Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default No gas bill for 5 years

    Moved into a newbuild 5 years ago. Contacted gas and electric to set up accounts. Heard nothing from Scottish Gas so phoned again, they said they had no record of me. Gave details again and was told they did not supply me. Was told to wait for bill and could then transfer over to them. Some months later and still no bill from anyone, contacted Scottish Gas again and again they said they had no record of me and did not supply me. We are now 5 years down the line and have never received a bill until last week. Received a Scottish Gas letter with my address but my neighbours name on it. I gave it back to the postman. next morning I received a bill and letter from Scottish Gas addressed the The Occupier saying that I need to contact them to set up my account. A bill enclosed for 800 dating from March 09 to March 10. Also stated that bills had been paid until Mar09 and they assume I moved in then. Am now wondering if they have been billing my neighbour for my gas! Someone came to read the meter about 3 years ago and said the meter number was not recorded and he would look into it but again heard nothing. Don't know what to do, contact SG to set up account and pay bill or let them know I have not had a bill for 5 years and think I may have been shipperless? What would the situation be if thay have been billing a neighbour and not me but can't imagine how that would be as it would still be my address on the bill surely. Neighbour in question does not live in corresponding plot number of our house either.
    Can anyone give any insight into this.

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  2. #2
    Basic Account Holder pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Newbuild again!! I have written this post for gas supplies only but electric supplies are just the same.

    First thing to do is to ring National Grid. Have ready your correct postal address and your meter number. Ask them who supplies your property and ask for the MPAN number.

    It is fairly likely they will have a problem with the address! Less likely but not rare is incorrectly recorded meter numbers and this can be a very real problem in apartment blocks. If they have your correct address on their database ask them when they changed it from the plot address.

    (Do the same for electricity but make a separate call. You are looking for errrors before they correct them.)

    When a builder wants a gas supply for a property he first contacts a distributer - usually National Grid. The distributer owns all the pipework up to and including the meter. If it possible to supply gas to the property National grid fits the pipework and the meter. NG sit in offices so they use agents to fit the pipework etc. If the builder has the correct qualifications it is common for NG to use him as an agent to do the work. The builder gives the address of the property and the meter number. NG records this on their computer database and gives the meter an MPAN number. Then it is up to the builder to choose a supplier - the utility who reads the meter and bills and expects payment - in your case ?Scottish gas. The builder will supply the address and the meter number to the supplier who will contact NG to tell them they are supplying and then commence billing the builder.

    Fine so far but how can it all go wrong?

    Address.

    The address on NG's and the supplier's data base is that given by the builder and to start with it will be a 'plot number' address used by the builder to identify the property. At some time usually before the property is sold the Royal Mail get into the act and give the property a full postal address and this may be completely different from the builder's address.

    Meter number.

    Not surprisingly the builder who has fitted the meter somtimes makes errors when giving this information to NG.

    NG do not seem to make any checks (nor do the suppliers) so it is quite possible that everything goes wrong thereafter and the utilities do not appear to have the systems in place to pick up these problems.

    In your case you would have given Scottish Power your postal addrees. They only have the plot number address so they cant find you. They may have asked you for your meter number or MPAN number but it is unlikely you had these to hand so nothing happened . No change when you rang again later.

    The rest of your story can be explained by a meter numbering problem as well as the address problem. The obvious solution is for NG and the suppliers to make checks of the correct address and meter numbers on-site but they say that 'we cannot do this'. There may be problems all over the estate particularly if there are apartment blocks.

    It needs sorting -but that is their problem not yours. If you do ring them make sure they have the correct address meter and MPAN numbers and that these are correct on the bill i.e. is a bill for your property. No harm in setting up an account if all these are correct but do not let them apply incorrect information to the account. You may not have to pay for any gas that you have used since moving in !!

    Are the meter readings on the bill estimated? Are they consistent with your actual meter reading?


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Hi, thanks for replying.
    Yes the meter reading was estimated but was quite near the actual reading. Have been in touch with Scottish Gas and set up an account to pay the outstanding bill. My fear is that this bill was only for a year and I will receive another one for the other four years as I'd read that newbuilds aren't covered by the backbilling rule. I will contact NG to see if I can verify who supplies me. BG told me that they have supplied this meter since 2005 when the house was built.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    new builds aren't covered by the Back Billing Code? that can't be right? I'm sure I've read several cases of new builds and no one metioned this. Am in simillar situation btw, only with electricity. Non one registered my metre, just found out after 5 years as am about to move out!


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Newbuilds are covered by the billing code.

