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One meter to my property, 2 MPANs and possible being over-charged?!

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Hi , I wonder if anyone could shed any light on this - any comments much appreciated:

 

I am a customer of Spark Energy and had my first electricity bill recently. While the meter readings are correct (not estimated), I am confused as I think they may be trying to bill me on 2 different tariffs.

 

The situation is that I live in a house which has been converted into flats - 1 on ground (mine) and 1 on 1st floor. Our meter boxes are outside the property. Inside my meter box, I have 1 electricity meter (there is no gas in the property). However, this one meter seems to have 2 different MPANs - 1 beginning with 02 (which means Economy 7 tariff) and 1 beginning with 01 (which means Domestic Unrestricted, i.e. standard tariff).

 

When I read the meter, I provided 3 meter readings as there were 3 already set up on my online account - reading 1 is Day, reading 2 is Night (these are both on the same MPAN), and reading 3 is Unrestricted (this is on the same MPAN). I got these just by pressing the button on my digital meter until the 3 different readings came up.

 

I submitted these to Spark Energy and after much chasing the eventually issued me a bill. I am on the Economy 7 tariff (as I have electric storage heaters and thought this would be the most economical), so should only pay a Day rate and a Night rate. This is displayed on one page of my bill. However, a separate rate for "Unrestricted" use is displayed on a separate page of my bill which is very expensive. As I am on Economy 7, and have been previously with other suppliers, I should only pay a Day and Night rate - I have never come across being billed for Unrestricted before.

 

From my experience, and looking at Spark Energy and other suppliers' websites, Economy 7 only ever has 2 readings - Day and Night - and "Unrestricted" is a separate method of metering for people who are on a single-rate tariff. Spark Energy's website says explicitly that "Simple Unrestricted means a single rate tariff that usually only has 1 reading, i.e, not Economy 7, Economy 10 or white meter" - meaning that Economy 7 and "Simple Unrestricted" are two different tariff methods so I think that means a customer cannot be billed by both methods.

 

This "Unrestricted" is on a separate page to my Day and Night readings, suggesting that it is in fact a separate tariff to my Economy 7 plan and is double-counting my usage or unrelated to what I should be paying under an Economy 7 plan. When I asked the Customer Service Department they couldn't tell me what the "Unrestricted" rate covered or why it appeared on my Economy 7 bill which should only show 1 Day and 1 Night usage figure. They suggested that sometimes a property is billed for some parts separately and this is what the "Unrestricted" reading covers (e.g. if the property has a garage or immersion heater it could be wired to the meter separately) but this doesn't apply to me as my property is a very small 1-bedroom flat with a combi-boiler and no outbuildings. When I raised this as a complaint with Spark Energy, I was told that the Unrestricted usage was definitely mine, and that some appliance(s) must be wired in to the meter separately from the main wiring, and that this meant I had 2 MPANs and had to pay the standard Unrestricted rate on this usage.

 

Spark Energy are unable to give me any information about what appliances are wired up to each meter, and they have said an electrician would be able to tell but they won't provide one (I am now trying to get my Landlord to send an electrician round to check). I am worried that things like the electric storage heating is hooked up to the Unrestricted MPAN meaning I am not benefitting from the Economy 7 cheaper overnight rate.

 

 

----------------------------

 

What I would like advice on is:

1. Can 1 input-only (i.e. non-export) meter have 2 MPANS?

 

2. Have I understood correctly that it is EITHER you are charged Economy 7 tariff OR you are charged Standard rate? Rather than it being possible for the supplier to charge you for usage under both rates?

 

3. Is it possible that two properties can be charged off the same meter, but under 2 different MPANs? (i.e. is it possible that the "Unrestricted" usage on my meter is to do with the flat upstairs?)

 

4. Can an electricity company make you pay for "Unrestricted" rates, when you have signed up for and only agreed to an Economy 7 plan?

 

 

If you need any more information please let me know. Thanks guys!

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1. Can 1 input-only (i.e. non-export) meter have 2 MPANS? No. A dual mpan properly would have two meters.

 

2. Have I understood correctly that it is EITHER you are charged Economy 7 tariff OR you are charged Standard rate? Rather than it being possible for the supplier to charge you for usage under both rates? Yes. You can't be charged on both tariffs.

 

3. Is it possible that two properties can be charged off the same meter, but under 2 different MPANs? (i.e. is it possible that the "Unrestricted" usage on my meter is to do with the flat upstairs?) No, this isn't possible - if there are two MPANS, there are two meters

 

4. Can an electricity company make you pay for "Unrestricted" rates, when you have signed up for and only agreed to an Economy 7 plan? You would need to check the terms of your agreement but I do not think so.

 

I would contact your supplier and ask for an on site inspection - this will allow them to marry up the meters, MSNs, MPANs and tariffs on each and thereafter update their billing system.

