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Gibble

Eon still insisting I'm responsible for bill

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I posted this previously but made a right hash of all the info and dates etc. I've finally got all the info sorted and correct dates with help from a close friend and my mother. I have struggled with this due to mental health issues but am slowly getting to grips with it.

 

The house was empty and unused since mid 2003. According to eon the first bill they sent was to the "occupier" on 4th june 2009. There had been no previous bills. There were tennants in the house from 1st june 2005. I stupidly forgot to take meter readings as I was suffering with depression at the time and was mentally quite unstable. The tennants left on or around the 30th August 2008 (did a runner) and I moved back in with my then girlfriend on 8th september 2008 although I had been in and out redecorating from the 3rd September 2008. My girlfriend at the time rang eon with a meter reading on the 10th September 2008 to change the billing to her name. I was under the impression that she was paying the bills so had no reason to chase eon to find out why they weren't sending any bills. She left in the last week of May 2009.

 

The first bill that I saw was sent addressed to "The Occupier" on 9th June 2009.

Here is the letter I sent to eon.

 

"Dear Sir

I dispute the amount that you say I owe.

 

I remind you that while I dispute this account you are not allowed under the data protection act to forward my details to any third party debt collectionlink3.gif agency, this is also considered to be unfair under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTlink3.gif)

 

It has taken me quite a while to put all the following details together as I was suffering with poor mental health for most of the time concerned. I am willing to pay for any electricity that I am liable for but I am not willing to pay for electricity that I have not used while I was not living at this address.

 

Why did eon not send ANY bills or letters to this address for over 5 years?

Why did eon not chase the occupants for electricity being used for over 5 years?

Why were estimated readings used from 2004 to 2008?

If your meter reader could not access the property to obtain meter readings what did eon do about this?

Please send me copies of ALL letters and bills that you have sent to this address.

 

I was not living in the property prior to 3rd September 2008 as I had rented the property to (name) and (name). I have found a copy of the tenancy agreement that, unknown to me until a couple of days ago, my mother had been keeping for me which I have attached with this letter. I do not have a forwarding address for either of these people as they “did a runner” from my property on approximately 30th August 2008. The tenancy agreement started on 5th June 2005 and, after the initial 12 months shorthold agreement, the tenancy changed to a Statutory Periodic Tenancy hence the lack of any further signed agreements for the period from 1st June 2006 to 30th August 2008. We discovered that the tenants had left on the 3rd September 2008 when I went to collect the rent and discovered that they had left!

 

My girlfriend, at the time, rang eon on the 10th of September 2008 ( I remember this as it was her birthday and she complained that it was a poor birthday present to put the bill in her name! ) to give a meter reading and put the electricity bill into her name. As the bills were supposed to be in her name I had no reason to believe that eon weren’t sending bills so I had no reason to enquire as to why bills were not being sent. She left sometime in the last week of May 2009, Her name is (name), I do not have a forwarding address for her. She was last known by me to be living in (town) in (county). Her D.O.B is (date).

 

In addition to the fact that I was not living in the property until 3rd September 2008, so therefore not using any electricity, you must also take the Billing code into account:

 

 

According to the Billing Code:

“From the 1st July 2006 where the supplier has been at fault in not billing a domestic customer the supplier will not send a bill which includes energy consumed more than 2 years previous to the bill being issued. From 1st July 2007 this period will reduce to 1 year

 

2.1.1 A bill has not been sent in one year

Where the supplier is at fault in not billing a customer in the previous year, we will not bill a customer for more than one years worth of consumption unless it's in the customer's favour; the consumption relating to the oldest period (i.e. the period older than one year) will be withdrawn.

 

For the purpose of 2.1.1, the supplier is at fault where they have made no attempt to bill or communicate with an existing customer during the previous 12 months.

Specific exclusions

The supplier is not at fault where

 

  • A new customer has failed to notify the supplier that they are living in the property and we have sent letters to the address or we have continued communicating with the previous occupier.

Eon cannot use this exclusion as I notified eon on 8th June that I was living in the property when I supplied a meter reading over the phone and eon did not send ANY letters to this address for over 5 years until the first bill that I saw on 8th June 2009. As I was under the impression that the tenants and then Miss (name) were paying the electricity bills up to that point I had no reason to contact eon to enquire as to why there were no bills being issued.

