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I wonder if someone can help me?

 

I paid for smart meters to be installed in early 2009 - I paid £99.00 for this as I wanted to be able to check my bills. My gas smart meter has never worked and i have always had estimated bills! In July 2010 the standing charges were increased to 50p per day for gas and also electricity by First Utility and so I checked some comparison sites. As soon as I received this information I decided to change to another utility company. My new utility company were able to transfer my electricity in August but apparently First Utility objected to me transferring my gas supply.

 

I contacted First Utility and there was no reason for this objection to be raised and they promised me that my gas could be transferred. This objection happened again and it means I am paying for my electricity through one company and my gas through another therefore not getting the benefits of a dual fuel discount whilst also paying the huge standing charge for my gas to First Utility.

 

I contacted First Utility yet again last week and they advised that they would remove the objection - yet again my new utility company have applied and it has been objected to and I received this letter today.

 

What do I need to do now? I am being charged a large standing charge, not benefitting from dual fuel discount so am paying over the odds for my gas and electricity until this is sorted?

 

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

Regards,

Sarah

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You should be putting this into a letter to First Utility

 

  • You are attempting to change your gas supply to a new supplier
  • FU have objected to the transfer
  • You have telephoned them twice and they have said there is no reason for the transfer to go ahead but on each occasion they have objected again
  • You are suffering a financial loss by their repeatedly objecting to the transfer for (by their own admission) no reason
  • That you require
    1. the transfer to go ahead without objection
    2. compensation for the higher gas bill and lack of dual fuel discount from the first request until the transfer is completed
    3. compensation for the time and trouble they caused you

 

If you get nowhere there is always their complaints process (you could start it with that letter) and Consumer Focus and the Energy Ombudsman

ConsumerFocus will also help with your complaint to 1st utility

Edited by 2Grumpy
Added consumerfocus link
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  • 7 months later...

Hi all!

 

I have a problem with First Utility and it all started in March 2009 when I decided to transfer to them and paid £99.00 to install smart meters for my gas and electric. Everything was running fine (or so I thought) and I was paying for my gas and electric as I used it. It then transpired that in November 2009 they informed me that they would need to change my electricity meter as it wasn't working which they duly did and the smart metering continued. I assumed that any electricity I had used from March 2009 to November 2009 was paid because when the new meter was installed I continued to pay for my electricity as I used it.

 

In July 2010 I received an email stating that they were putting their prices up and when I searched around I got a better alternative from another supplier so I decided to change to them as they were happy to use my smart meters as ordinary meters. Anyway, First Utility allowed the electricity transfer to go through to my new supplier and the changeover date was August 2010 but they refused the gas as there was a problem with that meter as well. As the gas wasn't being transferred because of an error they made eventually, via the Ombusdman, it was transferred successfully and I received a little compensation because I was missing out on dual fuel discounts from either supplier.

 

I then arrived home last week to a bill of over £800.00 from a debt collection agency who had apparently been telephoning me because I had an outstanding bill with First Utility. I had no knowledge of this and immediately referred it to the Ombudsman because I thought it was for gas. After receiving an email from First Utility it turns out that it is for electricity for the period March 2009 to November 2009 when the meter was not working correctly. I had already paid just over £350.00 to them in that period for electric by direct debit and when I looked back this was estimated. Now I am not a genius but I live in a two bedroom house with a lounge, kitchen and bathroom, not even a dining room and I have gas central heating and a combination boiler so on top of what I have paid for six months which is just over £350.00 they would like another £800.00 for electricity for that period also. To confirm as well when I changed suppliers I couldn't see the bills on my First Utility account so was unable to check this. My first knowledge of this was last week. No letter were sent to me and no-one from the company attempted to telephone me either.

 

My questions are:

 

Am I at fault because their meters were not working correctly?

 

Is £1150.00 (£350.00 paid and the extra £800.00 they are chasing me for) for electricity average for a two bedroom house with gas central heating and boiler average for six months? I don't see to think so but I would like another opinion.