    Ringing NG is crucial as what you will have to pay depends on whether or not there is a MPAN number for your meter.

    No MPAN number will mean that you only pay from thr date you set up the account. This unlikely as SG and NG will likely have got their story straight by now. In this case NG makes the loss.

    If their is a MPAN number then the billing code will apply and SG will be the loser of all but the year before the bill.

    Check your bill


    a) Is it for the correct meter? The meter number must be on your bill. They appear not to have taken a meter reading fom the correct meter for five years. If this is the case you will not even have to pay the year that they have billed.

    b) Is the first meter reading on your bill also estimated? This is very likely as though you have had a meter reader that was before the start of this bill and there was a problem then ? correct meter. That will mean that the year's usage is a complete guess and should be challenged.


    c) SG or is it BG? You have used both.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Make sure that the meter serial number is registered to your property. More than likley this is not the case. In the complex where we were living an old lady got a demand for nealry 2000 gas usage. the only problem was that she never had a gas supply.
    We were getting horrendously high gas bills and the readings were way out although we were phoning them in every month. Turned out that they were reading the wrong gas meter. The meter serial numbers had been mixed up when the gas was installed.


  7. #7
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Hi sorry for confusion. It's Scottish Gas.
    I will call NG tomorrow. Meter number is definately mine, but think this must have just been changed as I know someone who worked for SG a couple of years ago and they checked for me and told me I was unregistered, so do you think they have just made the connection?
    I will ask if there is a MPAN number relating to this meter number and depending on the answer do I just contact SG and say I wish to challenge this bill? All meter readings are estimated, so how do I challenge the bill for the year.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    As you haven't had a bill for 5 years I guess you are unable to check the meter serial number on the bill. By law they are supposed to read the meter at least once every 2 years. When asking for the MPAN number related to the meter serial number also ask for the address of the MPAN.
    Keep us updated please.


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    UPDATE

    Called National Grid and they state they have no registered supplier at my address and cannot supply an MPAN number. She told me choose a supplier of my choice. I told her that SG had sent a letter to say they supplied me and she told me that is not correct.
    How do I progress now? Any ideas.
    Thanks for all the advice so far.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Go onto one of the comparison sites via MoneySavingExpert and pick a supplier that offers you the best deal. We used energyhelpline comparison site and got a 15 cashback after one month. We were with Atlantic when we had gas and I have to say that the CS` is superior to any other.
    BGAS are the cheapest if you want to put up with endless hassles every month. Even if SG state they supply you, ther is nothing stopping you switching suppliers anyway.


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Problem is the 800 bill, what do I do about that and the fact that they said they needed a payment that day and I paid 100. Do I tell them that I dispute the fact I owe them anything at all as I have been told I have no supplier?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Yes dispute it and ask them to prove that they are registered to your meter serial number and not MPAN. Also ask for the 100 immediate refund if they cannot verify that they are the supplier otherwsie it is fraud. Also ask the date on which the meter serial number was registered to them. Once you have this ask why National grid have no supplier registered from that date.


  13. #13
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Been onto SG again and they insist they supply me. Gave me a MPR number, so called NG again and they say it was private company that laid the gas pipes and they would never have that info. Only Xoserve would have it and the only people that have access to Xoserve is the gas suppliers and I should take it that SG are the supplier. Have set up a DDicon with SG but should I inform them that I have been in the house for 5 years as they seem to think it is one and that someone else lived here before that. I think the meter numbers for the seven properties in this street are crossed somehow?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    With you now. Ours was also an independent distributor and the housing association registered all our metering to Southern. Unfortunatley several meters were allocated to wrong addresses and this caused a great deal of confusion. Have you taken any readings recently and have they supplied you with any readings. Generally Southern read our meter twice a year.


  15. #15
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Meter was read for the first time in March 10.
    What was the outcome of your meter issues?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Ami, your account will definitely fall under the billing code, they can only bill you for one year prior to the first correct bill, you need to write to them and provide the correct details to enable the account to be corrected; do not pay anything until the bill has been reduced under the billing code as the supplier can off-set payments against what they would knock-off


  17. #17
    Basic Account Holder pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative pelham9 Informative

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Gas industry regulators.

    National Grid: UK Gas Distribution

    The first time you rang NG you were told that nobody supplied your address.

    The second time you rang you were told that the pipes were put in by XOserve who were therefore the distributor and incidentally would not answer your queries. These people laying pipes and independent distributors!?? Until 01/05/2005 thery were a department of NG! At that time amongst other functions they took over the databases of the other distribitors to make one central reference database. You can access this by ringing them on a O870 number - not exactly what you were told.

