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Hello,

 

 

 

I live (rent) in a new build development which uses a communal boiler to providehot water. This has been contracted to an energy provider for billing andpreviously maintenance purposes.

 

 

 

Eachmonth’s bill is determined to be the sum of a service charge and energy usage.Previously the service charge was split in two a fee charged for maintenanceand a fee for the service itself. The maintenance charge was eventually droppedwhen the development management accepted complaints that their contractedsupplier had not been fulfilling their service agreement on maintenance (tenants had made numerous complains to that effect). Their contract for maintenance wascancelled but we still use them for billing.

 

 

 

Theissues I have are 2 fold.

 

 

 

1.That the estimate they used at the very start of my tenancy was inflated (Iasked for proof -they ask for proof from me)

 

 

 

2.That the energy transferred to heat my supply (heating system and hot water) was/is not accurate. As a result of receiving lukewarm water 90% of the time, I stopped using the option to pull from the central boiler and instead began toreply exclusively on the backup immersion heater.

 

 

 

It turned out that the reason for receiving lukewarm water was because the central boiler was not serviced properly and correct filters had not been used. This meant that debris travelled around the system inhibiting the system’s abilityto transfer that energy to each apartment on the development.

 

 

 

After receiving several bills I wrote informing them that I had serious doubts aboutthe accuracy of their initial estimate and more importantly, the system used that calculates usage. I said that I was disputing the bill but was happy to pay any outstanding charges but would need clarification from them on how there system is able to differentiate between the supply of a given quantity of hotwater vs. lukewarm water. And how I may check to ensure this is what is happening.

 

 

 

They did not reply to my questions instead just advised me of the unit charge andhow many units they say I had used.

 

 

 

I replied to this by stressing the point that I was disputing the bill and was happy to pay if they were able to provide me with answers.

 

 

 

I received no reply, continued to receive bills and more recently received a threatening letter that said it would be sent to the bailiffs if not paid.

 

 

 

I replied again saying that I had replied to them previously and was awaiting a response.

 

 

 

This seems to have been ignored as they have sent another letter threatening me that if not paid will disconnect the service (wish they would so to not receive any more charges from them) go to the court and bailiffs.

 

 

 

I accept that I have not gone into detail here as to why I think the amount they have charged is incorrect, other than to say that I never used their system to heat my apartment (since I live on a top floor apartment) which is wel linsulated and warm enough in winter. Hardly ever used their system for showers since it was rarely beyond lukewarm (subsequently stopped using it altogetherin favour of my immersion heater - to which I should have a case to charge them for since I only use this system after not having holt water fromt heir system even after countless complaints).

 

 

 

Question I have is what can I do in order to prevent another party (my energy provider) from passing charges (that I am lawfully disputing) to the courts and bailiff .It does not seem right that another party/organisation/company can levy charges against someone and then start a process like this without proof. What rights does a person have if a company is using a billing system that relies on faulty equipment for usage readings?

Edited by gazawee

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Hi gaza and welcome to CAG

 

Responding to your PM.

 

As there is no litigation involved here your query is I assume with your LL or Development Management Services so I will transfer your thread to Residential letting for now.

 

Regards

 

Andy


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to answer your last question first, anyone can take anyone to court with no grounds at all, it is just that they wont win if a defencve is offered. However, they will try debt collectors first as they are basically reliant on coercion or annoyance to get you to pay up.

Now, for the core matter-what does it say in the lease/tenancy agreement? If you are allowed to drop the arrangement then do it as soon as you can and then suggest that a qualified chartered engineer looks at the system and determines what is the likely efficiency of the heat exchange to your premeises and the proportionate cost if either faulty or badly designed. Get an agreement with the landlord that the decision of the engineer is final and binding on both parties and that his consultancy fee be paid either proportionally or split equally. There are mediators that do this sort of work but I couldnt tell you who so ask bodies like the Institute of Builders or the Institute of Chartered Surveyors for advice as to how to proceed.

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Thanks for your reply. I'll dig out my TA and check that.

 

By the way, I get the part about taking someone to court, but being able to commision debt collectors? Can anyone enlist the service of debt collectors against anyone else? So could I enlist the service of a debt collector against a neighbour or company on the grounds that I believe they owe me money? Just doesn't seem right. or is it just companies against companies and companies against individuals?

 

Would be really helpful to all to know more about this I think.

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Just that I'm not so bothered about going to court. But the idea that some bullies could lawfully turn up at my door and take my belongings if they can find a way in - based on someone's allegations just seems really wrong.

 

Am I missing something?

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Debt collectors cannot do anything like that. If they keep harassing you or turn up at your door call the police.

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