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Had a friend call round practically in hysterics over her electric bill (she's in an all electric flat).

 

On BG advice in Dec last year she changed from prepayment meter to direct debit as it would be cheaper. Being a bit dizzy, she hadn't realised she'd not had a bill. They finally sent one at the end of last month and it worked out double what she was paying before, so she queried the amount, but hasn't heard any more.

 

Yesterday she got a disconnection notice unless she paid the full outstanding balance immediately. She was in no condition to make a phone call so I did it for her. I passed the phone over so she could confirm security details etc for them to talk to me, but the ***** on the other end of the line was about as much help as a chocolate teapot. He wasn't interested in disputes over the amount or the fact that they had caused the problem by not sending any bills, nor the fact that she has paid exactly what they asked for when they set up the account. Nor was he interested in the fact that she has 2 small children and would have no heating or hot water.

 

Upshot was that if she didn't pay £650 immediately, she would be disconnected by the weekend. I managed to get her an emergency appointment today at Citizen's Advice and they tried phoning. The adviser said there would be a letter in the post to them immediately and asked if they would hold any further action until they received it. They refused.

 

CAB are convinced that BG have no right to ask for the payment now even if there wasn't a dispute over the amount and the lack of bills, and they reassured my friend as much as they could, but she is still terrified (especially as it suddenly seems to have got very cold) that she'll have no electricity and even if it all does get sorted out eventually, it's bound to take time to get it reconnected. This is completely outside my experience, so if anyone can offer any more reassurance (preferably) or at least confirm that CAB have got it right, I would be very grateful. The phone calls every half an hour are starting to get to me!

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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When she was on prepayment did she have a british gas card? It's possible that her prepayment payments were not going to them hence the large bill. In which case she needs to tell them what provider the card she was paying was for and they should be able to claim it back. I had scottish power adamant I owed them money and I'm on prepayment. As scottish power had neglected to send me a card I was using a powegen card to top the meter up and so all their money was with powergen

 

They are only allowed to bill for charges from the past year if they have not been billing and the meter has not been read.

 

Has she checked the meter readings are accurate and not based on estimates as estimated bills can be wrong.

 

Finally as you state she is a single fuel customer it assumable her heating is also electric. Is her meter an economy 7 meter (with a daytime rate and a night time rate) or a standard meter with just the one rate? If the latter she is on the wrong tariff which really BG should have advised her of and corrected

 

I'd avoid talking to them on phone and deal only in writing from now on. If BG don't play ball contact energywatch with a breakdown of the facts of the case and they will contact BG on her behalf (and normally give them a kick up the bum)

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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Thanks for the suggestions, davethorp. At least I've got something to ask her next time she phones.

I've no idea who she was paying with the card. She might not know either as I doubt she still has it. The meter was read, but I don't know if she's got economy 7. The heating is electric storage heaters.

I have absolutely no intention of phoning again - a complete waste of time - and hopefully CAB will sort everything out. Them I will phone. They were really helpful, especially with giving us an appointment so quickly.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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If your friend is on an economy 7 meter they might have got the readings mixed up - either now or on taking over the account

 

Also do you know how long a period this is for?

 

Has your friend arranged monthly direct debits and have they been taken?

 

Do you even know whether this is for the current electricity or from when she was on pre-payments? Suppliers don't always change rates so they will let you build up arrrears even on prepay

If for the current supply, was it an actual reading or an estimate? (I realise that you don;t know because your friend has not received a bill)

 

So your friend obviously has no idea of what the bill is for, when it is from or whether it is correct, and because it's electricity they hold her to ransom with the threat of disconnection.

 

Trouble is, when you phone & give the account number you will probably get connected to collections who will only ask how you will pay the bill, rather than discuss what the bill is for and whether it is correct.

 

You might need to contact energywatch - they are usually pretty good at putting you through to someone who can resolve disputes and stop anything nasty happening.

 

 

Keep us posted and come here for support

 

These *******s are really blackmailing your friend with the threat of disconnection, so I would suggest energywatch today and post here after talking to them

 

Grumpy

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As she uses electric storage heaters she needs to check her meter is economy 7. Depending on the meter there should be a settings display button that lets her cycle through the readings. There needs to be a rate 1 and a rate 2 reading or similar. Older meters probably would have two different displays.

