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We signed a rental agreement for a new property in Cowpe on the 1st December 2017,

having recently had a baby and a wedding on the 29th December we decided to speak with our then current landlord,

a friend of the family,

to see if we could take our time moving our possessions.

All this was fine.


My fiance rang Utility Warehouse,

our current provider and asked them to transfer our account to the new property.

We started to move our belongings into the new property.


Most of the larger furniture was in,

with the help of friends on the morning of the 13th December we packed an overnight bag and bedding and all the necessary baby equipment.


When we got to our new house we were disgusted to find that somebody had been into the house.

On the table next to the door was a piece of paper and a plastic key.


The paper was an ‘access notice’’ from SSE, a utility company.

They had broken into the premises and fitted prepayment meters for the gas and electricity.

There was no other information except the details of debt owed on the same notice.


We tried to call SSE but the mobile signal was non-existent and we had no internet or telephone line.

We messaged our new landlord to see if he had prior knowledge of SSE coming to the house.

Our new landlord had no idea that SSE was even the supplier to the premises.

There was no mail in the house after the purchase as it was a repossession and the letter box had been screwed shut.


We were both really upset about the fact we had no details on how to use prepayment meters,

somebody had broken into the premises without any contact from them beforehand,

the mess they had left in the dining room,


the fact that to anybody,

a family was just moving into the property with a huge sign outside the front door saying LET agreed,

cards on surfaces saying welcome to your new home and boxes of belongings in every room.


We finished unloading the van we had borrowed and drove to a shop to ask them how we put money on the meter.

This they did for the electricity but to do the gas meter we needed a card.


We called SSE from the van outside as the shop assistant had suggested.

The call took 53 minutes and the SSE employee gave us a number that the shop could then use to top up.


We went back into the shop and gave the lady the number.

She said that the number is not accurate as it had too many digits.

We thanked her and tried in two other shops on the way back to the new property,

they all said the same thing,

the number has too many digits.


It was a bitterly cold night and because of the amount of money that had already been used on the emergency £5 electric they had left us with,

within a day it had used £2 with only the fridge and an extractor fan on,

we decided that we would not risk staying the night,

packed up the things that we would need for the child and drove back to our old home,

in a blizzard, only to sleep on the floor.


The next day we rang SSE from our old home as we still had telephone and internet.

They asked me who I was and apparently this was when I became a customer of SSE.


The call took 1 hour 7 min.

The SSE employee went to a scripted call and told us about the tariff and the contract that we had signed onto,

the employee was very apologetic,

her manager had told her to do so.


ur understanding was we had been forced into a contract with SSE.

We arranged a call back.

The call back took 31 minutes and we got cut off on a transfer.


We called them and the call was 49 minutes,

this last call was to arrange removal of the prepayment meters.


In this time we had arranged that it would take SSE until the 15th January 2018 to remove the pre payment meters.

We asked to be transferred to a complaint handler as we had a complaint.


A manager picked up the phone, we asked for a complaint handler.

The next day we had a missed call from the complaint handler because we were on the phone asking Utility Warehouse if these problems would affect the change over.


It was a short message, left no details and he said he would call the next day.

This is the last we heard from SSE for the year.


My fiance was finding that the stress was now affecting her and we then had to rely on the frozen milk that she had been determined to donate to the East Lancashire hospitals.

We tried to concentrate on the house move, wedding and baby and not SSE.


On the 28th of December 2017 our gas transferred to Utility Warehouse and on the 2nd January 2018 our electric transferred to Utility Warehouse.

They were very supportive and helpful.


Following the wedding in Eire and the 12th night celebration in Edgeworth,

I went back to work,

my now wife was still on maternity.


We were still moving bits and pieces and making sure the house we were leaving was empty, clean and tidy.

I had printed the forms for the Financial Ombudsman as I had an inclining that SSE were not a very good company.


On the 15th January 2018 an engineer knocked on the door,

my wife was busy with the baby and when she got to the door the engineer had left a card.


She rang SSE to rearrange a time, the call was 20 minutes.

Unbelievably they said an an engineer can call back that afternoon,

not a month later,

it was not an SSE engineer but an employee from the National Grid.

They told my that the SSE electric engineer would arrive the same morning.

My wife felt positive.


The gas engineer arrived in the afternoon,

he was unable to change the meter as he had the incorrect information,

he was there to replace a credit meter.


My wife rang SSE again and was told that we were no longer customers of SSE and the electricity meter exchange had been cancelled and they would not be rearranging the gas exchange either, it was down to Utility Warehouse to sort things out. The call took over an hour.


SSE said they would send a cheque for the £20 debt repayments that we had been making each week to the outstanding debt that did not belong to us, but they were now unable to stop our repayments because we were no longer customers of SSE.


My wife asked about our complaint only to be told it had been cancelled on the 29th December, when she queried why she was told that we had arranged the meter replacement for this date.


The day we were being married in Ireland.

We finally got an email contact for a complaint handler and a reference number but my wife cannot speak to this company as she is not the customer.

I am not and will never be a customer of SSE.


We have felt violated by SSE and they do not seem to understand how despicable they are as a company.

My wife tells me that the people on the end of the phone are not to blame for this situation

but I see everyday how we have suffered because of this awful company.


Only this morning I could not have a shower because we had no credit on the meter.

SSE continue to send mail to this address for the customer who the debt belongs to,

we have been receiving at least 3 letters each week, we keep returning to sender.


If possible can somebody advise us as to how we can get SSE to acknowledge their shortcomings on customer service and stop their corporate abuse.

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If Utility Warehouse (UW) took over the supply before SSE changed the meters then take it up with UW. Their industry operations people will talk to SSE and get this resolved.


If the transfer to UW failed, then I would still take it up with UW, as they should have noted the supply problem at the address and warned you.


Remember you are a customer of whichever energy company you have selected as your suppliers and not the energy company left behind by previous occupiers of the house. Yes SSE have taken actions regarding the supply at the address, but did they have any info on the changing ownership/occupation of the house ? From SSE's point of view they were following standard processes to stop meters registered with them racking up bills for usage that might not be paid.


Unfortunately your experience happens every week to people around the country and all energy suppliers will do this. They apply to Magistrates to obtain a warrant to force entry as part of the meter replacement process. The energy companies are not advised by the people selling a house that change of ownership is taking place. Perhaps if they were then this type of situation might be avoided.

We could do with some help from you.



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Thank you for the reply unclebulgaria. Having this situation still ongoing it is of little comfort to know that these companies do this to other people on a regular basis and make no attempt to contact people living in the property. Months will have passed before we moved into the premises. SSE made us feel sick to our stomachs and added a lot of stress and inconvenience to an already difficult time. The customer service at SSE is repugnant. Surely this needs to stop happening, should we be contacting the media or our local MP. We still need to wait a few weeks before we can contact the Ombudsman.


Best regards.

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Would it be possible for readers of the forum to share their experiences of similar situations. We feel that should this be happening once a week to other people, especially if the company is SSE, then this is a way to help each other. God Bless. Thanks.

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