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We just received an electric bill from Southern Electric for nearly £400.

This is for the period between late February and early May.

 

We are on economy 7 and for most of this billing period we have had our night storage heaters switched OFF.

So to our shock, according to our meter, we have used over 5000 units of energy at night.

 

Our day usage has stayed more or less the same.

 

We are bewildered as to how our night energy usage can go UP from the previous quarter, during which we had the night storage heaters ON.

 

The funny thing is, the exact same thing happened last year in the same flat.

 

Our May bill was £500.

 

Again, according to our meter we used over 7000 units of electricity at night.

Again, night storage heaters off during this period and again this is substantially higher than the previous quarter, during which the night storage heaters were on.

It seems really suspect that this can happen in the same quarter two years in a row.

 

Last year, I contacted Southern Electric to complain.

I was told that the meter was working correctly and that there were no issues (I believe they sent someone out to look).

Again, in the previous quarter and the one following the massive bill, the usage was accurate.

 

We ended up paying the bill, as Southern Electric refused to believe that there was a mistake and assumed that we had actually used such an impossibly high level of electricity.

 

I fear that will likely be the same result this time around, but it seems fraudulent.

 

How can our meter reading jump so high at the SAME time each year, and yet be accurate during the rest of the year?

 

Also, we are in a 2 bedroom flat, even if we had every appliance we own, and all the heaters on all night, I am pretty sure we couldn't use over 5000 units of energy.

 

It makes no sense.

 

Would love to know if anybody else has has similar problems or has any suggestions!

 

I should note, that we have double checked to make sure there are no errors such as transposed readings or rates.

 

It just seems as though our meter reading has jumped inexplicably.

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are your bills estimated readings or actual reading?

 

maybe read the meter on the 1s day of each month and keep a log ... you will then see a pattern of usage

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Son had problem with npower, moved out of 2 bed apartment, they were always out Mon to Fri 7 am till 8 pm never used the heaters as it was an extremely warm apartment. Submitted a reading and the final reading was more than we pay for 12 months, unbelievably npower said it was right, letters from debt collectors, npower wouldnt even come and check the meter so we involved energey ombudsman and theyre looking into it. You may like to go the same route as it certainly seems odd that its happened two years on a run and for the same quarter. If Southern Electric dont sort it this time tell them your going to the ombudsman and do it. Far too many of these suppliers are getting away with it.

DG

I have no legal training my knowledge comes from my personal life experiences

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Unfortunately, these are actual meter readings, not estimates. So something must be wrong with the meter. But like last year, it is my word against theirs. Actually, looking over the previous bills, 5000 units of energy is more than we use the rest of the year in total, including winter when we have the heaters on! So frustrating...

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if the meter was faulty then surly all reading would be wrong?

 

not just 1 quarter every year .... is there any other explanation?

 

if its the night reading then the only thing connected is the storage heaters?

 

Could you get an independent electrtion to check it?

Citi Cards - £800 - N1 Form logged at court

Defence entered

£279 refuned £521 outstanding on claim

Hearing 15th Nov 2006

Hearing 18th Jan 2007

Defence Stuck out - £549

March 07 Bailiffs called in to collect

20/4 Cheque for £549 - I WIN

 

Abbey - Setteled in full 9th Nov 2006 £3,300

 

Abbey - Data Protetion Act informtion

ICO complaint logged

 

Abbey - N1 Logged - 12/02/2007 £933

FOS Complaint logged 07/03/2007

£180 refunued -Good will Gesture 01/04/2007

Hearing 15th June 2007

 

Capital One Refunded £50

 

Egg - Data Protection Act request

Returned charges £80

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We can't think of any explanation. The suggestion to have an electrician come out is good one, thanks morsy. Only think I can think of is that when we switch the night heaters off in early spring, something happens? If we had a faulty appliance of some sort using lots of electricity, then I would expect to see high day usage as well. It is strange, and VERY strange that this happened at the exact same time last year as well. I suppose it will come down to our word against Southern Electric and we will have to prove that we didn't use that much electricity, which we can't. Only hope to point out that we would have to have every appliance/lights/computers/tv etc. going all night every night to get that sort of usage, and even then I am pretty sure it wouldn't amount to 5000+ kwh. But southern electric doesn't seem to want to listen to reason or common sense :( *sigh*

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Are the day and night readings being billed the wrong way round?