 

Should they not have notified me that there was an outstanding bill of nearly £800.00 for the previous period (Mar 2009 to Nov 2009) as I had a direct debit mandate in place where they could have had access to the money. According to subsequent bills from Dec 2009 to Aug 2010 when the meter was changed, there was no indication whatsoever that there was an outstanding amount as it said on my final electricity bill in August 2010 that the meter reading they had taken was an actual one and the outstanding balance was £0.00.

 

Also, shouldn't they have mentioned that this was outsanding when I took them to the Ombudsman to sort out my gas.

 

I am also angry with the debt collection agency because they telephoned me on the same day I received the letter rudely accusing me of not answering their telephone calls or letters. Now I have call minder on my line so if they had tried to ring me it would have appeared on my handset, which it didn't!

 

I would love to know what you all think and any advice would be appreciated. I have as I say referred it to the Ombudsman straight away but would like to know my rights before I discuss with them how I should proceed. I also have no qualms about meeting organisations like this in court if I have to; should it go that far!

 

Apologies for the long post but I am extremely worried about this and their handling of the bills and the extremely rude DCA that they have employed to get the money from me!

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Just as another thought - I have come across the back billing code of practice. Would this apply to me? I have paid on time always with direct debit so they cannot say that I was refusing to pay and this bill only appeared 18 months after the amount was due? It was not my fault that the meter was faulty as I did email them to find out why I was receiving estimated bills.

 

Anyway, look forward to receiving any of your thoughts on this one.

 

Sarah5318

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I'm not an expert but I would have thought that if you have a final bill from them with a balance of £0.00 then I wouldn't have thought they could suddenly change their minds and decide you owe them about £800.

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Hi there!

 

That has been my point exactly to First Utility when I have been in email correspondence with them over the last week. I also have had a look at the back billing stuff on the Energy Retail Association website and feel that they are really pushing their luck with asking me for this. I have never wilfully avoided making payment as a direct debit mandate was in place for the whole time I was with them and they could have gained access at any point to read my meter as they knew it was faulty. It really makes me angry that nearlt two years after the event they are requesting this money!

 

I will forward everything on to the Energy Ombudsman anyway and see what they think.

 

Thank you very much for your comments - really appreciate it.

 

Sarah

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  • 1 month later...
Hi there!

 

That has been my point exactly to First Utility when I have been in email correspondence with them over the last week. I also have had a look at the back billing stuff on the Energy Retail Association website and feel that they are really pushing their luck with asking me for this. I have never wilfully avoided making payment as a direct debit mandate was in place for the whole time I was with them and they could have gained access at any point to read my meter as they knew it was faulty. It really makes me angry that nearlt two years after the event they are requesting this money!

 

I will forward everything on to the Energy Ombudsman anyway and see what they think.

 

Thank you very much for your comments - really appreciate it.

 

Sarah

 

You'll be pleased to know that you're not alone with this. First Utility have always had the worst customer services imaginable. Their only unique selling point, is that they offer smart meters - everything else, such as price, customer service, etc is dismal. When I was with First Utility after moving into my old flat, they put me on an extortionate tariff with a standing charge of something like 50p PER DAY! When I went to switch, they took over two months, fobbing me off, saying that it was being processed - whilst, of course, charging me ridiculous amounts. What made it worse, was that their staff was unbelievable rude, telling me that I was impatient.

 

Wait times on the phone were outrageous - sometimes, I would have to stay on the line for over 30mins until my call was answered. Emails sent were replied after a week - I have never seen such poor customer service in my life.

 

I'm now with another provider, who, whilst not the cheapest, they are certainly far more competitive than First Utility will ever be.

 

If I were you, I would lodge a complaint and if they don't' sort it after 60 days, go straight to the ombudsman.

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Thank you very much for your response - I have been on holiday and when I came back I have received correspondence from the Ombudsman to say that they are willing to act as mediator between First Utility and me. Fingers crossed that this will do the trick as I do feel very aggrieved that they sent me a final bill for £0.00 and then backtracked and said I owed them so much money! I do want to take this all the way though and feel at present that I will go to court if I don't get any joy with the Ombudsman. Watch this space......

