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 Jonnie Reclaim Novitiate

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    Default Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    A word of advice to all consumers out there ! - I changed electricity suppliers in March of this year. The new supplier decided to change my electricity meter as it was 16 yrs old. Within a month of the change, I noticed a dramatically reduced rate of consumption. I contacted my old supplier, and requested that the old meter be checked for accuracy. They were unable or unwilling to trace and inspect the old meter.

    I have calculated my consumption over a three year period with my old supplier, and compared it with over 6 months readings on my new (digital) meter. Present calculations show that the old meter was providing readings 37% in excess of the new meter.

    My home consumption situation has not altered - normal electrical appliances, heating by gas fire and combi ch boiler.

    The old supplier refuses to accept any fault on the part of their (old) meter and will not supply a calibration certificate for it. I have calculated a rebate due to me on the 'overread' for the past three years and again they refuse to refund any monies. They have offered a 13% discount on an outstanding bill which I refuse to pay.

    It occurs to me that there appear to be no processes in place to check the accuracy of installed meters, and suppliers conveniently assume that all meters are accurate. It would seen that under the present regulations,no checks have to be made on meters from their initial construction when they are calibrated, to the point when they are deemed to be too old, and are removed. It would seem that when they are removed, and the consumer then has an opportunity to compare the running of the old meter with a new one, the old meters are then disposed of so no checking is possible - why not retain them for a few months in case these issues arise ?

    Anybody any ideas about where to go next ? I am considering MCOL but would welcome advice on legislation or any other ideas.

    Cheers

    Jonnie.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    I would have thought, in basic form, that you would be able to make a claim against Powergen for overcharging you, but you would need some form of proof against them that you were not using the electricity which you were charged for.

    Where this proof would come from - I'm afraid I hold my hands up and say I do not know!

    First of all, why not contact OFGEM who are the regulatory body for gas and electric suppliers - www.ofgem.gov.uk

    They may be able to help you a bit more.


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    You can demand a check of the meter and its consumption if your supplier won't do this (as it seems) then you can ask someone at OFGEM or energywatch.org.uk to get on the case for you and demand this.

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  4. #4
    Basic Account Holder Jonnie Reclaim Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi Folks,

    Quick update - The saga continues.... now in the hands of Energywatch. Powergen have refused to provide any realistic rebate, and have waited for my meter readings to rise, which they did, over the festive period. They used underhand tactics to obtain my up to date readings - they asked for the latest reading to prepare a rebate,then wrote to me stating that the old meter was accurate and refusing rebate.
    There is still a variation of over 40% between it and the new meter.

    My advice - if you're with Powergen - change supplier, and try to get a new digital meter fitted. You may get a pleasant surprise.

    Electricity supplers are reluctant to carry out any checks on their (often old) meters after installation. CHECK YOUR METERS !!!!!!!!

    J.


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    All Token meters are now being removed in most areas, being replaced by key meters which are a lot better and a lot of these issues are being fixed. This however does not really help anyone with past disputes but it is a move in the right direction.


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    Basic Account Holder datx Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi Jonnie, may be able to shed a little light on this for you as ive .
    have a little experience with the industry.

    It sounds like your old meter was replaced due to its age (what the industry calls a "statutory change") this isnt decided by your supplier but the actual meter owner as they have the last say in what happens to the meter. in most cases your supplier will not know about this until the Meter Operator who replaces the meters informs them of the change (usually after this has been done)

    Under the existing licensing conditions all energy providers have to have processes in place to prove the accuracy of any recording device if this is requested by a customer. There is usually a charge for these tests (between 70 to 100 dependant on supplier) which you will have to pay, and this has been backed up by the industry regulators, as its you who doesn't think the meter is recording correctly not your supplier, but this will be refunded to you if the meter is found to be recording incorrectly and immediate action should be taken to resolve this for you. This test will involve either a known set load being fed through the meter to ensure the meter reads the right amount of current going through it, or another calibrated ("check") meter will be installed alongside your own and left for a set period of time. the amount of electricity recorded on the "check" meter should be the approximately same as your meter.

    There is a tolerance limit accepted by the industry and regulators which states that if a meter is running 3.5% slow to 2.5% fast it will be deemed to be recording correctly.

