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  • FIRST POST
    • Hoof Hearted
    • By Hoof Hearted 9th Mar 18, 7:57 AM
    • 2,071Posts
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    Hoof Hearted
    Dispute over opening reading....
    • #1
    • 9th Mar 18, 7:57 AM
    Dispute over opening reading.... 9th Mar 18 at 7:57 AM
    I changed electricity supplier way back in the summer and recently received my first bill. When I changed supplier, I sent a meter reading to both old and new supplier and a photo of the meter. I had a closing bill from the old supplier showing the correct reading. I understand that this reading has to be agreed.

    The new supplier doesn't seem to want to use this reading. The reading they are using is estimated and is less than it should be, so I have paid twice for some consumption. Their response is: "unfortunately we cannot dispute anything under 250 units which is an industry standard".

    It is not a large amount of money but I want it corrected. I would be happy if they estimated it at the correct reading and the bill was re-issued.

    Any idea where I go from here?
    Je suis sabot...
Page 1
    • Colin_Maybe
    • By Colin_Maybe 9th Mar 18, 8:03 AM
    • 2,092 Posts
    • 951 Thanks
    Colin_Maybe
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:03 AM
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:03 AM
    How much money are you talking about here?
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 9th Mar 18, 8:07 AM
    • 2,069 Posts
    • 1,392 Thanks
    Tom99
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:07 AM
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:07 AM
    Lodge a formal complaint with your meter photo and copy of closing bill and see if that gets you anywhere.

    Edit: Don't bother, it's won't get you anywhere as you will see below!
    Last edited by Tom99; 09-03-2018 at 1:40 PM.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 9th Mar 18, 8:40 AM
    • 18,587 Posts
    • 12,738 Thanks
    molerat
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:40 AM
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:40 AM
    The losing supplier should use the reading supplied to them by the gaining supplier which is one that is verified / supplied by the industry intermediary. They probably jumped the gun and used the reading supplied by you and, although correct, is not the reading they should have used.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 9th Mar 18, 8:44 AM
    • 5,730 Posts
    • 3,516 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:44 AM
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:44 AM
    I changed electricity supplier way back in the summer and recently received my first bill. When I changed supplier, I sent a meter reading to both old and new supplier and a photo of the meter. I had a closing bill from the old supplier showing the correct reading. I understand that this reading has to be agreed.

    The new supplier doesn't seem to want to use this reading. The reading they are using is estimated and is less than it should be, so I have paid twice for some consumption. Their response is: "unfortunately we cannot dispute anything under 250 units which is an industry standard".

    It is not a large amount of money but I want it corrected. I would be happy if they estimated it at the correct reading and the bill was re-issued.

    Any idea where I go from here?
    Originally posted by Hoof Hearted
    The supplier is correct that an Agreed Readings Dispute cannot be initiated for such a low discrepancy. On switch, the losing supplier is required to ignore all meter readings provided by the consumer. The gaining supplier has the Licence obligation to manage all aspects of the transfer which includes asking for a meter reading in the period +/-5 days before the day of the actual transfer. Once the new supplier has got your meter reading it is then passed to the Data Collectors for verification ( a process that takes 10 to 14 days). Once verified the meter reading is passed to the gaining supplier and then on to the losing supplier to open and close your accounts.

    You now need to contact your old supplier and ask them to use the industry-verified meter reading provided to them to close your account. This may well be annotated with an 'E' and may well be different from the one that you provided. Any cost difference to you will be in pence.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 9th Mar 18, 8:52 AM
    • 5,730 Posts
    • 3,516 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:52 AM
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 8:52 AM
    Lodge a formal complaint with your meter photo and copy of closing bill and see if that gets you anywhere.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    Err - No. For those not familiar with what happens on an energy transfer here is a detailed explanation (courtesy of Octopus Energy):

    The secret life of an opening meter reading
    Chris Roper, Writer Energy explained
    22nd February 2017

    If energy confuses you, you’re not alone.

    Even we find it more complex than it needs to be, and part of the reason we started Octopus Energy was to make it clearer and easier for everyone. This means picking apart the complicated bits to give you a good understanding of how the energy industry works.

    With this in mind, I want to answer one of the most common questions our customers ask:

    “Why didn’t you use my opening meter reading to start my account?”