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there!

 

This is just a general question but is there any way that I can get details of when my gas meter has been changed in my house over the last 10 years as well as what type of meters were installed at the time, whether they were imperial meters or metric ones?

 

I have had an ongoing dispute with a previous gas supplier who changed my meter and I think that they changed it from imperial to metric but I am not sure.

 

Where can I get this information, especially if I have been swapping utility providers over the past few years. Is there a central place I can go to get this information?

 

Any information would be appreciated.

Sarah

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I doubt that you would have had more than 1 meter change in the lsat 10 years. The supplier who changed it will have the relevant info you are looking for.

 

What makes you think you had an imperial meter?

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Thanks for the reply - I know I had a meter change when I went with First Utility because they required me to be on a smart meter. Unfortunately the new smart meter didn't work properly so they installed another one which totals 3. I changed to First Utility in March 2009 and they provided me with estimated gas bills totalling £276.37 until 26th November 2009. They now would like to charge me a further £313.37 for that period. This is completely wrong because it was over the summer months and therefore don't use my gas central heating in this period; everything else apart from my hob and combi boiler is electric and I live in a modern two bedroom house.

 

I have contacted First Utility for an explanation and they never seem to give me one and although the Ombudsman have become involved in this, they haven't got to the bottom of it either and seem to think if First Utility apologise to me I will forget everything they have done and just pay up! First Utility won't budge in that I owe them this amount but nobody can provide me with a good enough explanation. The only explanation that I can come up with myself is that the old meter they removed may have been an imperial one and the amount they are charging me for in that period I was with them prior to the smart meter is more because First Utility didn't realise that I was on an Imperial meter. The main problem is, I don't know how to find out about previous meters it was nearly two years ago!

 

Any help/thoughts would be welcome.

Best wishes,

 

Sarah

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ok, i would be amazwd if you had an imperial meter, i say that because ive been in the gas industry for 20 years and havent seen one still being used.

 

In order for them to reach a figure, they must have had readings to calculate your bill from. Have you been given the bill and does it have actual readings or estimated readings?

 

Without having the readings you cant calculate what you owe.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

I am not legally trained or qualified, any advice i offer is gleaned from experience and general knowledge, if you are still unsure after receiving advice please seek legal advice.

 

 

 

GEMHL Settled

Barclaycard Settled

A & L SETTLED IN FULL :lol:

Spml Reluctantly withdrawn

Blackhorse pre 31-7-06 Demand removal sent 23 8 06. ICO ordered removal jan 2007....REMOVED:lol:

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I have all the bills and I know what they want to charge me but I don't believe that that was the reading from my old meter but they will not provide me with proof. The reason I don't believe that I used that much gas over that period of time is because my bills for the same period in previous years was more than 50% less than what they have charged me. I also don't believe that a well insulated two bedroom house where everyone is out all day would use nearly £600.00 worth of gas in six summer months. I only have a gas hob and a combi boiler that would use gas is the summer as the central heating is not on.

 

According to this link there are quite a few people who have had this problem. I am just trying to find out the reason behind such a steep increase in gas over six months during the summer period. I am not saying that this is the reason but I would like to find out. There has to be an explanation and I am not willing to just hand over this extra money because someone says I should but cannot give me a reasonable explanation as to why. Even with the steep increases last year and this year I still haven't used £600 worth of gas in six summer months.

 

 

Hope this explains.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/consumer_advice/latest_meters_pic.shtml

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There should be a badge on the new meter which has the old meters index number and the old reading from when it was replaced

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

I am not legally trained or qualified, any advice i offer is gleaned from experience and general knowledge, if you are still unsure after receiving advice please seek legal advice.

 

 

 

GEMHL Settled

Barclaycard Settled

A & L SETTLED IN FULL :lol:

Spml Reluctantly withdrawn

Blackhorse pre 31-7-06 Demand removal sent 23 8 06. ICO ordered removal jan 2007....REMOVED:lol:

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