    Most suppliers (and all of the so called big 5, Powergen, Npower, British Gas, Southern Electric and Scottish and Southern) do operate standard "billing tolerance" tests. In these tests if your billing exceeds the pre set limits set by your supplier based on your previous billing your account will be forwarded to one of their specialist teams to look into and you will be contacted. im sure you will agree it would be logistically impossible for all suppliers to regularly check all meters in the UK regularly for accuracy (if memory serves i think Powergen alone supply over 9 million and Npower a further 8.3 million and thats just 2 of the biggest)

    However in your case this will not help as your meter has already been removed. the certificate of calibration you talked about would have been issued by ofgen and would have been issued at the date of manufacture of the meter (which as you state will be 16 years old so not of much use to you if they did send it) even then the certificate would be with the meter owners (known in the industry as the meter operators or MOPS) not your supply company so they would struggle to get hold of it, so this isnt just a case of "they cant be bothered".

    You are not correct with the assumption that all meters are disposed of after removal. The some meters removed due to age are re-conditioned and used again. so even if your meter was traced and tested now it may have been re calibrated and installed in another property, again not great for you or your previous supplier as this wouldn't prove anything either way. Also all meters have to be tested and pass the ofgen accuracy test before they are used so its not really right to suggest that digital meters are more accurate as these have just as much chance of recording incorrectly as any other. You can ask your supplier to change your meter at any time but if there is no evidence that the meter is recording incorrectly you can expect to pay a charge for this as again you are requesting it not the supplier, also as its up to the meter owners what kind of meter you get not your supplier and (this does vary region by region) you are not guaranteed to get a digital meter

    At the end of the day the dispute is, you say the meter was not running correctly and your previous supplier says it was, there is no way to check this now which anyone at energywatch should be able to tell you. As untasteful as this may seem the only way to resolve this without legal action on either side would be to negotiate the amount you are to pay to settle the debt. i can see what your saying that you have seen a big drop in consumption and your bills after the new meter was installed and you say the meter defiantly has to be incorrect but your old supplier could likewise say that there may have been something being used at the time that has since been removed and this could account for the drop in usage. i know that isn't the case but you see my point (without going back in time it will be impossible to prove either point satisfactorily) so like i say your best bet would be to put these points to your supplier and see what they say.

    sorry if this has turned out a bit long and hope it helps


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    Basic Account Holder Jonnie Reclaim Novitiate

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    Thumbs up Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi and thanks for the information.

    The dispute was subsequently dealt with by Energywatch who negotiated settlement with Powergen who refunded the overpaidicon amount and cancelled an outstanding bill. Escalation to the Ombudsmanicon apparently prompted their action, until that point they were quite obstinate.

    I would advise any other power consumers to involve energywatch and then escalate to Ombudsman if they want action !

    Good luck to all out there taking on these giant faceless corporations !!!!

    J.


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    Basic Account Holder patti12 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    I am involved in a dispute with Powergen involving a "new" meter installed in April 2005. Since then, my electricity usage has shot right up, to the point that Powergen's computer has disregarded the meter readings being collected by Siemens, and I have been given bills based on estimated readings instead. I contacted Powergen several times as I was worried about all this, and each time they sent another operative to read the meter. There seemed to be confusion about expecting to find 2 meters in the property (there was only one, just a replacement). I assumed each time that it was being sorted out and it's only now that I've checked again and they are still billing me on estimated readings which fall very short of actual readings. I pay set amounts by DDicon - based on previous usage with old meter. Finally I called again this month and demanded they try to resolve this. I was put through to the Consumption Dept and believed they would agree that my meter must be wrong - instead they have simply billed me an extra 1300!!! Help - what do I do now?


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    Basic Account Holder Dakota Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Quote Originally Posted by patti12 View Post
    Help - what do I do now?
    Contact Energywatch PDQ.


  10. #10
    Basic Account Holder Jonnie Reclaim Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi Patti,

    It may be an idea to describe the events to-date in a very factual way, in writing.Send one copy to Powergen, and the other to Energywatch.This should hopefully focus Powergen and encourage them to deal with the problem.Energywatch have a website and phone number, so give them a ring.Powergen don't always comply with requests made by Energywatch, so be prepared for this and don't be afraid to escalate to the Ombudsmanicon if needed. Hope this helps.

    J.


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder patti12 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Many thanks, will do.


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    hello, can I jump in to this thread about prepayment meters, I know they are more expensive but I have found out I am still paying for arrears I no longer have and may have over paid for several years, how do I go about getting reimbursed for the overpaymenticon, without being fobbed off??

    any advice appreciated urgently as they are taking meter away soon and there might be info on it I need to record?


