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Supplier misreads the meter


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At our block of flats we recently got an 'amended' electricity bill in respect of electricity supplied to "the common parts" (to which all the leaseholders have to contribute) for the period June 2002 to May 2009.

 

The supplier said that throughout that period they (or their 'out-sourced' meter readers) had been reading the meter incorrectly, and there is now a shortfall of some £27,000:eek: Are we legally obliged to pay, even though its their (admitted) mistake? They have been sending bills over the years, some estimated, some actual, all have been paid in good time from the common funds and there has never been a problem with access.

 

They say we have to pay because "the energy has been used, so it has to be paid for", regardless of any billing errors. They have offered to spread payments over time and hinted that they might be prepared to offer some "goodwill" discount, but if they can't legally make us pay anything, why should we accept these so called goodwill offers:rolleyes:. Another problem is that a lot of the flats have changed hands since 2002 and clearly the lessees who have gone cannot be traced, and the new owners say why should they pay anything towards a debt which (if valid) arose at least in part, before their time.

 

Any suggestions out there?

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I doubt it has been reaed wrongly continuously. I would think it is far more likely that either the reading has been taken wrongly to generate the £27000 bill, or alternatively the wrong (far too low) start reading was used on the computer records when the meter was fitted. Alternatively they may have the wrong meter details.

 

Does the reading on the bill match up with what is on the meter and does the serial number on the meter match up with that on the bill?

 

There is no way £27 000 worth of electricity would be used in a common area, even other many years. I mean, what electric is being used - lighting and possibly an alarm?

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Thanks mattlamb for the speedy response. I haven't looked at the meter myself but I will as soon as I can. There are 23 flats, lighting, electric gates (pedestrian & underground car park) & 2 lifts.

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May I suggest that someone tests the read by making a note of the read on day 1 at precisely say 6 pm then does the same every day for a week or so?

 

Then you should be able to determine the average usage per day and can maybe calculate the cost A rough check just done says £10.57 per day (unless I have made an error[ 27,000/365/7])

 

GK

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Thanks, someone is now monitoring the usage. However, my real question is not "are they billing us for the right amount of electricity used?" or even "is the meter working properly?", it is "can they make us pay the 'revised' bill, given that the errors are all on their part, and we have been diligently paying the original bills for 7 years in good faith that they were right?":confused:.

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Your main problem seems to be wether or not this supply is considered as a business account or domestic. I would suspect the former. If this is the case, it would not be covered by the late billing guidelines.

If it is domestic however, you should not have to pay more beyond the last year than you have already paid.

It does seem to be a common misconception on these boards, that suppliers cannot charge you at all before 1 year ago. The guidelines actually state that you won't be charged for any more use than you have already been billed for.

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