 

You did not send a bill to the above address until 4th June 2009 therefore you cannot send a bill that goes back any further than 4th June 2008. However, you do not have any accurate meter readings for that date. You do have an accurate meter reading for 5th September 2008 of 95191 taken by your meter reader which coincides with the date close to when I and Miss (name) moved into the property. I must have let him in as Miss (name) was working at the time so wouldn’t have been in the house! This would have been what prompted Miss (name) to contact eon with a meter reading and to put the account in her name.

 

As the tenants had left and I had access to the property from 3rd September 2008 and was living in the property from 5th September 2008 until the present day, I will accept liability for electricity usage from 3rd September 2008. I will not accept liability for any previous use of electricity at this address."

 

I go on to say what the ammended bill should read based on the reading taken on the 5th Septmeber 2008 bringing it up to date with the last bill dated May 2010.

 

I end the letter with this:

 

Please note that I will no longer discuss any of this on the telephone. Please put all future correspondence in writing.

 

 

Reply from eon to follow

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Eon's reply:

 

Dear Mr **********

 

Thank you for your letter dated 25th June 2010, received 19th July 2010, regarding your electricity account.

 

I have raised a complaint on your account as you are disputing the amount of electricity we have charged you. This will prevent any follow up action or contact from third party debt collection agencies as mentioned in your letter.

 

I have carried out a full review on your account and can confirm that we were informed that the property was empty and therefore the account was showing as unoccupied. this prevents any bills from being sent to the property address until we are notified that the property is being occupied.

 

We sent eight letters to the the property from November 2004 to April 2009 advising of the electricity price changes. We also sent a letter on 25 February 2009 requesting to know if the property remained unoccupied.

 

All accounts that showed as unoccupied were made live and billed up to date to prompt the occupiers to contact us. All of our accounts now issue quarterly bills unless the meter has been de-energised.

 

I do not have copies of the price change letters as they are sent out as mail merges. There is no documentation on your account of all the dates and letter types that we have sent to the property address.

 

Your account has now been set up from 4 March 2004 and we have used an estimated reading for this date. The reason we have used estimated meter readings since this date is because there was no access to read your meter as it is located inside of the property.

 

We have always supplied electricity to this property and you have not stated in your letter when you purchased the property.

 

We are happy to accept the Tenancy Agreement for (name) and (name) for the period 5 June 2005 to 5 June 2006. You will be responsible for all electricity charges prior and after this period.

 

We will not be applying any adjustments to your account under our Billing Code of Practice as we were not made aware that the property was occupied. Although we did not send any bills to the property, we continued to send the price change letters from November 2004 to April 2009.

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I still don't understand how they can just guess a meter reading for march 2004 and say I owe that much especially as the house was empty until the tenants moved in in 2005! They say in the letter that they have estimated the readings yet several times on the phone they have insisted that they have several accurate readings done by their meter reader over the last 5 years. If they have no actual meter readings, as they say in the letter, then how do they know how much electricity the tenants used?

 

 

 

They also will not accept that the tenancy went to a Statutory Periodic Tenancy after the first 12 months. I have a copy of the letter I sent to the tenants explaining the change to statutory periodic tenancy but they didn't sign anything.

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Can anyone offer me any advice please?

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They can't guess. But they will continue to write giving you guess readings. They will continue to write and try to pressurise you to pay.

But be strong. Do not put up with their nonsense.

I just had a similar situation.

I just kept writing and telling them that I did not accept their guess readings and I maintained I was not liable for any period with any other tenants apart from the dates of my occupation. I kept writing. I think that is key. Keep communicating with them. They can't disconnect you whilst you are still disputing their claims. And if eventually you threaten them - maybe - with going to court it will be to expensive for them to pursue. Don't forget they have no tangible facts to prove their case....

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Just as an update: my supplier tried to get me to pay almost 2k in charges when the property was unoccupied and thus only nominal ticking over costs involved. I argued over 3 letters just on this one point. (I prob wrote over 20 letters in all !!) And they finally wrote the whole lot off....

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Thanks for the reply.

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