Jump to content


Paying communal areas electric bill for 4years Npower help!


style="text-align: center;">  

Thread Locked

because no one has posted on it for the last 2160 days.

If you need to add something to this thread then

 

Please click the "Report " link

 

at the bottom of one of the posts.

 

If you want to post a new story then

Please

Start your own new thread

That way you will attract more attention to your story and get more visitors and more help 

 

Thanks

Recommended Posts

Hi all, new to the forum so apologies if I have posted in the wrong place. This is quite a long post as I want to be as thorough as possible, any advice would be appreciated.

 

I moved into my property (2 bed flat, all electric, no gas) in November 2011, shortly after moving in (Feb 2012) I received an electric bill from Npower for around £80/month in electricity. At this point I made a huge effort to lower my usage, to do this I did the following as well as many other things; I reduced my washing machine usage to 2 times a month, I turned off my water heater and used cold water only, I limited showers to 5mins Max on eco setting, I also stopped using all forms of electric heating.

 

Expecting this to drop my bills to around £40 I waited for my next bill, and again the bills where coming through at £80 - £120 a month, at this point I contacted Npower and requested they come inspect my meter. I made the same phone call 3-4 times over the course of 6 months and each time was told my usage was average and they wouldn't investigate, instead threatening to cut me off if I didn't pay my balance immediately.

 

Bringing us to today and my total payments to Npower have been in the region of £3700 - £4000 since November 2011, an average of approx £100/month and somewhere in the region of 9000kwh/year for a 2 bed flat occupied for the last 2years by just myself. Electric consumption is outlined above; one person, working full time, short showers, no heating EVER, no hot water heater and very infrequent use of cooker.

 

Last week whilst doing a meter read I decided to have a quick look at my meter and the cables attached etc, and noticed that my meter is connected to a separate fuse board for the communal lights, sockets, and alarm systems of the flats above me (I'm basement flat with my own door, meter is located in the entry area to the block of flats directly above me).

By killing the power to my flat and turning on the lights in the communal areas, and monitoring my meter, I have confirmed that I have been providing the electric for the communal areas since I moved in.

 

I have raised an official complain with Npower and have been told it will be investigated within 10 working days, what I'm wanting to know is, who is responsible for refunding my overpayments? I have been advised by CAB that Npower MUST correct my overpayment first, then persue the landlord for the energy used by the communal areas themselves. Is this the general practice? Or is it possible Npower can just tell me to speak to my landlord to get the money back?

 

Also after speaking to a former tenant of the flats who I knew from his time in the building, he has told me that several of the tenants have been using extension cables from the communal plug sockets (used for cleaning/contractors) to power heaters/appliances in their flats as a way to avoid using their own supply. Whilst this does explain why my usage is so high, how can I prove this is the case when requesting my overpayments back? I can get several tenants to write a statement saying they have witnessed this, but would it be helpful? I'm a little worried Npower are just going to try fob me off with a 10% refund when the real figure I should be refunded is likely to be closer to 70%/80%..

 

Any help much appreciated, thanks for reading

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try and find someone who can help.

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you pointed this out to the Landlord ?

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I made the letting agent aware and they said to keep them updated and let them know what Npower say.

 

I have asked this question on another forum and a user there has told me that it will not be Npowers responsibility, and that I will have to discuss with the landlord to get my money back. This totally contradicts what CAB told me, so now I'm unsure again.

 

Am I contracted to pay for the electricity used at my address or the electricity used by my electric meter?

 

It was my understanding I pay for the electric in my house, and if Npower (as legal owners of the meter) are billing me for usage from outside my property it should be there problem to correct..

 

Can anyone shed any light on this?

 

Thanks for the reply also, your help is much appreciated

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it were me I'd be taking lots of detailed photographs of your fuseboard / meter layout. Keep them in a safe place.

 

Maybe also make a video showing your meter registering usage even with all your appliances off, although not sure how practical this is to achieve. Do you have an isolator switch before your meter? Can you turn off the main isolator on your consumer unit to kill power to your flat? If so this would be an excellent diagnostic test to record.

 

Seriously consider getting an independent electrical engineer to inspect the current layout and write a report - you may need to rely on something like this later.

 

Check your tenancy agreement to see if it mentions anything about supplying communal areas with electricity (although I imagine this would be grossly unfair).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have documented everything in great detail, including me killing all power to my supply and recording the disc in the meter still spinning, then also killing power to the communal areas and the disc stops. Have also documented me plugging a table lamp into all sockets to confirm they are active also just in case.

 

Have considered the statement from an electrician but wasn't sure it was necessary with all the video evidence and pictures, there is nothing in my tenancy regarding this.