    It should be straightforward, right? You give us the opening reading, your old supplier uses it to close your account, we use it to start your account, and hey presto, you’ve got a seamless switch.

    But sadly, rules within the industry make this outwardly simple process rather tricky.

    It’s helpful to think of your opening reading as the basis of a “handover” reading – one that we and your old supplier agree on so they can close your account and we can open one for you.

    Sometimes, this handover reading is exactly the same as the opening reading you’ve given us. At other times, it could be different, and I’ll explain why shortly. The crucial point to remember is that no matter what “handover” reading is agreed, you won’t pay for the same energy twice. It just changes the start point with us, and the end point with your old supplier.

    So, why don’t we always use the opening reading you give us?

    Well, let’s start with what happens when you submit your meter reading.

    When we receive your opening reading, we forward it to an independent meter validation company, who validates it on our and your old supplier’s behalf. Meter validation companies prevent energy suppliers from arguing over readings, and using them is a regulatory requirement. And because this process takes time, it’s one of the reasons a switch might take longer than expected.

    Validating your reading simply means checking that it’s in line with your past usage, and all meter validation companies use a special calculation to do this. They begin by working out a maximum acceptable reading, which I’ll outline now.

    First, they take your last validated reading (which would’ve been when you were still with your old supplier), and the number of days between this reading and the one you submitted to us.

    Then, they take your estimated yearly usage (adjusted for seasonality) and convert this to a daily figure. They multiply the daily figure by the number of days between your last reading and your opening one to get your expected usage for this period.

    Finally, they use a factor of 2.5 to account for swings in your usage between your last validated reading and your opening one.

    So the calculation becomes:

    Maximum acceptable reading = Last validated reading + (expected usage x 2.5)

    Once they’ve calculated the maximum, they’ll accept your opening reading if it is:

    a) The same as the maximum acceptable reading, or

    b) Equal to your last validated reading (meaning you haven’t used anything since your last reading – if you were on holiday, for example), or

    c) Between the last validated reading and the maximum acceptable reading.

    Otherwise, should your opening reading be more than the maximum acceptable, or less than your last validated reading (this last is called "negative consumption"), they'll use an estimate.

    The estimate is calculated by adding your last validated reading to your expected usage, like so:

    Estimated reading = last validated reading + expected usage

    Either way, the difference between an opening reading and an estimate is often quite small, and can even work in your favour.

    How does this work in practice?

    Well, let's take a look at a couple of simplified examples.

    You send an opening electricity reading of 3265 on 1st of February, which we then send to the meter validation company. Your estimated annual consumption is 3100. They have your last validated reading as 2800, which you gave 30 days before your opening reading.

    So:

    Maximum acceptable reading = 2800 + ((3100/365) x 30 x 2.5)

    = 2800 + 637

    = 3437

    Since your opening reading of 3265 is between your last validated reading and the maximum of 3437, your reading would be accepted.

    Now, let's now pretend that your last validated reading was actually 2500.

    Maximum acceptable reading = 2500 + ((3100/365) x 30 x 2.5)

    = 2500 + 637

    = 3137

    Since your opening reading of 3265 is more than the maximum of 3137, your reading would be rejected. Instead, they'd calculate an estimate:

    Estimated reading = last validated reading + expected usage (note that we don't use the 2.5 multiplication factor here)

    = 2500 + ((3100/365) x 30)

    = 2500 + 255

    = 2755

    Please remember that these are simplified examples – your estimated annual usage incorporates some pretty complex maths (to account for seasonality) that you can check out on Elexon's Annex S-2: Supplier Volume Allocation Rules document. It's on page 23.

    Giving us your opening reading is one of the most important parts of your switch – it gets us off on the right foot and helps keep every kWh accounted for. But please don't worry if we use a slightly different figure.

