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Are you disputing your energy bill with your supplier? What they won't tell you

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If you are disputing your energy bill with your supplier, it can be a very difficult and heartless job.

 

Gas and electricity suppliers occupy a dominant position and frankly there is not a lot of competition. Once they get you on board it looks as if customer service goes to the wall.

 

We are seeing a huge number of complaints about billing by energy suppliers. Npower is a particular concern but the others are not far behind.

 

Did you know that your electricity supply and your relationship with your supplier is governed by the Electricity Act 1989.

 

Did you know that if you are in dispute with your energy supplier, you are entitled to have your own check meter fitted. You don't have to rely on one chosen and monitored by your energy supplier. The only rules are that it should be fitted by somebody authorised to do so – but this can be any qualified independent electrician – and also that the meter must be an MID meter approved for billing.

 

Here is a webpage which gives you a list of MID approved meters: –

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-meter-type-approval-certificates-annex-mi-003

 

Did you know that if you are in dispute with your energy supplier and it is considered that you have exhausted all avenues and yet the dispute is not resolved, that you can insist that your supplier arranges a meter determination which is carried out by the National Measurement Office – pursuant to schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989.

 

Once you have requested the determination, here is the procedure which your energy supplier must follow

Electricity ‘meter determination’

 

Electricity meters are generally reliable and major operational faults are rare. However, if you have considered all of the potential reasons noted above that could have caused a change in your energy bill; there is a chance that your meter may have developed a defect causing it to register inaccurately.

You should then contact your supplier who is required to investigate your complaint and make best efforts to resolve the problem (including the possible installation of a ‘check meter’ adjacent to the disputed billing meter). You may also want to consider contacting Citizens Advice Bureau for independent advice on energy supply.

As a final option when all other routes to settle the problem/dispute have failed, on request, the supplier will make arrangements for the accuracy of the meter to be verified by an independent meter examiner appointed by NMO under Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989.

This is known as a ‘meter determination’ and should be requested through your electricity supplier. However, it should be noted that around 93% of all electricity meters submitted for determination are found to be operating within statutory limits.

Electricity meter testing

 

Electricity meters are initially tested on-site. Your electricity supplier will carry out a preliminary accuracy check and, if necessary, arrange for one of their representatives to discuss any specific concerns.

If concerns over the meter persist, your supplier and/or Citizens Advice Bureau can facilitate a request for a meter determination whereby an independent meter examiner will review the facts surrounding the dispute and visit the property to carry out tests on the meter and the meter installation. Meter examiners are employed by SGS (UK) Ltd under contract to NMO to provide an independent meter examination service.

The independent meter examiner and a representative from the supplier will make arrangements to visit the property at a mutually convenient time. The meter examiner will conduct a series of tests on the meter in situ and the supplier’s representative will then remove the disputed meter and install a replacement. The meter examiner will then discuss the circumstances surrounding the dispute with the consumer. Finally, the meter examiner will take the disputed meter away for further testing at an independent laboratory. All consumers have the right to witness their meter being tested if they wish.

Following this, the meter examiner will analyse the results and issue a determination detailing their findings. Copies of the determination will be sent to the consumer, the electricity supplier and the owner of the meter (if applicable).

The determination will state if the disputed meters was:

 

  • of an approved pattern or construction, installed in an approved manner and certified (where necessary)
  • registering within or outside the prescribed statutory limits (currently +2.5% and -3.5% for UK nationally approved meters) together with any other applicable information
  • if registering outside statutory limits the meter examiner will make an estimate as to how long the meter has been so operating

Please note, for electricity meters approved under the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID), the prescribed statutory limits are detailed under paragraph 15, Schedule 1 of the the Measuring Instruments (Active Electrical Energy Meters) Regulations, (SI 2006/1679).

https://www.gov.uk/electricity-meter-accuracy-and-disputes#determination-process

 

I have found that the Electricity metering team at the National Measurement Office are extremely friendly and informative.

 

These rights are provided to you under the Electricity Act 1989. Why doesn't your energy supplier let you know about this?

 

 

  1. Because they don't like any independent scrutiny?
  2. Because they would rather sue your arse regardless of the justice of the case?
  3. Because they don't care about you the customer – they only care about their shareholders and their executive salaries?
  4. Because they are all Bloody lazy?
  5. All of the above?


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More than 3 million gas and electricity consumers have been overcharged by their supplier in the last year due to errors on their bills, costing them an average of £78 each, according to a study published on Friday.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/14/gas-electricity-consumers-overcharged-uswitch-study

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Thanks for this Bankfodder.

 

Adding to Michael Browne's comment, the Telegraph also published this the other day:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/energy-bills/11229164/Npower-the-decision-free-that-shows-how-it-calculates-your-billing-compensation.html

 

Lots more info regarding the billing errors, npower's (shambolic) internal process and stories from customers...

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Have you seen my long story on CAG?

 

It has been running for 3 years...

 

It is under heading of "non-existant Warrant" by npower.

 

It is a classic example of ABUSE by Energy companies.

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Great information I wish I had known this earlier; a year and a half ago my bill with EDF went from £50/month on a direct debit to £60 and then £80.

By March 2014 they wanted to change it to £164 a month despite my constant complaints that something must be wrong!!!

 

I asked for a second meter to be fitted and they told me my meter was fine and it would cost me £1000 for them to check my meter and fit a second one.

 

They told me that an average bungalow would use £1,500 electricity a year, despite the fact I have solid fuel heating.

 

The only way I got the meter changed was to refuse to pay and they fitted a key meter.

 

Surprise surprise every week since has been £14.50-£15.00 with no fluctuations and thats on a higher tariff than I was before.

 

Any ideas how i can now challenge them for a refund??

 

An electrician who used to fit meters told me that some of the digital ones are 10-20% out on accuracy - this is all wrong, yet I was made out to be the person at fault.

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I changed to sainsbury energy and my annual useage was 32% higher for gas and 25% less for elec...

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