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Scottish Power bills going crazy


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I live in a one bedroom flat using electricity only, when i moved in it had a pre-pay meter. On the pre-pay meter i got to know how much electicity all the appliances used and so became very careful with consumption. Without storage heaters turned on i got it down to about £17 a month. I realised the cheapest available tariff was by Direct Debit payment so got the meter changed and i changed supplier to Scottish Power. The bills have steadily increased and have now climbed all the way up to £135 a month and i dont understand how. I dont use any more power than i did before and i cant afford £135 a month as i'm a student. I've insulated the flat as much as possible and its got double glazing so just dont get how my bill can be so much. Scottish Power explain it by saying their prices have gone up but thats just silly.

Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks.

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£135.00 per month is an extortionate amount of money. No way is this correct for a one bedroom flat, even if you are the most inefficient user of electric in the world (and you're not, from what you're saying!).

Utility companies often like to charge an unrealistically high amount of money on their Direct debit scheme so your account goes into credit. They then earn money on your account. This is why I refuse to pay by Direct Debit. The prices may often be lower in theory through this payment method, but in the real world they often aren't because of this reason. Its a con in my book, additionally you don't have control over your account.

However, I doubt this is the whole problem in your case. Have you checked your bills thoroughly since the meter has been changed? particular, are your bills estimated? If so, they may well have been over-estimated. And are they billing you based on the correct meter details? Surprisingly often when a meter has been changed, this is not the case. They may still be showing the old meter details on the bill, or have not processed the meter change correctly on their records. Did you get a bill showing the readings on which the prepayment meter was removed and also the initial readings on the new meter? If not, the bills are probably not worth the paper they are printed on!

One final thing, was your prepayment meter a cardmeter or a keymeter? If it was a cardmeter, the prices may have been set lower than they should have been. This is because someone had to physically come out to your property and reset the prices on the meter when they went up. This often doesn't happen (partly due to the utility companies' inefficiency, partly because some people are very rarely at home when they come). Thus you would have been paying lower prices than than what the companies advertise. Keymeters do not have this problem, the prices get changed remotely

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Additionally, I would refuse to pay this amount. It is wrong!

If your utility company refuse to change your Direct debit amount, then refuse to pay by Direct Debit! You could pay instead by monthly Standing Order - so you can pay a realistic amount. Okay, you don't get the Direct Debit discount on each unit used if you pay this way, but you are paying much more than you should be anyway.

 

What I do is read my electric (and gas) meter each week. I then calculate what the cost of the electric I have used over the past week is (easy to do if you know what prices your electric company charge per unit) and then you know how much you are really using. I pay the amount I have used each week through a payment card at a Paypoint outlet. Works for me - I don't pay more than I should be, I have control over the situation and I don't get a big bill each quarter.

 

One other thought - have your electric company got the day and night readings mixed up on your meter? This happens quite often, especially when a meter has been changed. I assume you have got an Economy 7 meter if you have electric heating. If you haven't, you should have one. An Economy 7 meter is one where they charge different prices used for seven hours during the night (normally between 12.00pm - 7.00pm, 12.30pm - 7.30pm or 1.00pm till 8.00pm) and this would be apparent on your bills. The timeswitch on most Economy 7 meters (that is, the mechanism by which the meter changes over to the cheaper rate) does not alter during British Summer Time so from April - October, the times when you get charged cheap rate are an hour earlier than in winter.

I would check your meter reading once. Then go back to it two hours later and check it again. You will then know which reading is the cheaper rate, and which is the normal rate. They are often labelled on the meter anyway, but this will make sure. Then check your electric statements, to see if the supplier isbilling it the right way round.

 

One other thing that often goes wrong on Economy 7 meter is the timeswitch. Check what the time is on your meter - is this correct? Bear in mind it should be a hour slow at this time of year on most meters - for the reason that they don't get adjusted for British Summer Time. With some types of Economy 7 meter, this is so often wrong - and not by a small amount!

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Hi Matt and thanks for your reply. When i moved in there was a card meter which i got changed, i then switched companies to Scottish Power. I've checked the bills and its the same meter serial number from the start of my dealings with SP so as far as they are concerned i've never had a prepayment (card) meter. Would the new meter have a reading of zero when it was installed, cos i got it done for free by Powergen and moved to SP straight after.

