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Hi all, asking for some advice on behalf of a family member.

 

She moved into a council flat 6 years ago and has never paid for her gas.

It is a pre paid meter setup, the meter is turning (quite fast) but the screen is blank. I

 

She has been given annual safety inspections by the council but nothing has been said and also received a yearly cold weather voucher from British gas!

 

I asked why she has never mentioned it and she said after she left it for a year she was scared of getting a massive bill, silly really as she now probably faces a much much bigger one. But anyway that is the situation at present.

 

Does anyone know what is going on and why she isn't having to top up the meter?

 

Also what is she likely to have to repay, from looking online it seems they can charge back 6 years?

 

Thanks for reading

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Sounds like a faulty meter. If she is a council tenant, probably best to contact the council and just say that the meter appears faulty i.e blank screen and meter turning fast when little gas is being used.

 

Best to not admit not paying for gas and be vague if answering any questions. Let the council or British Gas work out that gas has not been paid for. I would guess that BG would check the meter number against money paid for the supply, but your friend might be lucky and not be asked for any back payment. In theory, yes BG could ask for estimated annual usage going back 6 years, on the basis that your friend knew they were not paying for their gas usage.


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Is the meter making a loud twirling noise

If so it's the gas tap that's got stuck open

 

Bgas should still be sending quarterly statements/bills of usage

If they have not been

Then as it's their faulty meter

Under the back billing rule

They can only get 1 yrs estimated cost back

 

Dx


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Hi thanks for the replies. No it is not making any noise. Also not received any statements etc. from british gas, only the £15 payment every winter?!

 

I also think back billing only applies if you highlight the problem? not if say they come to read the meter and find you arent paying.

 

I asked what she would do if this happened and she said she would just say she topped it up £20 a week but didn't know what she was using as the display isn't working. I don't think they would believe this though and surely they could check if it's been topped up?

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Back billing should work if it's faulty nothing you need to do to invoke it no

 

Is it the brown type with a gas card to top up with?

And the oval red button


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Yes that's the type. However on the ofgem site it states this with regards to back billing

 

'It may not apply if you:

 

Have been using the gas or electricity supply but have made no attempt to contact the supplier to arrange payment. This includes moving into a property and making no attempt to let a supplier know you are the new tenant or homeowner

Have wilfully avoided payment

Have not co-operated with attempts to obtain meter readings or resolve queries requested by the supplier. This includes failing to allow access to the property or failing to respond to requests for meter details or meter readings.'

 

Which doesn't look good for her.

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I also think the back billing rule may not apply.

 

Which is why I suggested checking with council, as the house is a council property.

They may be interested in ruling out any safety issue first and arranging a quicker fix.

 

Perhaps if your friend plays ignorant, British Gas may never get around to checking the history of the meter.

They may simply fix it or install a new one and your friend can then pay for future usage.

Edited by dx100uk
quote

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Those meters run on batteries they need changing every 2 years!!

It's bgas that should be doing that and they have failed

 

There will be no data for them to read so ...They won't know if she's paid or not


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That sounds more promising than facing a 6 year bill.

 

Is there no other way for them to check when it failed then?

 

like i say the meter hasn't been read in 6 years and the only people who have been are the councils contractor who does an annual inspection but obviously doesn't look too much into the meter.

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they'll be no data for them to check

its BGAS property nothing to with the council


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Thanks, ( i know this is a bit naughty) she could just say 'oh i top it up £200 every 3 months, i didn't notice the display had gone blank etc'. and they have no way of proving otherwise?

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I don't think you need to say anything

just phone up Bgas tell them the display has gone

 

might not be a bad idea and ask if they can change it back to normal one as it was obv fitted went a previous tenant had debt.


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