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  • FIRST POST
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 13th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
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    lg_20187
    Energy Charging
    • #1
    • 13th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
    Energy Charging 13th Feb 18 at 2:46 PM
    Hi

    I am looking for some advise - iv been talking to CAB and local councillors aswell to try and sort this.

    Nov 2017 my electric meter was replaced - and since then they have came back accusing me of meter tampering. The energy company contacted the two billing companies i have been with for the past 2 years, and between the two they are trying to charge me almost 1000.

    1: i have never meter tampered nor know how to do it
    2: i have all my receipts and payments since i signed up to the two companies which is over 300 for a single girl on her own
    3: i have meter readings i sent to the company
    4: iv requested the report the company has.

    So the story:
    i moved in DEC 2015
    Signed over electric to my name in February 2016 with a local company offering incentive.
    In january 2016 - apparent meter tampering that went on for about 4 / 5 times in a space of 4 weeks
    (times is lasted less than a minute)
    the evidence shows all happened in the month of January 2016

    What i need to know is:

    Can a local company charge you for unused billing if the apparent tampering happened before i even signed up to them?

    i signed up to one in Feb 2016 then moved to a different one in 2017 - with better tarriffs

    How can an energy company charge you for so many units in such a small space of time - i just moved in and had a tv cooker and kettle.


    I have been in a terrible state since this has happened and i had to go to get help as i don't know how to deal with it alone.

    any help appreciated.
Page 1
    • JJ Egan
    • By JJ Egan 13th Feb 18, 4:51 PM
    • 10,449 Posts
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    JJ Egan
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 18, 4:51 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 18, 4:51 PM
    Local billing companies ?? What does that mean .
    What advice have CAB given ??
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 13th Feb 18, 4:59 PM
    • 1,353 Posts
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    House Martin
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 18, 4:59 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 18, 4:59 PM
    Is the meter in question a smart meter ? New occupiers often move into properties with tampered gas and electric meters. Some do nothing about it and continue getting free energy. Most would be sensible and get the dangerous meters replaced
    Suppliers will get estimated usage from the dates the new occupier moved in if the meter is nt registering consumption.
    Smart meters have sensors to send back info from the meter with a tamper code attached if attempts to bypass the meter occur.
    A supplier would have to send out someone to examine the meter physically before accusing anyone of tampering.
    Impossible to accuse anyone of meter tampering if they are simply going on error codes sent back from a smart meter
    Either way , do not worry yourself OP about this. Suppliers just rebill nowadays once hard evidence is secured to establish bypassing/tampering.
    Last edited by House Martin; 13-02-2018 at 5:09 PM.
    • macman
    • By macman 13th Feb 18, 6:53 PM
    • 41,894 Posts
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    macman
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 18, 6:53 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 18, 6:53 PM
    How is the property heated and hot watered?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 16th Feb 18, 9:29 AM
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    lg_20187
    • #5
    • 16th Feb 18, 9:29 AM
    • #5
    • 16th Feb 18, 9:29 AM
    HI - So NIElectricity own the meter but the billing company is the local companies eg...click, bugget energy, aitrticity, power ni

    Its an old style meter not a smart meter,

    Property heated by Oil and hot water by Oil
    Shower by Electric
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 16th Feb 18, 9:36 AM
    • 14 Posts
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    lg_20187
    • #6
    • 16th Feb 18, 9:36 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Feb 18, 9:36 AM
    So apparrently cause i asked to switch providers in January - my own providor had decided they was fowlplay and decided to look into it and shared their suspicians with NIE.they believed they was descrepancies in my payments - even tho i have evidence iv been topping up sometimes twice per week. and almost 400 for the entire year.(for a single girl who works ~40 hours per week



    so thats why NIE came out to change my meter so they could test it.


    NIE explained that the evidence they have is solid and it can be used in court to their advantage if to came to that.


    I asked how can a company charge you if the "Apparrent Tampering" happened before i was even with any of the companies, and they said that as they are the company maintaining your electric throughout. STILL DOESNT ANSWER MY QUESTION.


    I then asked how in such a small amount of times in this Evidence - how can it amount to such an amount of units ...waiting on answer as it doesnt add up



    So im still in the negative side - and dont know how to go about appealing it, as NIE csays its solid evidence and il have to pay it.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 16th Feb 18, 10:43 AM
    • 3,542 Posts
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    matelodave
    • #7
    • 16th Feb 18, 10:43 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Feb 18, 10:43 AM
    Who were you with between Dec 2015 and Feb 2016. Did you notify the supplier and set up an account when you got the tenancy in December 2015.

    There seems to be a black hole that's unaccounted for for which you were responsible but possibly still assigned to the previous tenant who might be the person they are after.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    Look after our planet - it's the only one with beer
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 16th Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    • 14 Posts
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    lg_20187
    • #8
    • 16th Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    The house had electric when i moved in, and it was topped up and there was a card, so i just used that until i got the chance to ring and swap it over to my name in February.