    Chris Roper
    Writer
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 9th Mar 18, 9:38 AM
    • 1,350 Posts
    • 1,137 Thanks
    House Martin
    • #7
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:38 AM
    • #7
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:38 AM
    Suppliers cannot trust an occupiers end reading. I ve lost count of how many people have told me they re moving house and have already sent in an end reading a week or two before they move out, they pinch a couple of weeks in other words.
    The time to take the readings is just before they shut the front door for the last time, or on completion day if you re selling up, Some probably do that, I did, but from my experience its common to send readings in early.
    Estimated end reading is more likely to be fair especially to the new occupier who most likely will not grab the start readings the instance they take over the property.
    I think something called smart meters seem a better idea..
    Last edited by House Martin; 09-03-2018 at 4:43 PM.
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 9th Mar 18, 9:39 AM
    • 396 Posts
    • 473 Thanks
    maisie cat
    • #8
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:39 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:39 AM
    Thank you hengus, I've learned something new today
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 9th Mar 18, 9:57 AM
    • 27,332 Posts
    • 13,377 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #9
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:57 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Mar 18, 9:57 AM

    The new supplier doesn't seem to want to use this reading. The reading they are using is estimated and is less than it should be, so I have paid twice for some consumption.
    Originally posted by Hoof Hearted
    You won't pay twice!

    From Post#6

    The crucial point to remember is that no matter what “handover” reading is agreed, you won’t pay for the same energy twice. It just changes the start point with us, and the end point with your old supplier.
    It is also pertinent, and openly advocated in some posts on this forum, that occupants 'fudge' their closing meter readings to gain a financial advantage. i.e. give a higher reading when moving to a more expensive tariff, or a lower reading when moving to a cheaper tariff.
    • Hoof Hearted
    • By Hoof Hearted 9th Mar 18, 10:18 AM
    • 2,071 Posts
    • 1,969 Thanks
    Hoof Hearted
    Thank you Hengus for your helpful post. To make it clear to Cardew, I have paid twice. It's not a matter of the opening and closing readings matching and some consumption being charged at the wrong tariff. In my case the opening and closing readings overlap. e.g. closing reading 3370, opening reading 3168 (I don't have the exact readings in front of me).

    Is there any way of finding out what the agreed reading was on transfer, other than asking my barely competent supplier?
    Je suis sabot...
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 9th Mar 18, 12:58 PM
    • 5,730 Posts
    • 3,516 Thanks
    Hengus
    Thank you Hengus for your helpful post. To make it clear to Cardew, I have paid twice. It's not a matter of the opening and closing readings matching and some consumption being charged at the wrong tariff. In my case the opening and closing readings overlap. e.g. closing reading 3370, opening reading 3168 (I don't have the exact readings in front of me).

    Is there any way of finding out what the agreed reading was on transfer, other than asking my barely competent supplier?
    Originally posted by Hoof Hearted
    Simple. The Agreed/Verified Reading will be the opening meter reading on your current supplier's account. Alternatively, just e-mail them with the exam question and then forward that your old supplier.

    FWiW, if you switch to Octopus Energy they will actually send you an e-mail with the verified reading (this was a first for me). It would make sense for all suppliers to mirror Octopus in this regard.
    • meherenow
    • By meherenow 27th Mar 18, 8:07 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 56 Thanks
    meherenow
    Suppliers cannot trust an occupiers end reading. I ve lost count of how many people have told me they re moving house and have already sent in an end reading a week or two before they move out, they pinch a couple of weeks in other words.
    The time to take the readings is just before they shut the front door for the last time, or on completion day if you re selling up, Some probably do that, I did, but from my experience its common to send readings in early.
    Estimated end reading is more likely to be fair especially to the new occupier who most likely will not grab the start readings the instance they take over the property.
    I think something called smart meters seem a better idea..
    Originally posted by House Martin
    I took a photo of the meter with that days newspaper on my final day at my old property for the avoidance of doubt.

    Yet still Together Energy are billing me and haven't closed the account down over THREE MONTHS later!

    I await the verdict of the Ombudsman.
    • spiro
    • By spiro 28th Mar 18, 7:03 AM
    • 5,931 Posts
    • 2,842 Thanks
    spiro
    Phone your New Supplier and ask them for the CoS reading and reading type they received in the D0086. This should match the opening reading on your first bill.
    Phone you Old Supplier and ask them the same question, it should match what the New Supplier said. It is illegal for you to be charge for the same energy twice. Write a fomal letter of complaint to your Old Supplier stating that they have failed to bill you to the industry agreed reading.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
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