 

As stated previously, people on another forum seem to think it is not Npowers responsibility and they have billed me correctly, any thoughts on this theory?

 

I was of the understanding that I pay for the electric at my property, and it is the suppliers responsibility to ensure my meter was for my property alone. I fully appreciate it isn't something Npower would be aware of, but I did make them aware 3 years ago that something wasn't right and they refused to investigate their meter for faults

Link to post
Share on other sites

The written report from a qualified electrical engineer will give you something to fall back on in the event either your landlord or Npower mess about.

 

What you don't want to happen is someone comes along to rectify the wiring, but then try to bill you for energy previously consumed - as you then have your main source of evidence gone.

 

From what you have said so far, and the electrical layout, it sounds like your landlord's liability. Strictly speaking Npower's responsibility stops at the meter. Unless there is some legislation somewhere that specifically covers this situation. See what others chime-in with.

 

Not sure where you'd go from here. I'd imagine you still technically have to pay Npower but claim back from your landlord.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am quite certain in my mind that your contract is for the supply to your flat and that any other energy use is the problem of Npower and that it falls to them to correct the situation and to recover any unpaid money from those who Npower can identify as having used the power.

It seems that there has been theft of electricity here which I think is contrary to S.7 Theft Act 1968 - or it was once upon a time.

 

I think that an expert report from an electrician would be very helpful because once Npower decide to take notice, there is likely to be a change of meter which means that evidence will be removed and you will be unable to access it in order to prove your case.

 

I'm not sure how you are going to do it but you also need to try and find out the history of the meter - when it was installed, who installed it etc.

A competent electrical expert might be able to tell you this and also if the present wiring represents the original installation or whether it has been hacked in some way.

 

At some point you should inform the police and get a crime reference number. However, delay on this until you have accumulated as much information as possible.

 

At some point you will have to look to Npower for a refund and if necessary you will need to make a claim for the return of money paid under a mistake.

Do you know who the previous occupier was and can you contact them?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea that's something I will likely look into tomorrow, as stated I have made lots of videos and detailed photos so am not too concerned about someone correcting the wiring, seems like it might be the landlord I need to persue from what most have said so far.

 

Who's responsibility would it be to fit a new meter? I believe its going to be a case of either split the supply so the communal area has a separate meter and its own account for energy, or we have a sub meter fitted that allows me to accurately gauge how much energy the communal area is using, then recover this on a monthly/quarterly basis between myself and the landlord.. Who is responsible for the cost involved in both of these options?

 

 

Edit; thanks bankfodder for the reply.. That's what I though was the case.. I pay for the electric at my property and anything I'm billed for from outside my property shouldn't be my responsibility to pay and chase up..

 

Can anyone confirm what is correct?

 

Either I'm contracted to pay for the electric used at my property.. Or I'm contracted to pay for the electricity consumption registered by the meter that's associated with my property

Edited by Alexhudds
Link to post
Share on other sites

Where are you in the country?

Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, the CAB are correct and so are we.

It is nonsense to say that you are responsible for recovering money paid beyond your contract.

If the meter had been hacked during your occupancy it might be a different story but I understand that you have inherited the situation.

It may be that the meter has nor been hacked and that it was installed that way from the outset. In that case it will be the responsibility of the landlord to sort it out with Npower.

 

How long has the landlord had the property? When was it converted?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm west Yorkshire > Huddersfield

 

Property was converted around 20years ago I believe, and it doesn't look as though its been recently "hacked" I think it's just always been wired up that way and I'm the only one who's noticed.

 

Edit; after speaking to a former tenant he seems to think that my flat (basement) wasn't converted at the same time as the rest of building and landlord was using it as storage, thus why its tied to the communal areas. He then converted the basement but never split the supply

 

Thanks for your post it has helped clarify what I though, and a quick check at my npower terms seems to imply my contract is for my address.. Not the meter (I understand the meter is tied to my address but I'm not contracted to pay for usage of a totally separate address/addresses that is also tied to that meter.

 

Is this a definate answer in terms of liability or should I be making more phone calls to ofgem/CAB to confirm with more clarity?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not call Ofgem as well? It won't hurt.

 

Read our customer services guide before you start using the phone - especially when dealing with Npower and your landlord.

 

It seems from the story that you have that the landlord will be responsible. Tread carefully until you have all the info you need as when you break the news to the landlor, it isn't going to be pretty.

Get an independent electrician to give you a report. I think that this is important and fairly urgent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We found with a relatives flat that her meter was used in regard to power for a few outside lights to her blocks of flats. When she had to move and we turned her electric off, other residents complained about the outside lights not being on at night. You may find that you can be responsible for some lights outside of your flat, but not all of the communal area power. As far as I am aware there is no such thing as a communal meter for electricity usage in communal areas which the landlord sorts out. So this may be a tricky situation to sort out.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I will have a read, thanks again.