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Thanks MissDaisies for your advice. I am going to try to look at the meter again (and my neighbours) to see where the second Unresticted MPAN beginning 01 is, as I don't believe from what you have said that it can be also on my meter which has the Economy7 MPAN beginning 02. I will also try to turn off everything in the flat, and then back on individually to see which meter reading is affected by which appliance.

 

Thanks for the suggestion about the site survey - unfortunately I have already asked Spark Energy for this and they have refused. Do I have any power to force them to carry out a site survey?

 

Thanks!

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Unrestricted meters are not normally used for domestic premises. Generally they are used where a building has for example a car park i.e. motorway services and the car park is lit. The power used by the lamp post is unrestricted, but it will only have a MPAN and not a meter. Same applies to street lighting. I would assume that the landlord would be the one responsible for the unrestricted supply. An E7 meter should only have 3 tariffs otherwise it is not an E7 supply.

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Apologies for re-opening this old thread, but as an industry insider, I do know how this works. I hope this helps someone, as I came across it whilst looking for something similar.

 

1) Yes, it is possible for 1 "import" meter to have 2 MPANs. This occurs when the site has (or had) separate heating and power/lighting circuits from the meter. In most properties the power goes from the meter to a fusebox, and at that point the separate circuits for power, lighting, cooker, showers etc are connected. However, if a heating circuit comes directly off the meter, and consumption is recorded on its own register, then that'll probably have a "related MPAN". It was set up this way because there is consumption on two separate registers (or combinations of registers) concurrently - i.e the heating can be on whilst the lights are on, AND the electricity settlements system was not set up to deal with this "properly". Having 2 MPANs is a workaround (that saved a bucket load of industry costs for a small proportion of meter points - dont think that "saving cost" is a bad thing - we all pay for those costs in our bills, so it was a good thing). This all started in the 1970's with Heatwise, Warmwise, Economy 10 tariffs to encourage electrical heating when storage heaters were the new thing. The E7 part of the meter takes the usual lighting and power (so you can run your tumble dryer at 3am on lower rate energy), and the "unrestricted" part handles the heating - this is usually controlled by a timer so its actually only consuming overnight, and sometimes has a "boost" option for use at other times of day.

 

2) Because the MPANs are "related", they should be offered with a tariff that supports the configuration. Many smaller suppliers dont offer these tariffs (some of them quite frankly dont have a clue what they are - they just offer unrestricted and E7 tariffs). Those small suppliers were given a dispensation from Ofgem, as the cost of supporting such complexity for so few sites was not considered economic (Ofgem is made up of economists).

 

3) It is possible for two separate properties can be charged off the same meter, but NOT under 2 different MPANs. The two MPANs will be related to ONE supply (albeit two circuits, in one property). If a building is converted to flats, its possible there may be one meter, and an arrangement to share costs (usually when the landlord remains responsible for the whole consumption, and sub-properties pay the landlord. There is also the possibility that the "main" meter remains in place and a "sub meter" is installed: the first property gets billed on the main (total) consumption minus the sub meter, and the second property gets billed off just the sub meter, but those are so rare.

 

4) See the answer to 2 - its possible the Supplier doesnt understand what you've got or cant support it: they SHOULD know, and if they cant support it they SHOULD not take on your supply (you can complain to Ofgem if they do). No - you should not be charged for both tariffs separately, but if its just consumption, then you're paying for what you use. IF they are charging you 2 sets of standing charge, then see above - complain to Ofgem and the Supplier will have to compensate you.

 

MissDaisies - sorry, but most of your answers are completely incorrect.

 

Surfer01 - I think you are mixing up "unmetered supplies" (landlord lighting - e.g. hallways in blocks of flats, remote water pumps in the middle of fields running 24 hours a day etc) with "unrestricted". Unmetered means exactly what it says - there is NO meter, and there doesnt need to be one because the energy company knows how much is being consumed (fifteen 60W bulbs running 14 hours per day uses a predictable amount of energy), or its impractical to install and read one (a locked pumping station in the middle of a field is not only remote, but you dont want any Tom Dick or Harry wandering in there and contaminating the water supply). This will NEVER be applicable to a standard domestic property. Unrestricted mean there is no time constraint on when the meter register records consumption (i.e. it records consumption 24 hours a day, even if theres another timeswitch than constrins the consumption to a known period.

 

If your property has two MPANs, BUT you no longer have a separate heating circuit, then you can get your Distribution business to de-register one of the MPANs (your energy Supplier should be able to ask them on your behalf, but as many dont have a clue (see above), you can go direct to the Distributor and threaten a complaint if they dont and its preventing you from changing to the Supplier of your choice - as a Regulated business, they'll not want an Ofgem complaint on their books.

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