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  • FIRST POST
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 22nd Dec 17, 11:23 AM
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    shortcrust
    Help with Back Billing Code - no gas bill for 12 months
    • #1
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:23 AM
    Help with Back Billing Code - no gas bill for 12 months 22nd Dec 17 at 11:23 AM
    I've been with my gas provider for just over 12 months and haven't had a bill from them yet. I requested one on the anniversary date via their online message system. I've provided regular readings (with photo evidence when requested), have paid my direct debits and have responded to all messages. No changes have been made to my direct debit amount based on my usage.

    I don't know if it makes a difference but my meter was broken for 7 weeks at the start of the year. It was replaced through my provider. They seemed to forget about this at one point; I had a message from them explaining that "gas readings do not generally go backwards"!

    My question is do I have to only pay for the 12 month period up to when they get round to billing me or is that unreasonable given I only contacted at the 12 month point? In other words, do they get a reasonable period of time to produce a bill when asked for one.
Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 22nd Dec 17, 11:32 AM
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    Hengus
    • #2
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:32 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:32 AM
    I've been with my gas provider for just over 12 months and haven't had a bill from them yet. I requested one on the anniversary date via their online message system. I've provided regular readings (with photo evidence when requested), have paid my direct debits and have responded to all messages. No changes have been made to my direct debit amount based on my usage.

    I don't know if it makes a difference but my meter was broken for 7 weeks at the start of the year. It was replaced through my provider. They seemed to forget about this at one point; I had a message from them explaining that "gas readings do not generally go backwards"!

    My question is do I have to only pay for the 12 month period up to when they get round to billing me or is that unreasonable given I only contacted at the 12 month point? In other words, do they get a reasonable period of time to produce a bill when asked for one.
    Originally posted by shortcrust
    Decide for yourself:

    Each case is looked at on its own merits; however, the 12 month limit for back-bills may apply in these examples when your supplier has:

    Failed to bill you at all and you have requested bills from them

    Billed you using estimated meter readings instead of valid readings provided by you or a meter reader

    Billed you incorrectly by mixing up meter readings, and failed to act upon information available to put this right

    Failed to do anything about a query or fault you have raised regarding your account or meter and subsequently allowed a large debt to build up on your account

    Failed to reassess a payment arrangement (e.g. Direct Debit) within 15 months, or failed to reassess based on a reasonable estimate.

    It may not apply if you:

    Have been using the gas or electricity supply but have made no attempt to contact the supplier to arrange payment. This includes moving into a property and making no attempt to let a supplier know you are the new tenant or homeowner

    Have wilfully avoided payment

    Have not co-operated with attempts to obtain meter readings or resolve queries requested by the supplier. This includes failing to allow access to the property or failing to respond to requests for meter details or meter readings.

    If 12 months has now passed - and the supplier agrees that The Back Billing Code applies - then you would still be billed for the previous 12 months. Personally, I doubt that you have a case as you appear to have made no effort to get a bill out of the supplier for the past 12 months.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 22nd Dec 17, 11:40 AM
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    shortcrust
    • #3
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:40 AM
    • #3
    • 22nd Dec 17, 11:40 AM
    .....

    If 12 months has now passed - and the supplier agrees that The Back Billing Code applies - then you would still be billed for the previous 12 months. Personally, I doubt that you have a case as you appear to have made no effort to get a bill out of the supplier for the past 12 months.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Yeah that's what I guessed. I'll cross my fingers that they're incredibly inefficient.
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 22nd Dec 17, 12:40 PM
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    BBH123
    • #4
    • 22nd Dec 17, 12:40 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Dec 17, 12:40 PM
    I have not had my meter read since 2008. It was a new supply provided by the electric company and since this date I have had estimated bills.


    I cannot read the meter myself as they used a contractor to supply the box and no one has a key. I have been advised not to break in as this would be criminal damage.


    The box is outside and the electric company can have access anytime they wish. We have had an emergency callout when a box on a pylon over the field blew up. I asked them to read the meter then . Nothing.


    I have had numerous cards in my letter box saying . we called' each time I have returned the call usually to voicemail and heard no more.


    I have rung many times, they say they need to speak to engineer about access and will get back to me, never do.


    We recorded the lady on site as disabled still no visit.


    I pay the estimate and more each month and when on the news it says electric goes up 15% I up my payment.


    Last month we had a visit to say we would have no electric for the day as they were doing works to a power box thing , I asked for the meter to be read still nothing.


    I have totally given up on any one ever reading this meter. I pay a monthly sum and hope to goodness its enough.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 22nd Dec 17, 1:10 PM
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    D_M_E
    • #5
    • 22nd Dec 17, 1:10 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Dec 17, 1:10 PM
    You can get a meter box key for under a quid from the likes of B&Q or a lot of hardware stores.

    Also, if you have a socket set, a small socket will also open the meter box - I think it's the 8mm or 3/8af socket that does the job.

    If you have been paying estimates for all this time then you could well be due a BIG refund.