 

Just to clarify, when youbsay the landlord is responsible, we mean that the landlord is the one who connected my property to the communal area and never split the supply..

 

But am I still correct in thinking that it shouldn't be my responsibility to chase? Should it still be npower that refund me given that I'm being charged for usage that isn't contracted between myself and npower (usage not at my property)..

 

Or does the fact the landlord is responsible for the supply being on the same meter in some way mean that I do have to recover the money from him?

 

The way I see it I feel I should be reimbursed for the usage that wasnt at my property (as I'm not bound by contract to pay that usage) then npower will have to seek out the landlord themselves to recover any.monies owed in relation to the communal area?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought: how is the OP going to be able to show what their actual usage was?

 

Ideally need some way of measuring their actual usage over a longish time period, or the communal area...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eversir; this is exactly my concern, I have spent 4 years of hell living in a cold property using little to no appliances, using minimal washing loads and taking short cold showers in winter while some unemployed idiot upstairs has been running 3kwh fan heaters at my expense since 2011..

 

The only thing I can think is they will work off averages and estimations like most suppliers (which from my research should still give me about a 50% refund), but I genuinely believe my usage to be closer to 20% of the amount iv paid than 50%

 

All I can do is get former tenants to fill out witness statements for Npower/landlord stating what they have seen, (extension cables into flats etc) and see what they say, and if I'm still unhappy with their estimated refund offers I can take it to the ombudsman and let them investigate

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Alexhudds

 

Have you also considered reporting this as meter tampering fraud?

 

Have a look at this link: http://www.ukrpa.co.uk/report-energy-fraud

 

Does the landlord of your property by any chance own any other properties in the building?

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

All of the error and wrongdoing is down to the freeholder of the property. If it is YOUR consumer unit just pull out the relevant fuses and get an electrician to have a gander at the fuseboard to see if anything inside your flat is on the same circuits.

You may have a bit in your leas about power for lights within the building but this is not the same as being free electric for one and all. I wouldnt expect any sockets in communal areas that can be accessed by anyone other than LL for maintenace purposes. What sometimes happens is a primary meter to the building has all of the electric running from it and the secondary meters are then read after the electric co have supplied the LL with a bill and he divvies up that bill accordingly. The bad part about this is that the LL can charge his own rate for fuel used. Better off with a separate meter and pay the extras as part of annual service charges providing proper accountability for the amount billed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
All of the error and wrongdoing is down to the freeholder of the property. If it is YOUR consumer unit just pull out the relevant fuses and get an electrician to have a gander at the fuseboard to see if anything inside your flat is on the same circuits.

You may have a bit in your leas about power for lights within the building but this is not the same as being free electric for one and all. I wouldnt expect any sockets in communal areas that can be accessed by anyone other than LL for maintenace purposes. What sometimes happens is a primary meter to the building has all of the electric running from it and the secondary meters are then read after the electric co have supplied the LL with a bill and he divvies up that bill accordingly. The bad part about this is that the LL can charge his own rate for fuel used. Better off with a separate meter and pay the extras as part of annual service charges providing proper accountability for the amount billed.

 

The wrongdoings may be the LL but the contract and the overpayment and the refund is down to the supplier

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the meters at the property have been mucked around with, then surely NPower have an investigation team who can come out to see what is happening. When you convert any property and there is a change to metering, you have to get the power company responsible for the meter to come out to make the necessary changes. If the LL gas not done this, then NPower can look to them to pay for the supply issues to be rectified, with the wiring changed.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

Link to post
Share on other sites

I still think you will be hitting your head against a brick wall if you try and force supplier to refund you as it appears the meter is not faulty and covers the property it is installed in and not things like street lights where they would have to do something. I think your LL has been reckless by allowing the situation to be as it is and there is a lot of mileage in going after recompense from them. If the situation has been dragging on since the conversion then it makes one wonder why the previous occupants didnt say something themselves. If they did then you need to get a witness statement from them as part of your leverage towards your LL. If you think there has been negligence on the part of Npower then say how. The only thing I could point to with any certainty is if they fitted the meter at the time of the later conversion and didnt follow the instruction of the LL at that time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Would not recommend the OP starts pulling out fuses on his consumer unit unless he's sure what he's doing. This may expose live parts which could pose a danger.

 

If it's the newer style fuses, the OP can safely switch them off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well you have found the problem . I think you could have applied the logic earlier i.e. switch everything off and see if the meter is still running . Switch off the fuse to the communal area and take a nice warm shower!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...