I'm now off DD and when i pay them it will be for how much i actually use not their estimated shambles of a bill (i wondered what happened to Mystic Meg now i know where she ended up lol)

I'm checking my meter regularly and keeping track of the numbers, i have a Rate1 and Rate4: Rate1 seems to be daytime.

I am on Economy7, it switches over at 12:30 to the cheaper rate until 07:30, the time seems correct, the meter is currently one hour behind.

I Think i've been getting estimated bills for a while, and the meter is showing the total as 29605 (Day 05619 Night 23985) i've been with SP for two and a half years, could this be the grand total with SP?

Much abliged for your help. Rob.

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Yeah, looks like the higher reading is the nightime one (which would time up with having electric storage heaters).

Do the readings on the meter match up with what is on the bill (roughly)? Also, do you have a card placed behind the meter. This card would give information about the date the meter was changed, together with the final readings on the old meter and the starting readings on the new meter. Did you get a bill showing this meter change from your old supplier, if not Scottish Power?. More often than not, a card does get left - but not always! Most meters are fitted on very low readings (normally 00001 rather than 00000) but you may have got a reconditioned meter that was previously used somewhere else.

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I found a card behind my meter from when it was installed with the old meter readings and the installed meter readings. I've got an L number and an N number, these are both 00000. I moved to SP shortly after so it seems likely that the current T29599 reading is all the power i've used whilst being with SP, have i got that right?

I've a feeling that i need to tot up everything i've ever paid to SP and work that out with the meter readings to see where i'm at?

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I think rate 4 is for commercial metering. Rate 1 &2 are for domestic meters. We live in a 1 bedroom flat and our consumption is about £35 per month for electric. Our gas was with SP and we foudn that they grossly overestimated our consumption. We have a reund back off them for nealry £90 for a 7 month period. We have changed supplier since.

In your case I think the readings are being allocated incorrectly. Althouh new "metering" installed, more thsan likely it will have some readings on it. the L & N numbers denotes the registers each of which has a different reading.

Phone up SP with your readings and query whether the readings are being allocated correctly. Also give them the readings when the metering was changed over even though theyw ere not party to the change over.

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There are two things to watch for - reading transposition - Peak and Off-Peak become transposed due to an errant meter reader, the costs then go through the roof. Also in the last year costs of ALL consumption whether card or credit meters have gone through the roof - so previous experience isn't the useful guide it once was.

 

A good trick is if you are going away for a long weekend, turn off your electric at the fuse box. When you come back, if a fellow flat dwellers complains of a power cut, he may well be erroneously using YOUR power too...!

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I meant to add that the reason why we were paying so much in gas was becasue the meter reader was allocating the wrong reading to our meter. He was taking the reading from a neighbour in a another block in the same complex and putting it onto our meter. We are number 2 and he was allocating number 76's meter to ours?????????? Always check the meter serial number and the reading with the current reading.

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Thankyou everyone for all your help and advice, i'm keeping a close eye on my meter and will be able to keep track of how much the bill should be in future. :) :) :)

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Rob

 

I to am in the same situation and even though I am now switched to scottish gas i am facing almost a five hundred bill for the quarter.

 

the previous bill was around 650 and it paid this off fully initially thinkin it was because i had been goin by their estimates and when i gave them the correct reading over the phone thought my consumption was much more....

 

but now this bill is also estimated by them and is actually lower than the meter says! scottish gas want to charge me £70 to come out and do a check on the meter as i believe something is defo wrong!! (one bedroom..single person...out a lot!) .....i am now taking weekly checks of electric and my landlords electrician will be visititing tomorrow....i wont be keepin this lease on past xmas now as despite living here two years being a full time student i cannot afford this crazy bill....

 

i am away now to check all the suggestions from posters ...eat the contents of my freezer turn the electricity off for a few days and go down south.....lets see if anyone has no power in the close:mad:

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Hi Rob, it sounds to me that what may have happened is that when you moved in and the token meter was on-site, it hadn't been re-calibrated (the price per unit settings changed with price fluctuations).

 

This meant you may have been paying your old supplier lower rates on your token meter, so when the meter was changed and you changed supplier, you began paying the correct current prices, storage heaters on E7 are expensive to run, despite the lower rates at night. £17 a month does seem unrealisitc for any property to be honest.

 

I hope this clarifies things, obviously this isn't a definitive answer, but just a thought

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