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    Basic Account Holder David-S Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi Patti,

    I have been having exactly the same issue as you. I moved into a new house in 09/05 and am using Powergen for both Gas and Electricity. My meter readings were estimates. In December I called with my readings and they were 5000 units more than the estimates.

    I had someone come round 3 times and read the meter and I did individual readings ever day for a month but heard nothing more from Powergen. Then yesterday I received another bill still with an estimated reading. This time 7000 units lower than the actual reading.

    After calling last night I was put through to a "Consumption" expert who said everyting is right and I will be getting a bill for 989.47 not including VAT for the underpaid bills!!



    Not good!


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Found this thread while hunting around for Ofgem docs on statutory rules on changing the electric meter.

    My meter is about 16 years old and although I don't know that its inacurate I would like to get it changed over to a smart meter.

    Who owns the meters?

    I've heard that there is a statutory change of the meters but can't find a time on that. Some people say its 10 years.

    Does anyone know....? My supplier is Eon.


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    Basic Account Holder Clare_L Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    If you call Eon, they will be able to contact the distributer on your behalf who will be able to tell them the date. You can ask for a smart meter at any time but will be expected to pay approx 50 to do so.


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Ask for a key meter, there is no charge for this meter change.


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    Basic Account Holder johnscot53 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    I recently challenged my electrical supplier on the accuracy of their meter readings. I must admit they tried everything to make me feel the fool and when that did not work advised me of the cost of having someone come out and test my meter if I was wrong.

    I went to Energy Watch and they got their customer complaints section involved and they then sent EON to do a Meter Accuracy Test instead of installing a check meter.

    The upshot was my meter was 24.95% reading too high. I have received an apology letter and then a rebate of the overpaidicon amounts.

    I have been doing power measurements on RF Systems for over 30 years so therefore I have both the equipment and the ability to test my meters.

    One of the "tricks" the suppliers like to try is to have you list the equipment that you have in your home and then they will inform you based on the current ratings of the equipment that their readings are accurate.

    The current ratings of the equipment in your homes is not the current draw of the individual equipment but rather a nominal indication of the current rating or maximum draw of the equiipment.

    For example many 1KW heater only draw 800 watts of power and if you were using this for a test of your utilisation you would not be accurate.

    The best test is to have a fixed resistive load placed on your system for a set period of time to see if the meter is really accurate. In my case I used a 52.5ohm load capable of handling 2500 watts.

    This load would reach 1kw in 54.7 minutes. So if I had set the meter to where it just clicked over in a unit that did not have a tenths reading. It would click over again in 54.7 minutes

    Since finding the defective meter and receiving my refund I have checked an additional 10 meters in my area and have found, not the 2% as told to me by my supplier but that 100% of the meters have been from 10 - 27% reading high.

    I can not reccomend enough to anyone with a question about their readings being high to get them independently tested.

    The reason I say independent is that the replacement meter arrived from my supplier and it is also 10% high.

    So I begin the procedure once again with my supplier. I will update as the Saga continues.

    John


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Tucked away on the old Energy watch site it said that a third of meters tested turned out to be inaccurate!


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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    when a new employee starts to work in customer service for energy companies they are taught that 99.95% of meters claimed to be faulty are not it is bad judgement on the customers part (dont shoot the messanger)just a bit of factual trivia for you all from an ex british gas and powergen employee at an higher level than advisor.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inaccurate Electricity Meter - Powergen

    Hi,

    I work for a company that installs Electricity meters across the UK and as part of my role I carry out accuracy tests, I do not know how much the energy supplier charges for this, but I do this thoroughly and it takes me around an hour to do.

    The previous poster mentioned the test in a nutshell, what I do is take a fixed load heater with me, but first I need to test the voltage at the consumers equipment, bearing in mind that with the voltage fluctuations that occur across the grid the voltage that reaches your home can range from +10% or -6% so an accurate Voltage reading is essential.

    Once I have this reading then I turn on the fixed load and I record the current being drawn using my Clamp on Ammeter, from these two readings I can calculate the power (Watts) that is being instantaneously used. Then what I do next is record ten pulses/turn that the meter does and using a nifty formula I turn this into KW and this tells me what the meter was recording for the same fixed load.

    What I end up with is two measured loads, one from my Ammeter & Voltmeter and the other from the Meter, it is a simple comparison that allows you to find out what the accuracy is.

    I hope this explains what happens, personally I have carried out a few tests and so far the meter has been below 0.5% accurate and from here I spent an additional 30 mins going through the customers usage profile and this has made them appreciate what they are using at any time.



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