    Having read the above references do you not smell a damage limitation exercise going on. If you were not registered with NG then NG would lose the cost of the gas you have and will use until you do register correctly. If SG can recover for five+ years nobody loses. If SG can recover 1+ years (billing code) then NG only loses 4 years gas. Either way collusion between NG and SG means that something is recovered. You have NGs first reponse and I would be sure that this is correct - you were not registered at that time. NG would have used XoServe's database. So your second contact is fantasy and you are being conned. It is alleged that the suppliers are at loggerheads but these people will talk to the devil where money is concerned. Remember that when you first contacted SG they siad they had no record of you -when did they suddenly find you -I would suggest just before the first bill otherwise you would have been billed sooner.

    You ask what you should do about the 800 of which you have paid 100. The first thing to do is to cancel your direct debiticon mandate at your bank. Otherwise it is quite likely you will find they will take the whole 700 from your bank account in one go which could be embarrassing for you.

    If you agree that the 700 owing is correct then ask them for a reasonable instalment plan paid by standing order. Even if you feel you should not pay anything (as I do) you may be heartily sick of all this and take the line of least resistance and pay up.

    Otherwise keep investigating.

    You have never stated whether the start reading given on the bill they have sent you is an estimate. If so the whole bill is a total guestimate. They realise that they are supplying you and send a first bill at that time -on what do they base their figures?

    Should you inform them that you have been in the house 5 years? No what good will that do? The 4 years they have not billed you for is not recoverable so why provoke a possible bill for the whole five years. The fact that they have not billed you until now proves to me that you were not registered. It would be interesting to find out who they consider was living in your house during the four years that they think you were not.

    One of your problems is that your communication both with NG and SG has been by phone which can be denied. Why not get proper evidence by writing to them and refusing to talk on the phone?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Pelham
    Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs) have nothing at all to do with National Grid. To recognise an IGT site, your MPR (Meter Point Reference) will start with 74, 75, 76 or 77, possibly 78 too.

    These companies have no connection at all with National Grid, apart from NG have the contract to deal with any emergencies. If your property is an IGT site, quite often the additional cost levied by the IGT company is passed on to the consumer.

    National Grid will have no reference to these sites in their databases, such as Rainbow and XoServe, they are listed on sites called Envoy or GTC, which are only accessible by the supplier or the company who owns the distribution rights, such as Sterling Gas Ltd for example.

    Completely agree with you regarding writing in a letter of complaint and pointing out that the account falls under the billing code, and as such any charges older than one year will not be paid.

    Hope this makes it a bit clearer as they are awkward things to understand!


  19. #19
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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    Quote Originally Posted by confusedami View Post
    Meter was read for the first time in March 10.
    What was the outcome of your meter issues?
    Nottslad is totally correct and offers good advice. With us it turned out that our metering was associated with a gas MPAN for flat 76 whilst we were flat 2. The metering at flat 76 was associated with some other flat which did not have a gas supply. It took six months to get the situation resolved and that was because I demanded a personal special visit.


  20. #20
    Basic Account Holder confusedami Novitiate

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    Default Re: No gas bill for 5 years

    [quote=pelham9;2948013]Gas industry regulators.

    National Grid: UK Gas Distribution

    It would be interesting to find out who they consider was living in your house during the four years that they think you were not.

    I think they had the meters mixed up with one of my neighbours as the postman brought what looked like a SG bill to me with my address but with my neighbours name on it a few days before I got mine through. Figured out they thought the neighbours had paid until last year or this was maybe a final bill for them and a new one for me.

    Really appreciate all the advice but it is very confusing. When I called NG the second time they still didn't have any record of me and I'm sure if I called them now they still wouldn't have. Think it must genuinely be different systems. Think the reason this has happened now is that a meter reader read the meter in March of this year and I guess he must have made the enquiry or connection between the meters.

    I will leave the DDicon with Scottish Gas set up just now because I think that they must be the supplier now. The bill I have received is for the last year and so if id does fall under backbilling code then I would have to pay that anyway.

    Will write a letter of complaint as well and give the details in the hope that I can begin to sort this mess out. I hope it does fall under the backbilling code cos don't know what I'll do if it doesn't but would still rather like to know that it is being sorted in the end. OH disagrees with me and thinks we should pay the bill and tell them nothing else and wait to see if anything else comes of the other four years in the future and then try to instigate the backbilling code if we have to.

    So confused.



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