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    • DiyWarrior
    • By DiyWarrior 9th Jul 18, 5:11 PM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    EDF: Problems Began After Smart Meter Installed
    • #1
    • 9th Jul 18, 5:11 PM
    EDF: Problems Began After Smart Meter Installed 9th Jul 18 at 5:11 PM
    I had previously been a customer of EDF with dual fuel deal for around three years. Back in 2013 I had brought an old property that required extensive renovations. As the property had been derelict and in a very poor state, exactly what I was looking for, I was able to completely renovate the property to include all the latest equipment from new efficient window, LED bulbs throughout, heat recovery, central heating zoning, and underfloor insulation as well as in the ceiling. The general idea was for the property to be very fuel efficient. It was during the renovation process that I had the meter removed and once all the work was completed the meter was reinstalled, by the then utility provider British Gas. To note this replacement meter was not a new, but one that had been used but this data was recorded at the time by British Gas and I took a photo of this on my mobile. For some reason, when the property was derelict for around 18 years, they had installed a new meter, that was obviously never used, as it recorded 00000 on the dial.

    We moved in and switched to a duel fuel deal with EDF then for two and a half years generally had no issues with the utilities, although I found some of the bills higher than what I would initially anticipated, considering I was trying to be energy efficient. when we received a bill we paid it, but generally I was paying less than my previous property that had much higher ceilings although, in this property as we were renovating I was only heating the kitchen and loft and not the whole house, during the renovation period.

    For nearly three years, we generally had no issues; all our problems started when we asked for one of these smart meters to be installed so we could see what we were using. I had to ask three times for a smart meter and I found EDF dragged their feet on this, first they simply ignored the request, second time they claimed I could not get a smart meter in my area, as they had not been rolled out here, despite my brother’s property down the road getting one. It was not until I had complained about this that they finally came around to supplying a smart meter. They had to change both the gas & electric meters.

    On my next bill, after the smart meters, I noticed that there was a discrepancy of around £4k, naturally I got straight onto EDF about this, and it turned out this was all on the gas as I tried to get to the bottom of this sum, this went on for several weeks, just when I thought I had resolved this, EDF would send me another bill with this £4k debt included. They had claimed that this discrepancy arouse because I had read the meter wrongly, despite the fact that they had been also reading my meter during this period. I doubted that two of us could have been both reading the meter incorrectly, on top of always providing a photo of the readings. After about two months of this, back and forward, EDF were now trying to claim that I had used this amount of gas and maybe I did not realize how much I was actually using. They were also offering me credit terms to clear my “alleged” £4k debt and even sent me information about managing your debt, in the post.

    First off to be using that amount of gas. On top of what I had already being paying was ridiculous, since I had been in the property this would have worked out at around £300 per month on just gas alone including the summer months when I turn off the heating for a good five months. EDF were claiming it must have been the underfloor heating in the kitchen and how I did not realise how much it was costing, which was nonsense.

    As much as I tried to resolve this with EDF, as soon as I started to get anywhere I was then be changed to a different person or department and have to start explaining my situation all over again, getting nowhere fast with EDF’s Customer Services, this went on for four months. Then an Engineer turned up at my property when my wife was at home and claimed that they had been instructed to turn off the gas and electric because of my outstanding bill. But if my wife was prepared to make a payment towards this debt straight away, then they would leave the services connected. She called me distressed and I refused to pay, my position was for them to cut if off if needs be, considering I had always paid my bills regularly. When they left and the utilities were still connected.

    Following this incident, where effectively they were trying to harass and bully me into paying for a debt I was 110% positive I did not owe, noting all this started after I had had a new smart meter installed. I also noticed that EDF kept sending me spreadsheets with this alleged amount, by this stage I had now been dealing with seven different Customer Service agents, so I went to the Ombudsman and asked EDF to send me the exact copies of the bills they were working from, just in case there was something I had missed. Because, just to get to this stage it was now nine months of being chased for this alleged outstanding £4k. To get some of this information I had to put in FOI request, to see what information they were basing this debt on.

