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 HappyMonday Novitiate

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    Default Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Hi...

    Having just had a prepay electricity meter installed at my property, I'm looking for some further information on the way they operate.
    In my case, the consumption appears to fluctuate fairly drastically with no apparent cause (ie extra equipment being operated etc). If I'm to believe my meter my bill for a year will, at the present rate, be in excess of 1000, which is ridiculous in view of the nature of electricity usage at this property.
    To further complicate matters, it appears that this increase in consumption goes hand in hand with an investigation into the whereabouts of former tenants, who have left substantial bills outstanding.
    I'm awaiting a response from Powergen regarding this problem, but I'm interested to know if the tariff on a prepay meter can be altered without manual intervention, or if I should be looking closer to home for faulty equipment etc?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Oh dear - a prepay meter is a complex device, and it's programming owes more than just charging for the electricity that flows through it. For example, it can be programmed to deduct cash amounts from each power card inserted, that goes into a seperate fund - say for reducing a previous balance owed. The remainder is then decremented from the power actually consumed, so it is not possible to correlate the money paid in with the consumption used.

    However, to check your consuption, all you need do is take a reading every seven days, and jot down all the digits, including those after the decimal point, and write them on a calendar. (I always do mine on Sundays, gas too!). The second week, do the same, then take the first figure from the second to get the consumption that week, note this on the calendar also. You will have been given the cost of the tariff you are on (or find it on the PG website). You can then work out the cost of all electricity used that week, and how much you should have paid. Do this every week, and if you are putting in more money than the consumption shows, you ask for the meter to be checked. Keep your figures safe (I keep mine online with a Google Spreadsheet).

    With the recent clock change, costs can increase dramatically because of the loss of light - but after this major changes in consumption can be easily spotted, and if you didn't have 7 baths that week, there is a possibility someone is stealing your power.

    Start by keeping the figures I mentioned, as a barganing exercise, it's well worth the 2-3 minutes it takes to keep you money where it belongs. In YOUR pocket!


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder Whisperwolf Novitiate Whisperwolf's Avatar

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyMonday
    Hi...

    Having just had a prepay electricity meter installed at my property, I'm looking for some further information on the way they operate.
    In my case, the consumption appears to fluctuate fairly drastically with no apparent cause (ie extra equipment being operated etc). If I'm to believe my meter my bill for a year will, at the present rate, be in excess of 1000, which is ridiculous in view of the nature of electricity usage at this property.
    To further complicate matters, it appears that this increase in consumption goes hand in hand with an investigation into the whereabouts of former tenants, who have left substantial bills outstanding.
    I'm awaiting a response from Powergen regarding this problem, but I'm interested to know if the tariff on a prepay meter can be altered without manual intervention, or if I should be looking closer to home for faulty equipment etc?
    Each time you "top up" your prepayment card with credit, the server that issues the credit can store extra information on your card, including the instruction to change the charge per unit. However, the information about current charge per unit can be obtained by cycling through the options using the two buttons on the meter. I think it would be worth while making a note of these values, and if Powergen change them dramatically you can query the reason for the change with them. On occasion I've had a situation where they raise the unit cost to defer a debt on the property, and they don't always notify the current billpayer; this could well be what's happened here.

    If in doubt, get a new owners card from them which will reset the meter.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    The new owners card will only work if it is a powercard meter, depending what area you are in it will probably be a key meter that has been fitted.

    As previously advised Powergen can change the tarrif, standing charge and debt at any time that is collected through the meter. They do not need to attend your property to do this as messages are passed on when you top up.

    If their is as you say a dispute on debt from previous tennant etc then they cannot take this debt or set this debt on the meter untill dispute is resolved, however check as they might do just that.

    Let us know if key or powercard and we will give you more info.