    So im guessing it was previous tenants name.
    Last edited by lg_20187; 16-02-2018 at 11:33 AM.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 16th Feb 18, 11:50 AM
    • 1,353 Posts
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    House Martin
    • #9
    • 16th Feb 18, 11:50 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Feb 18, 11:50 AM
    I personally have nt seen a "card " electric meter in over 12 years as along term meter reader for several of the big 6 suppliers. They were phased out for a key meter, known as Smartkey. Prepay gas meter uses a card.
    This meter, made by a few different companies is the most tampered and bypassed meter of them all, mainly because its so easy to do.
    The meter is bypassed under the front lower cover, where there is a small wire seal guarding it.
    all these tampers have hard evidence which cannot be denied when they are examined.
    Its not unusual for a new occupier to move into a tampered electric meter. The last tenant will have the unusually low bills with the meter only registering standing charges building up with no credits to lower it. Screen "A " will show a debit of standing charges not paid for many months or years
    • macman
    • By macman 16th Feb 18, 2:35 PM
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    macman
    You should have registered for your own account and a new card as soon as you moved in. It appears you were using the previous occupant's card for 4 to 8 weeks? Which means you may well have been paying off any debt they had on it as well.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 16th Feb 18, 4:04 PM
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    lg_20187
    Its an old style meter with a keypad and i use a card to purchase electric

    one thing i didnt ask was if there was any physical evidence on the box that it was tampered - thats something il need to find out. -eg the seal you mentioned.

    as nothing physical was mentioned in the accusation - just a digital report
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 16th Feb 18, 4:54 PM
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    House Martin
    Its an old style meter with a keypad and i use a card to purchase electric

    one thing i didnt ask was if there was any physical evidence on the box that it was tampered - thats something il need to find out. -eg the seal you mentioned.

    as nothing physical was mentioned in the accusation - just a digital report
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    Are you in Northern Ireland, or using a Secure Liberty meter. That is the only meter using a keypad. They are quite new and usually working as smart meters unless they have been switched dumb by moving to another supplier.
    When its in smart prepayment or credit mode it has error codes which should indicate tampering of the lower cover.
    Personally in the 4 or 5 years I ve seen these meters around I have only ever found one tampered . People tend not to mess with these meters compared to the vast numbers fiddling electric prepay key meters in the UK.
    Does the meter look to have the wire seal at the bottom missing where someone has got into the 4 cables entering the bottom of the meter. Can also see the screw which holds the lower cover on to be marked by ill fitting screwdrivers.If all looks OK then unless someone has gone to the trouble using a new seal bought off Ebay then the meter is most probably untouched .
    Suppliers virtually never prosecute nowadays for meter tampering, I wish they would, they just simply issue another bill.
    Its nice to know that a supplier is taking notice of an error code returning but simply sending off a digital report is utterly useless.OP, if your meter appears to be untouched you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
    If someone had been wiring the meter up to bypass it then its in danger of catching fire . They should have had a RPU man round pronto knocking hard on the door to disable a dangerous meter.
    I can believe thats how the suppliers would work though because its cheaper for them to issue a report and hope the transgressors disable the bypass themselves. They would like to automate everything, even fiddling meters if it saves them money
    Last edited by House Martin; 17-02-2018 at 5:45 PM.
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 18th Feb 18, 11:05 AM
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    lg_20187
    I am in Northern Irelad Yes, and they replaced my meter so i have no idea if there are seals broken or any damage to the box, i just assumed as they are replacing all meters this was normal procedure, and let them in to change it

    i had nothing to hide so i contacted them and arranged a replacement date whenever they could do it.
    so the meter thats in now is an apparrent anti magnetic meter, which are being replaced throughout northern ireland,

    The digital report is apparrently hard evidence andthey are now talking about small claims court - something i know nothing about, and im scared now that i have to go down that route.

    Can i ask if anyone knows - im moving house to try and save for a mortgage - because of this, will my credit rating be affected now? its like allmy life plans are falling apart cause of this dam thing
    it has me worried sick, sleep affected, work affected due to lack of sleep, now entering a situation im not used to.

    i do everything by the book, pay all my bills and on time and now iv this against me and im not sure what to do.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 18th Feb 18, 12:33 PM
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    • 1,142 Thanks
    House Martin
    I am in Northern Irelad Yes, and they replaced my meter so i have no idea if there are seals broken or any damage to the box, i just assumed as they are replacing all meters this was normal procedure, and let them in to change it

    i had nothing to hide so i contacted them and arranged a replacement date whenever they could do it.
    so the meter thats in now is an apparrent anti magnetic meter, which are being replaced throughout northern ireland,

    The digital report is apparrently hard evidence andthey are now talking about small claims court - something i know nothing about, and im scared now that i have to go down that route.