    Then with the original bills I noticed that the details of the meter were different, on each meter has a unique number, EDF I noticed the discrepancy had occurred between the two different meter reading. Basically, the error had occurred with the replacement of the original meter in the property when I bought the house, that was never used and the replacement, that was not new and had been used, but British Gas had recorded this. On top of this, I had a photo of it on the day it was installed. However, this is when I was with British Gas, not with EDF, so I do not understand why EDF was even trying to chase me for a debt that – if had been correct was not theirs. When I pointed this out to EDF and had all the supporting documentation and photos on my phone. Then EDF again went silent, I said they were incompetent, it was nearly three weeks before I heard back from them, when they were now claiming that it was actually them who had pointed this discrepancy out to me, they also claimed that the error was caused by British Gas who had provided them with the wrong information. Notwithstanding the fact they when EDF took over my service I sent them a photo of the meter readings and number on the day. They claimed that British Gas sent them details stating they had installed a new meter – when they re-installed a used meter – British Gas provided me information to counter this.

    However, their explanation does not hold water because there are various inconsistencies in their account, first the debt, if it had existed, was not theirs to claim– if it had been correct second EDF why did EDF not record the opening meter reading, when they took over the account? Obviously, they must had known the reading was not correct because they kept sending me Excel spreadsheet with what “they claimed” I had used and what I had paid. If I had not kept the details of all the meter readings and supported this with photos it may well have weakened my case. What was most concerning was their tactics designed to wear someone down into paying a debt they were not entitled too, it would have been bad enough had it actually been with EDF but remember if I had been debt had been outstanding then it would have been with British Gas not EDF.

    I was a bit disappointed with the ombudsman weak response, basically an apology letter and only £30 compensation after nearly ten months, yet they stood to make £4k. Even their pathetic apology was not worth the paper it was written on, they claimed that because they could not get access to the gas meter, they were forced to rely on British Gas data, that was incorrect, considering that the gas meter has always been accessible at the front of the property and remains so. This still doesn’t answer the question about what they did with the readings I sent them or why in the two years of billing me they only picked this up when they replaced the meter. Or what information they were using when they were previously billing me. Plus, none of the photos I had supplied were sent back to me when I put in FOI request and ignored when I was trying to resolve this issue.

    I am now with a new service provider and in the summer months I am currently paying less than £40 each month (Duel fuel) and that is due to the electric being on and watching much of the World Cup, less than half of what I was paying in previously with EDF, without the £4k debt. But even compared to what I was paying previously, I was still being overcharged by EDF. I literally spent thousands of pounds to be energy efficient, but yet I was still paying more than my brother’s similar size property that is not energy efficient. I now honestly believe that EDF were producing their bills on just guess work alone, on what they thought they could get away with.

    What annoys me most is basically this amounts to a fraud, and if I had tried to obtain £4k from EDF illegally I would naturally expect some jail time, but because a large company does this, pleading ignorance - does not make this acceptable. What makes this scary is the fact that whilst I am used to fighting such battles, I had to fight the Council over Council Tax as they wanted to charge me Council Tax as soon as I became the owner of property, prior to being renovated, despite it being uninhabitable and derelict for 18 years, and you can only charge Council Tax for habitable properties. However, I do wonder what a pensioner or someone of a weaker disposition would have done with the threat of having all your utilities turned off unless you make a payment straight away. And I just wonder how many times EDF have used this tactic already?

    EDF, I would not touch them with a barge pole.
Page 1
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 9th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    • 3,720 Posts
    • 2,379 Thanks
    • #2
    • 9th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    Welcome to the forum but could you prune this down - I got tired reading this. Too many sidelines - Council Tax etc is irrelevant, as is your brother living down the road.

    To simplify is this mysterious £4k associated with the gas smart meter ?

    Can you give us readings and dates please
    Never pay on an estimated bill
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