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder HappyMonday Novitiate

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Thanks for your responses, sound advice.
    The fact that Powergen are both able and known to alter tarriffs etc electronically doesn't surprise me one bit, and is about as much confirmation as I need of what I already suspected.
    We use a stick/key style meter, charged at Paypoint outlets, in answer to Ozzywolf's question.
    Its likely then that we're being penalised for the several thousand pounds outstanding in the name of former tenants, until such time as an ongoing investigation into the movements of said tenants is concluded and proper liability apportioned.
    Having just had a dispute with my water company regarding their similarly arbitrary behaviour, I'd like to know if anyone has had experience arguing these points with Pgen or similar.
    I suspect the justification will be the old "You agreed to us being able to do that by signing up with us and havig a meter installed" verbal/contractual tosh.


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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Okies so its a key meter, kinda new in most areas. Put your key in the meter then press the blue button. Here near the bottom of all your settings you will see somthnig like WKFXCH This meens weekly fixed charge. Check how much debt it is collecting.
    Or just phone them and ask them. I doubt anyone would actually lie and say it is not collecting a debt when it is, if you ask them directly. Only probs you may get is getting through to an advisor that doesnt know how to check.
    Displays for a one rate meter are:
    • Available credit
    • Test display
    • Time Date
    • Total credit accepted
    • Total weekly fixed charge
    • Day unit reading
    • Day time pence per unit
    • Value of emergency credit
    • Total debt outstanding
    • Weekly debt repayment amount
    Displays for a two rate meter are:
    • Available credit
    • Test display
    • TimeDate
    • Total credit accepted
    • Total weekly fixed charge
    • Day unit reading
    • Day time pence per unit
    • Night unit reading
    • Night time pence per unit
    • Value of emergency credit
    • Total debt outstanding
    • Weekly debt repayment amount


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    Basic Account Holder james141 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Good luck, that would be very very cheeky of them to claim a debt back from you for previous tennants!!


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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Yeah damm right it would.


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder HappyMonday Novitiate

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Thanks for that, a valuable chunk of information.
    I've pulled all the figures off, calculated the matter and checked all the tariffs etc online, and it would appear that theres nothing out of the ordinary.
    My house must just be bloody expensive to run and, as stated earlier in the thread, the loss of light etc must've been the contributing factor.
    Just goes to show, I'd probably be bankrupt if it weren't for these energy saving lightbulbs...
    Thanks a lot though, I'll remember the advice in future.


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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    I'm not sure if this was mentioned earlier - your consumption should be 'typical' ask a neighbour what they consume a month, and see how you compare. It won;t be for the first time that some flat dweller has discovered some 'creative rewiring' has resulted in another owner not getting any bills! (Espoecially for communal meters! - but that doesn't appear to be an issue in your case!)


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder HappyMonday Novitiate

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    I thought this one was over with, but it would appear its not.
    Having recently ascertained that our households current consumption of elecricity is 3 and a half times the typical amount in our area, and having ruled out our heating and appliances as the cause of this, we've contacted Powergen and asked them what they propose to do about this.
    The first round of calls produced a new 'recalibrated' payment stick, and the promise of quite a large refund.
    Said stick turned up, made absolutely no difference to our consumption, and of course no refund arrived either.
    We've now been told that our consumption 'must be correct', and that theres nothing further they can do for us.
    So here comes the first nasty letter...


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Not just that but get Energywatch on your side too. They can force Powergen to investigate this at the highest authority possible for you.


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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    Energywatch are a waste of space - as I had to go it aslone without their 'help', all they did was 'watch' whilst I took the company to Court. The consumption may well be correct, but it doesn't mean YOU used it. It has bene known for other residents or flats to have access to your supply. If you go away for a day or so, turn off the power at the meter, and see if anyone complains!


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    Basic Account Holder oopa Novitiate

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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    I am a husband with 3 kids.
    We missed one month payment back in november when i lost my job as a bricky and we were forced into having prepay meters installed by swalec, we were told that it would work out cheaper for us monthly but AFTER they were installed we were told that a mistake had been made and infact the amount we were putting into the meters each month was correct...

    via direct debiticon....

    75 per month for gas
    75 per month for electricity

    now via prepay meters we are putting in over 200 per month! and this is with me still out of work and us living on my wifes wages.

    I would like to know that when i move at the end of the month into our new house (rented, lost family home) can swalec force us to have prepay meters installed or can we refuse?


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    Default Re: Powergen + Prepay Electricity Meters

    You have responses on your own thread oopa.



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