    There is also the fact that you need to establish that you have been paying - or are being billed - for the correct meter as they often get mixed up in new builds.
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 22nd Dec 17, 1:31 PM
    • 687 Posts
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    BBH123
    • #6
    • 22nd Dec 17, 1:31 PM
    • #6
    • 22nd Dec 17, 1:31 PM
    Thanks for the reply but it isn't a key that can be bought over the counter, this has been the problem an why they need to ' speak to engineers' every time I ring.


    Its not a new build housing estate , there is only us .
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 22nd Dec 17, 4:48 PM
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    dogshome
    • #7
    • 22nd Dec 17, 4:48 PM
    • #7
    • 22nd Dec 17, 4:48 PM
    BBH123
    You report that this meter box is on your property and only serves your house.
    If this is the case, even though it was fitted by the Elec Co. along with the meter, this box is your responsibility and you must maintain it.
    Posts crop up on this site where suppliers have insisted the householder repair or replace a box, or the suppliers will do it at the customers expense.

    That said, provided the meter is left weatherproof, you can cut out the existing lock and replace it with another, which hopefully will be one with the simple triangular key that's commonly used on these boxes
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 22nd Dec 17, 5:12 PM
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    dogshome
    • #8
    • 22nd Dec 17, 5:12 PM
    • #8
    • 22nd Dec 17, 5:12 PM
    Shortcrust
    I think providing the supplier with regular meter readings, most certainly covers 'Making efforts to get the supplier to produce a bill'

    So Back-Billing is on, but it ain't straightforward
    It was brought in to protect customers from BILL SHOCK when a huge bill was issued.
    BUT
    Direct Debit customers who have been making monthly payments will have built up a big credit because no bills were issued and this credit on the account is set against the bill debt - So no BILL SHOCK - Unless that is, there is still a big debt left after the D/Debits have been taken into account.

    Only a guess, but is the supplier Scot Power ? - They have form in this area

    They also have form in confusing Metric & Imperial Gas meters
    Check your new gas meter, it will me marked m3 as a Metric meter
    When you do eventually get a bill, divide the meter units used into the number of KWh charged - The answer should appx 11.2 - If it's appx 35.5 they have got in wrong again
    Last edited by dogshome; 22-12-2017 at 5:16 PM. Reason: Grammer
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 22nd Dec 17, 8:05 PM
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    BBH123
    • #9
    • 22nd Dec 17, 8:05 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Dec 17, 8:05 PM
    BBH123
    You report that this meter box is on your property and only serves your house.
    If this is the case, even though it was fitted by the Elec Co. along with the meter, this box is your responsibility and you must maintain it.
    Posts crop up on this site where suppliers have insisted the householder repair or replace a box, or the suppliers will do it at the customers expense.

    That said, provided the meter is left weatherproof, you can cut out the existing lock and replace it with another, which hopefully will be one with the simple triangular key that's commonly used on these boxes
    Originally posted by dogshome
    I have previously rung and suggested I force the box / lock but was told not to tamper with it as it would be deemed to be criminal damage . It doesn't need repairing of replacing as there is nothing wrong with it It just won't open.
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 23rd Dec 17, 8:52 AM
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    dogshome
    BBH123
    Did you get this Criminal Damage comment in a phone call to your suppliers Customer Service Line? - If so, the responders often get it wrong, particularly in your case which is almost as rare as hen's teeth.

    Swapping an unusual lock for one that Meter Readers can access, is not Criminal Damage
    However if this still worries you, WRITE a letter headed Complaint to your supplier, pointing out that the box lock prevents both them and yourself from taking meter readings, and that they have threatened you with Legal Action if you change it - With this letter in play, they have 56 days to resolve the problem - If they don't you go straight to the Ombudsman, which costs them money
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 23rd Dec 17, 10:14 AM
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    BBH123
    Thankyou for your reply .

    Yes it was said to me by a customer service operator , they didn't say the words we'll take legal action just that it was criminal damage.

    To be honest I can't believe this isn't resolved after all these years, perhaps things would be taken more seriously if I was in arrears but I make sure the account is in credit to at least show I'm doing something to pay .

    I just worry that if eventually we or they get a proper reading it'll not be in my favour and I owe a large sum .
    • Enceladus
    • By Enceladus 23rd Dec 17, 8:12 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Enceladus
    Isn't the energy supplier under some sort of legal obligation to actually read the meter at least once every two years? And is a failure to do so a reason for complaint?
    • ASavvyBuyer
    • By ASavvyBuyer 24th Dec 17, 10:25 AM
    • 777 Posts
    • 2,097 Thanks
    ASavvyBuyer
    I just worry that if eventually we or they get a proper reading it'll not be in my favour and I owe a large sum .
    Originally posted by BBH123
    Why not stop the worrying and get it sorted as suggested by others ?

    The longer it goes on the more likely it is that the actual difference in the reading, compared to the estimates, will be even bigger. Then you may have an even bigger problem to worry about.