 

Check your meter say 5 hours apart during the day and see which reading has gone up the econd time you read it compared to the first. That will be the day rate. Does this match up to your bill?

 

Also,do you have a timeswitch (another implement alongside your meter with numbers running circularly around it). There is a marker on timeswitches that tells you the time. (marked time funnily enough!). Is this time one hour slow and therefore correct (the timeswitch does not adjust itself for British Summer Time) so is it out - possibly by a long way?

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Hi there

 

Sounds all too familiar, got the tee-shirt! I won't bore you with my problem (check 'brackleshamdavid' previous post) but in essence we have a lot in common.

The cut and dried of this is Southern Electric - SSE - will maintain your usage is correct based soley on averages over a previous term. Even if you turned the meter off for 1 quarter, because its there and they supply to it, they in law, can charge you for it based on your previous usage. Sounds grim! They are!

 

Now's here what you can do about it. First everything must be done in writing, emails preferably. Convert everything onto your PC. Complain only by this method (not via their website, no copies) if you phone them send a confirmation of exactly what you said. At local level they keep recorded records. Up the line more by annotation and only what they want.!!

 

So let's work from the worst case senario, downwards.

 

Energy Ombudsman. No recourse his word is final.

 

Submission to Ombudsman. Must be made by letter, initially by their forms, you include an overview with all the copies of instances you note in that overview, to back your submission. An initial judgement is made by an underling who asks for your rebutal of the claims by........ The whole lot then goes to the man proper. A Courts equivalent of disclosure. Now here's a thing I know the person who at SSE handles their end.

 

SSE Head Office. I have a long list of personnel who each play at being 'Head' and you tend to be moved about. So all you do is c.c. each person, as they add them no excuses then.

 

Local/Regional level. You are here. I've also got a list of people here and it's highly probable one of them will be dealing with you soon if not now. As your case is on file any line manager can pick it up determined by what previous actions have been taken.

 

Lets come back to now. If they did send anyone around to check the meter they would have to ask you to turn the juice off and plug a tester into a socket which has three LED lights on it. That's your first step. Email a request giving three dates suitable to yourself, say 3 -4 weeks ahead. Get confirmation in writing/email.

 

Their equipment must work within set limits and you can have a copy of the engineer's report either way.

 

Now everything onwards is a matter of compare and compare, and compare. You see SSE couldn't care less because they know 'they' ONLY need to submit known averages and the job's a good'n.

 

This is just the begining so don't give in. I'm also on twitter @dpaj_co_uk with links to my website and blog sites then again if you comment/respond here my email will pick you up. Its not just that 'you know' your right, its the telling that gets you. That and their blasted computer which tells them what to do, when, how and why. Did you know all customers are 'given' a target figure of comsumption based on a % + over their previous accounts? Which is why they (and a few others) started enforcing standing charges on long term empty properties with no usage!

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  • 1 month later...

more than likely a catch up bill, things like this happen far too ofter where meters are not read by company or customer, and the bills prior are very little, making the shock bill 10x higher than usual.

Southern electric just take the readings fromt he meter, all companies will have a meter accuracy or a meter resolver team who can look into the meter details, usage and other infomation which will alllow you to be able to understand where the usage comes from ie heaters, hot water, appliances, plug in heaters etc.

The best thing to do is to look at old bill, see if the meters were read and see how often.

If a company say the usage is correct, but come and do a test anyway, this could show doubt that the customer ie you may be right.

If the test comes back OK, which it may have done in your case the problem is eleswhere.

This could be a faulty appliance, or it could be the fact that althoguh the meter is running normal now, some meters can SLIP, meaning it will skip 10000 units in one go, not unheard of as this has been stated on other blogs.

Best thing to do is call them, get them to go throguh consumption with you, readings, if it is a catch up and if all points to being correct, they should be able to spread your balance out, and can sometimes do this for upto a year.

Best thing to do is always call the company, get it resolved once and for all and if your not happy, dont waste your time with the ombudsman, speak to a manager, get a loads test or a check meter installed and get to the bottom of this.

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