 

I'd check what card she was using while on prepayment. A british gas card is orange (least they used to be) if that helps. If she was using another suppliers card she'll need to contact british gas to inform them of this and they should be able to claw back the money from the other supplier.

 

If she is really struggling then energywatch is the next port of call. If BG start proceedings to get a warrant to disconnect it may be worth trying to go back to prepayment. If any of the debt is hers the meter can be set up to deduct a set amount each week from the credit towards the debt

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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Just wrote a great long message answering all questions and it disappeared on me!

 

Oh well.

1. Friend is pretty sure she was paying BG with the prepayment meter.

2. When she got the bill and phoned to query, she gave an actual reading from the meter which was remarkably similar (only about £10 difference) to the bill. She is going to get a friendly neighbour to check it for her though, just in case she read the wrong dial. Said neighbour is also going to check if she's on Economy 7 - neither of us have a clue what to look for.

3. She knows the direct debit payments were taken for at least the first couple of months as she remembers seeing them on her bank statement. She's going to check the rest. Knowing my friend, it will take her a week to find the statements.

4. The one and only bill she has received is for Dec 06 - Aug 07, so we presume it is for the credit account rather than the prepayment meter.

 

She's spoken to the CAB advisor this morning, and the letter went to BG yesterday. The CAB advisor is going to ring them again on Friday when they should have had the letter.

 

Do they have to have a warrant to disconnect, and if so would she get some warning?

 

Many thanks to everyone from both of us.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Yes, she should get a "Human Rights Notification" which will advise her of court action. if it gets that far, she really must attend court and present evidence that the account is in dispute, otherwiose loads more charges will be added.

 

I really do suggest your friend contacts energywatch as they will get on BG's back about this.

 

Also, if they did "disconnect", what they would actually do is put in another pre-pay meter, so she would not be without electricity.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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At this moment, my friend would be very grateful if they just put in another prepayment meter!

She's going to wait to hear what CAB say tomorrow, then contact Energywatch if necessary.

Thanks again for all help and advice.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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So the £650 is for Dec to Aug after taking off monthly payments

 

Would expect this to be a statement. They don't usually leave this long between ordinary post-pay bills - they estimate.

 

Perhaps they aren't applying payments. They should be listed

 

Try to find out about her direct debits & check the bill

 

Phone Energywatch now

 

Grumpy

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At this moment, my friend would be very grateful if they just put in another prepayment meter!

She's going to wait to hear what CAB say tomorrow, then contact Energywatch if necessary.

Thanks again for all help and advice.

 

She could ask that they put one in and load the debt otno the meter until she gets to the bottom of it, but it would mean she's back where she started.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Quick update.

BG have confirmed to CAB that all action on the account is on hold whilst they investigate

1. The lack of any bills between December and August

2. What's happened to her DD payments which have not been credited to the account

3. Why she's not on Economy 7

4. Why her consumption has doubled

Friend seems happy that CAB are now on the case and phone calls have reduced to only one a day.

Many thanks for everyone's help, and will post outcome eventually.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 2 months later...

After many letters and calls, it looks as if things are finally sorted. I'm not sure of all the details, but the upshot is that friends bill was reduced by nearly half, all her DD payments have now been applied to the account and she was actually slightly in credit.

BG have apologised for any inconvenience.

Big deal.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I would ask for a good will gesture of say, £50, to be added to her account to make up for the inconvenience.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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My suggestion also, but friend is just happy it's all sorted.

I've made her promise to check that DDs are paid and that she gets bills this time though.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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My wife used to work in service centre for BG, when it was open down here. And every Wednesday afternoon, everybody would get calls from the public about their bills, because the accounts department used to turn their phones off, to catch up with the black log of work that they had.

 

Your friend should ask for compensation and she should get it, they used to compensate for missed service calls and still do.

 

But glad it's sorted.

If what we say helps you, then please tip the scales.:cool:

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