currently their specialist resolutions department that are working of fixing it (although even that has been since june!)

    I've tried working out how much I will owe, however I've not even been able to select my Tariff with FU, and although they have previously been told by them that they will backdate my account to their best deal once this is resolved, I don't even know what that is or if they will actually do that.

    Aaron

    I understand that you cannot calculate a figure because of the tariff situation.....but.....I would go by the worse case scenario. Pick the tariff your had originally or even their standard tariff. Start putting that money aside now.

    That way, if they do backdate it to the cheaper tariff, you end up with credit left over...happy days.

    Work with the worse case scenario....and then things will only be better!

    If you start second guessing their compensation and only put a minimal amount aside, you could end up having a debt to repay, which is always harder to do at Christmas. The shoe is on the other foot then and you do not want to get into a debt cycle. So, put the money aside now.


    Regarding the complaint, if your complaint was a formal one, and it is with their resolution team, they had 12 weeks to deal with it. As it was back in June, it will be well past that resolution date. I would write a letter, include your previous correspondence reference. State that you intend to take the matter to the ombudsman. If they do not reply or resolve it at that stage....do it.

    ----
  • metrobusmetrobus Forumite
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    They failed to bill me or withdraw the monthly DDs for 10 months 2 years ago despite me submitting meter readings and phoning them every couple of weeks requesting they take what they were owed.I then suddenly had about £800 withdrawn from my bank account in one go luckily it did not make me overdrawn.
  • metrobus wrote: »
    They failed to bill me or withdraw the monthly DDs for 10 months 2 years ago despite me submitting meter readings and phoning them every couple of weeks requesting they take what they were owed.I then suddenly had about £800 withdrawn from my bank account in one go luckily it did not make me overdrawn.

    Well there is no chance of them doing that to me, I've not ever been able to give them my account details for billing!

    If you start second guessing their compensation and only put a minimal amount aside, you could end up having a debt to repay, which is always harder to do at Christmas. The shoe is on the other foot then and you do not want to get into a debt cycle. So, put the money aside now.
    ----

    Luckily we will have the cash available when they eventually get around to sorting this out, although I very very much doubt this will be sorted by christmas!
    Regarding the complaint, if your complaint was a formal one, and it is with their resolution team, they had 12 weeks to deal with it. As it was back in June, it will be well past that resolution date. I would write a letter, include your previous correspondence reference. State that you intend to take the matter to the ombudsman. If they do not reply or resolve it at that stage....do it.
    ----


    I've checked and they officially acknowledged my complaint on the 28th of june this year.
    My last message to them at the start of the week basically said that I would be taking this further if they didn't sort it, I'm just not exactly sure how the ombudsman works, has anyone had dealings with them? how are they to deal with.
    dogshome wrote: »
    So far as Backbilling relief is concerned, the rule is that the supplier has to have failed to send a bill for 12 months or more
    From your post it appears FU did send a bill/s, albeit wrongly accounted, so I'm afraid Back-bill relief is a non starter.
    That's a shame,
    I'm not 100% sure without checking the details properly but i'm fairly sure t's only since about April this year we starting receiving bills, so that would be about 18 months with no bill.
    also when I say these bills are wrong, they are so very wrong they are totally unreadable.
    some have got thousands of pounds worth of cancelled bills on them, some say we owe them X hundred, some of them say we own them X thousand!
    one of them even said they owe us a refund,
    We have of course kept all of these bills.

    My problem is, how on earth will i know when i eventually get an accurate bill through?!
    And even if they tell me it is accurate, how can i trust them?
  • edited 1 December 2016 at 8:08PM
    CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2016 at 8:08PM
    You have used a specific amount of energy for the time you were with them. As long as you have an opening meter reading (which you do) it is very simple. You can double check the calculations when the correct bill finally arrives. if you have the meter readings, they can't trick you. It is a simple case of maths.

    Example:

    opening reading: 10000

    Reading today: 12589

    Metered amount used: 2589 (12589 - 10000)

    For Electricity this would be in KWH already, so 2589KWH.

    For gas, the metered units are usually in m3 (check this), so you would multiply 2589m3 units by 11.2 to give you:

    2589 x 11.2 = 28, 996kwh

    Obviously the figures I have used are made up.

    You then get you KWH figures and multiply them by the tariff rate:

    so 2589kwh of electric at a tariff rate of £0.14 per kwh.

    So 2589 x 0.14 = £362

    then you add the standing charge for the number of days on the bill.
    For example 60 days at £0.20p a day.

    60x0.2 = £12

    total electric bill = £374 + vat @ 5% (if tariff did not include vat already)


    For complaints to the ombudsman:

    https://www.ombudsman-services.org/complain-now-energy.html
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
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    Back-Billing ?
    Check the date on that first bill, if it is indeed April this year FU can only bill for the exact 12 months before the bills date.

    Start the Ombudsman process a.s.a.p. - Their rule is that they won't consider any complaint that is more the 9 months old, and your is already over 5 months old
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