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Moved into a building part of a housing scheme, electricity bill insanely high

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Hi,

 

I moved into a one-bedroom rented flat at the end of December and got my first electricity bill toward the end of January, totaled at approx £180. I knew I had used the heating a bit excessively over the past month as January was cold, however I was still surprised to see that I am charged £140 for heating only (at around 10p per kilowatt). The other thing was that I am charged with two standing charges - 25p/day for electricity and 75p/day for "Band 5", which I found goes to the developer of the building and is based on the size of the property. This means that I have to pay £30 a month in standing charges even if I don't use any electricity or heating at all.

 

I switched everything off immediately and had an engineer coming over to check the meter, which he tested and found it is working okay. The meter readings are transmitted electronically to the supplier so when I got the bill I compared it with the current instant reading and it was about right. However, I only have the first reading at the start of the tenancy for the electricity only and not the one for the heating, which were provided to me by the agency, so I wonder if there is a way to check if the one for the heating is also correct?

 

I watched the meter for a while and noticed that with thermostat set to 18-19 degrees and heaters open at max, it rolls 1 kilowatt per about 10 minutes. Some quick calculations later and I found that if I use the heating for 2.5h per day it will cost me around £40 without the standing charges, which will nearly double my bill.

 

I have spoken with an advisor at another supplying company and checked with them if there is any way to switch, however they couldn't help much. I understand that if I switch suppliers, the whole building will have to switch too as part of the scheme. I also understand that I have little control over leaving the scheme (if this is even possible), as I am only a tenant and not the owner of the property.

 

Is there anything I can do to reduce this bill or fight this before it takes me to bankrupt? My tenancy is on a 12-month basis and leaving the flat earlier is hardly an option.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

L

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Why on earth do you have to pay 75p a day to the developer of the building ?

 

I will try and find someone who might be able to help you with this.


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I think when they've completed it they've signed a lease with the supplier to put the whole building with them and in return get the standing charge.

 

These are only rumours but from what I've heard, everyone is getting ripped off.

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why the 75p/day for the developer? becasue they are allowed to charge it if the leccy comes through their meter before going to the individaul meters. A common thing on mobile home parks etc, less common in a solid building. You might need to have a look at the wiring for the block if the meters are in a communal place and see if there is any mileage in the LL claims cos if the meters are individual then you can just change supplier and that is that-no contract. Check your meter number and just ask another supplier about switching and if they dont have a MPAN then you cant.

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Hi ericsbrother,

 

Thanks for the advise. The meters are inside the flat so only I have access to them (and as I mentioned, the supplier is getting the readings by automated transmission).

 

I would be a bit wary fiddling with wires myself - as far as I understood what the engineer checked was whether there is anything going through the valve when the heating is switched off, and it was fine.

 

When I spoke with the other supplier about switching to them they said they can't find my postcode in the national database and I did ask my current supplier for MPAN, but they said they don't have them and I need to speak with the person in charge of the housing scheme (I keep calling it housing scheme, not even sure if it's the right term!).

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You're apparently using 46.6KW per day, Almost the same as having a 2KW heater on 24/7...

 

Is your heating Gas / Electricity / Communal?

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Hi,

 

Heating is communal, there is no gas supply in the property.

 

The second bill, for January/February, arrived today and here is a rough breakdown:

 

Heating/Hot Water: £35;

Electricity: £7;

Standing charges (electricity + band 5 apartment): £8 + £23;

VAT: £4, coming to a total of £76 for 32 days.

 

This is with heating completely switched off from the main with the exception of around 3-4 days when the engineer and I were fiddling with the meter.

 

Thanks

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Hi

 

With the building are they using a district heating system to provide heating & hot water? (What you then have in the individual flats is a heat exchanger and meter)

 

What does your Tenancy Agreement say about the utilities?

 

Did you sign any separate agreement for the utilities? i.e. heating & hot water


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I bet you have a main meter that the landlord pays 12p a unit for the leccy that passes through it and then bills you another amount for your consumption. This can be anything he fancies charging

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Hi,

 

stu007 -

 

I am not sure about the district heating system, but I think this is the case. There is a small 8L boiler-looking kit and a separate meter installed for the heating/hot water additionally to the one for electricity. I also know the supplier owns the generator/substantion, if this helps.

 

In regards to utility bills, the Tenancy Agreement, it states the following:

 

"The Tenant shall: b) Upon signing this agreement as soon as reasonably practicable place all telephone and utility accounts into the name of the tenant and pay all charges for the use of gas, electricity, water (if not included in the service charge) and telephone consumed or supplied on or to the property during the term of this agreement including all rentals, standing and other recurring charges and not to allow any of the said services to be disconnected, altered or removed and shall ensure that the said services are operating throughout the tenancy.".