    You may even be putting off getting a refund.
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    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 24th Dec 17, 12:58 PM
    • 2,658 Posts
    • 1,732 Thanks
    Robin9

    I cannot read the meter myself as they used a contractor to supply the box and no one has a key. I have been advised not to break in as this would be criminal damage.


    The box is outside and the electric company can have access anytime they wish. We have had an emergency callout when a box on a pylon over the field blew up. I asked them to read the meter then . Nothing.








    Last month we had a visit to say we would have no electric for the day as they were doing works to a power box thing , I asked for the meter to be read still nothing.

    Originally posted by BBH123
    The contractors working on the local lines, cables and substations are nothing to do with meters and meter readings. You are wasting your time asking these people.

    The only people who can help you are your suppliers.

    As others are said this box is yours - you own it - you can't do criminal damage to your own property.

    If the box is a fibreglass box - even if supplied and installed by contractors - it will have a standard triangular key (from B&Q as above). These boxes are not the most secure of things.

    Do you have online access to your account ?

    Who is your supplier ?
    Last edited by Robin9; 24-12-2017 at 1:00 PM. Reason: Supplier question added
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 24th Dec 17, 1:01 PM
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    Hengus
    Isn't the energy supplier under some sort of legal obligation to actually read the meter at least once every two years? And is a failure to do so a reason for complaint?
    Originally posted by Enceladus
    No and no. The meter reading requirement was changed in April 2016 which dropped the 2 year meter reading obligation and removed British Gas!!!8217; 5 year derogation.
    • macman
    • By macman 24th Dec 17, 3:29 PM
    • 41,920 Posts
    • 17,396 Thanks
    macman
    You can normally open the meter box (your meter box) with a pair of long nose pliers, but the keys are widely available everywhere. The box is yours, so you can remove the whole thing if you wanted to (although you would then be liable for any ensuing damage to the meter).
    The agents you have spoken to are clueless as usual.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • LewisHamilton
    • By LewisHamilton 26th Dec 17, 9:17 PM
    • 80 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    LewisHamilton
    Isn't the energy supplier under some sort of legal obligation to actually read the meter at least once every two years? And is a failure to do so a reason for complaint?
    Originally posted by Enceladus
    The obligation was to conduct a safety check of the meter once every two years, not to actually read the meter. However, reading the meter usually sufficed for this as part of the safety inspection.

    As Hengus has stated, this obligation was actually removed from the Licence Conditions in 2016 as Ofgem did not deem it necessary to do safety inspections so often. There is no longer an obligation to conduct at safety inspection every two years.

    However, the energy suppliers should still make all reasonable steps to obtain a reading once every 12 months so all energy suppliers are expected to make at least one attempt to read the meter every 12 months. If the energy supplier fails to do this and also does not request readings from the customer proactively through letters/emails/text messages etc then they would be found to have not made all reasonable attempts to obtain readings and will have to write off unbilled energy charges that are more than 12 months old when they do finally get a reading and this results in a catch up bill (providing the customer has clearly not been wilfully avoiding paying),

    In OP case, if you can demonstrate that you have asked for a bill and the energy supplier has failed to bill you for more than 12 months, then you should get the back billing code. There is no excuse for a billing company to not send a bill when it is required to do so and you have set up an account.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 2nd Feb 18, 1:40 PM
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    shortcrust
    I'm the OP and haven't looked at this thread for ages. Thought I'd update. Thanks for all the replies, esp. dogshome. Still no gas bill and it's 41 days since I emailed my provider to ask for one (that was 12 months after switching to them). My latest reading from 31 Jan was rejected so I've sent a photo of the meter as requested. The provider is isupply.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 2nd Feb 18, 1:45 PM
    • 27,366 Posts
    • 13,390 Thanks
    Cardew
    I'm the OP and haven't looked at this thread for ages. Thought I'd update. Thanks for all the replies, esp. dogshome. Still no gas bill and it's 41 days since I emailed my provider to ask for one (that was 12 months after switching to them). My latest reading from 31 Jan was rejected so I've sent a photo of the meter as requested. The provider is isupply.
    Originally posted by shortcrust
    As you have taken steps to get a bill, just sit back and enjoy some free gas.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 8th Mar 18, 5:10 PM
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    shortcrust
    Hello! OP here again.

    I finally had a load of gas bills today. The first one (December to March 2016/17) is massively wrong because they took the readings as imperial instead of metric. It's over by 160! Overall the account is still in credit even with the error so god knows how many people wouldn't notice the mistake in a set of bills covering over a year.

    Now I've had my bills it seems it's up to me to start a discussion about the back billing code. Any advice? Is it just a case of asking them to look at whether the code applies here or do I put a 'case' forward? As in I've provided you with regular readings, answered all queries, oh the horror I've had budgeting without bills etc.

    Edit to add: I'm still not clear on whether or not I have a case.

    Edit to add even more: Having read some of the scenarios in this document I think I have a strong case. My reading is that being in contact with the supplier is a requirement, not having explicitly requested a bill.

    Oh we'll see. Even I'm bored of this now and I started the thread!
    Last edited by shortcrust; 08-03-2018 at 5:36 PM.
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