    Can i ask if anyone knows - im moving house to try and save for a mortgage - because of this, will my credit rating be affected now? its like allmy life plans are falling apart cause of this dam thing
    it has me worried sick, sleep affected, work affected due to lack of sleep, now entering a situation im not used to.

    i do everything by the book, pay all my bills and on time and now iv this against me and im not sure what to do.
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    In Northern Ireland I believe the electric keypad meters have no connection directly with a server, they operate "semi smart " so they could nt monitor error codes on the lower cover to indicate a tamper remotely.
    There can not be any hard evidence of a meter tamper without an RPU officer visiting the property. In the mainland UK a tampered gas meter has to be sent to an expert to ascertain a definite tamper.
    I suspect a bit of "bluff " with this case. Suppliers dont usually turn up when presented with trips to the small claims courts when a customer decides to go down that route.Solicitors are very expensive. That is why they virtually never prosecute meter bypassing unless associated with large scale cannabis farming. In 2015 the whole of the UK only had 1500 prosecutions for meter tampering, (Liverpool coming tops with 250 ! ) even though I have seen a report of an estimated 200,000 active cannabis growers in the UK and they all bypass the electric meters. No way will you be taken to task in a criminal court of law for a supplier guessing about some sort of meter tamper.Small claims courts are used as a threat to recover money.
    Over the years I have discovered many hundreds of serious bypassing and here in South Yorks not one has ever been taken to the local magistrates.In fact I have never ever even seen one go through our local magistrates.
    Small claims courts are only for civil matters whereas meter tampering is strictly a criminal offence.
    Last edited by House Martin; 18-02-2018 at 1:49 PM.
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 19th Feb 18, 10:42 AM
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    lg_20187
    Does anyone know will this affect my credit rating?

    Im going to try and keep fighting them until i get this resolved. i really dont want to go the legal ruote but their figures and statements are not adding up, which im a little suspicious about.
    • JStewer
    • By JStewer 19th Feb 18, 10:54 AM
    • 31 Posts
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    JStewer
    Does anyone know will this affect my credit rating?...
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    Credit reference agencies only record details of how you conduct your credit accounts.

    So if, as you say, you do everything by the book, pay all your bills and on time, etc, then that can only reflect well on your credit history file.

    But if I understood you correctly, this is not even a credit account...
    Last edited by JStewer; 19-02-2018 at 11:05 AM.
    • JStewer
    • By JStewer 19th Feb 18, 11:04 AM
    • 31 Posts
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    JStewer
    ...
    The digital report is apparrently hard evidence andthey are now talking about small claims court - something i know nothing about, and im scared now that i have to go down that route....
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    What exactly are they talking to you in regards to small claims court about????
    I can see nothing posted by you in this thread that would appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the small claims court.
    Did you mentiuon this to the CAB, as it is surprising they would not have told you likewise.
    • lg_20187
    • By lg_20187 19th Feb 18, 11:43 AM
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    lg_20187
    At present, they are taking payments off my meter to try and recover this money i apparrently owe. Without my consent, i have tried to get them to stop this but every time i top up my meter now they take 40% of my topup. They refuse to stop taking money out of my meter due to the nature of my case.

    However as i am moving out of the property, they will have to get their money in another way, and they have said they might have to settle via small claims court. I did say that if it came to it, and that i DID have to pay this, id set up a payment plan. but i will fight it and clear my name.

    I understand this is not a credit account, however its a debt against my name, that i am trying to appeal, and thats why im worried about my credit file, as i am working hard to get it to a steady level. iv never been through anything like this so thats why i need advise.

    CAB have just advised to write a letter, and speak to Utilities Regulator.
    • JStewer
    • By JStewer 19th Feb 18, 1:00 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JStewer
    At present, they are taking payments off my meter to try and recover this money i apparrently owe. Without my consent, i have tried to get them to stop this but every time i top up my meter now they take 40% of my topup. They refuse to stop taking money out of my meter due to the nature of my case.

    However as i am moving out of the property, they will have to get their money in another way, and they have said they might have to settle via small claims court. I did say that if it came to it, and that i DID have to pay this, id set up a payment plan. but i will fight it and clear my name.

    I understand this is not a credit account, however its a debt against my name, that i am trying to appeal, and thats why im worried about my credit file, as i am working hard to get it to a steady level. iv never been through anything like this so thats why i need advise.

    CAB have just advised to write a letter, and speak to Utilities Regulator.
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    Oh, ok.

    I was confused as you started, and continued on for most of this thread regarding an allegation you had tampered with the meter.
    Is that now all sorted?

    Because I would suggest to you that is far more serious than allegedly owing someone a few bob.

    If it's is just the money the supplier claims you owe you wish to contest, then you need to let them know by raising a complaint and following the supplier's complaint procedure.

    If you fail to do that, but simply do what they will see as a runner without repaying them, then they probably would resort to the small claims court in an attempt to secure what they believe is rightly theirs.

    Obviously a CCJ against you would have a significant adverse impact in obtaining a mortgage, so best not to let matters escalate to that stage.

    But as I understand it, the money the supplier claims you owe is due to a tampering of the meter.
    If not, what other money do they claim you owe them
    Last edited by JStewer; 19-02-2018 at 1:05 PM.
    • JStewer
    • By JStewer 19th Feb 18, 1:07 PM
    • 31 Posts
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    JStewer
    HI - So NIElectricity own the meter but the billing company is the local companies eg...click, bugget energy, aitrticity, power ni
    ...
    Originally posted by lg_20187
    Which one of those is your supplier?
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