 

There is a "Disclosure of Tenant's details to Spark Energy" at the bottom, and Spark Energy is not my current supplier! I did contact them about switching, as I said in my original post, and they could not help because of the missing MPAN numbers from the database. The disclosure states:

 

"
a) At the start of the lease gas and electricity will be provided, or will be in the process of being provided by Spark Energy Supply Limited ("Spark Energy"). However this will not prevent the Tenant from changing to a different energy provider if desired.

 

b) The tenant agrees that the letting agent may pass the tenant's name and contact details to Spark Energy for the purposes of:

- registering the gas and electricity meters at the property in the tenant's name with Spark Energy, providing gas and electricity to the tenant and administering the Tenant's account with Spark Energy;

- registering the tenant with the relevant local authority for the payment of council tax;

- registering the tenant with the local water supplier to the property.

 

c) Enabling Spark Energy or a third party with a broadband and telephony provider to provide the Tenant further information about its services and products with a view to concluding an agreement with the Tenant for those services and products offering (although the tenant will be under no obligation to enter into discussions with such provider and may change to a different provider if desired)

 

d) Spark Energy will use the Tenant's details only for the purposes set out above and not in any other way. Spark energy will comply with its obligations as a data controller in the Data Protection Act 1998 and will handle tenant's data in the manner set out in Spark Energy's standard terms and conditions and/or privacy notice. If the tenant has any questions regarding details or use of the tenant's data held by Spark Energy, the tenant may contact Spark Energy.
"

This disclosure is completely inaccurate. Do you think I can do anything about it? I don't want to move out, but if there is no way the landlord can help me with the bills, would it be possible to reduce the tenancy length from 12 to 6 months based on this?

 

ericsbrother -

 

I am not sure which one is the main one or if there is additional one outside the property, but I know for sure that I am paying all charges from the ones within the flat - heating/hot water, electricity, water, standing charges, and the landlord is not paying anything.

 

Thanks,

 

L

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What I meant is in some properties and places like mobile home parks there is a main meter that then has all of the subsidiary supplies and meters running from. The landlord has the contract with the supply co and then "sells" the electricity to the tenants as measured by their consumption on their own meters. these subsidiary meters dont have an MPAN and the landlord charges what he need or wants to for the supply to the individual.

Your meter should have a couple of long numbers on it to identify it as one that has its own supply and any energy co can tell you the meter code and who the supplier currently is.

The standing charge should be what the energy company sets but it looks as though you are paying a hefty whack as a SC for the communal heating and that has nothing to do with the energy co but is decided by the LL

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Thanks, this makes sense.

 

I have spoken with a couple of neighbours and there is definitely no way I can switch providers unfortunately.

 

 

Is there anything I can do to get out of my tenancy before December based on the false disclosure in my previous post?

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

L

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Why are you speaing to your neighbours instead of ringing up ANY utility company and asking them so you get the correct answer rather than an assumed answer.

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This is similar to what has happened in the area where I live it's going to cost the LA £1m!!!!

 

Might be of interest to you see here >> http://m.echo-news.co.uk/news/14174284.__1million_windfall_for_overcharged_tenants/


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read that link MM, note that council are destroying the english language to make it look like it is not their fault they have overcharged for years.

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Thanks, both.

 

I may have confused you with wrong terminology as I am not familiar with it. I want to clarify that I am a private tenant and I am not using any housing or council benefits; I pay my monthly rent entirely by myself. The scheme I was talking about is this - https://www.energbilling.co.uk/Home/FAQ/

 

 

I have spoken with the current supplier, a different supplier and my agency already and they all say the same thing - unless the landlord covers the expenses for new boiler/meters/anything else associate with this, there is no way I can switch to a different provider.

 

 

Is it possible I can negotiate lower rent amount/shorter tenancy length based on the false disclosure in my tenancy agreement?

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

L

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Hi,

 

Heating is communal, there is no gas supply in the property.

 

The second bill, for January/February, arrived today and here is a rough breakdown:

 

Heating/Hot Water: £35;

Electricity: £7;

Standing charges (electricity + band 5 apartment): £8 + £23;

VAT: £4, coming to a total of £76 for 32 days.

 

This is with heating completely switched off from the main with the exception of around 3-4 days when the engineer and I were fiddling with the meter.

 

Thanks

 

 

This sounds about right. My heating is £7.35 per week (£31.85 a month) fixed on a pre-pay meter. About £30 elec a month. 1 bed flat with communal heat exchanger.

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so how much are you being charged per kWh/hr for your electric? industry average is about 12.5p a kW so if you are paying substantially more than that you are being ripped off for the energy as well as the so called standing charges set by your LL.

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