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The Masked Tulip

£5,000 Electric Bill

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Over on the UK asthma forum a lady has just posted the following - can anyone offer any sensible advice that might assist her?

Please, no catty remarks as she sounds in a mess.

http://www.asthma.org.uk/applications/discussion/view.rm?post_id=64349

I have been in my flat since 2006 when i moved in i never got a electric bill so i phoned around and everyone i asked said i wasnt with them i got told not to worry and i would get a bill before i new it 5 years later ive got a bill (in between i have been phoning electric companys to find out who im with) for over £5000 and have to pay £150 a month to n power they have told me ive been with them since 2007 so why have i never had a bill they said if i dont pay they will cut me off but i explained ive never had a bill from them the lady was very supportive on the phone and said the bill needs paying and i need a meter reading the problem is i live on a ground floor flat my key meter is in a cupboard outside my flat and its locked and i havent got a key i have phoned my council and they said they cant help with a key as im supposed to havea key and ive never had one so im so scared of been cut off i need my nebuliser and other medical equitment so i dont know what to do i cant afforf £150 a month plus my normal electric bill i cant eat or sleep just dont know what to do PLEASE help me if you can many thanks Kerry-anne xxxxxxxxx

If you can post helpful ideas/suggestions here and I will post them back over on the asthma forum.

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Over on the UK asthma forum a lady has just posted the following - can anyone offer any sensible advice that might assist her?

Please, no catty remarks as she sounds in a mess.

http://www.asthma.org.uk/applications/discussion/view.rm?post_id=64349

If you can post helpful ideas/suggestions here and I will post them back over on the asthma forum.

This is just a stalling tactic and not a solution.

If she has an electric cooker - just tell her to put a pan of spuds on the boil if they turn up to cut the leccy off.

I'm not taking the mickey, honest.

Remember reading that by law if the gas or electricity is cooking a meal, they can't cut it off and have to come back some other time.

Perhaps someone who knows what they're talking about could corroborate this

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Guest sillybear2

Advice? If you think you're getting away with something, you probably aren't!

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There are many oddities about what she's saying.

She calls it a key meter? If it's a key meter obviously she won't get a bill because she buys credit for her key week by week (for example). So lets assume she's wrong on that, and it's a "normal" meter.

If she's on a nebuliser they won't cut her off. Full stop.

5K for around four years sounds just plain wrong? I don't know what her usage is, but surely that's incorrect.

Whatever she actually owes, can be paid off very gradually. A company would rather be paid slowly than not paid at all. She needs to negotiate with them.

If a company doesn't receive readings or a response, they'll increase the estimate to get a fast response ;)

Anyway, looks like someone has offered her some good advice on the thread already.

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Seems the supplier has made a ****-up. If she can afford one, get a lawyer. If she can't, she should try Citizen's Advice.

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Actually this reminds me of a recent case I had to help with (I work in the industry). A woman with a child had lost power for three days. She'd been frantically contacting my company saying she needed help. Unfortunately my company told her she definately wasn't a customer, and to go elsewhere.

A colleague asked me if I'd visit the place unofficially. Once I'd gone in there and got the meter number, surprise surprise she was right all along. She WAS a customer haha, and after three days without power you can imagine her frame of mind. Poor kid too.

So this type of thing does happen :ph34r:

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She should ask for the contract she signed with them. My mother was "switched" a few years ago because the bloke in the downstairs flat switched, and they screwed up. No bill for ages, then a big bill from Southern Electric. They got very arsey until I phoned them and asked for details of what my senile old mother had signed (I laid it on pretty thick, I'm the concerned son, silly old dear has probably forgotten she switched etc), and they said, yes they had it. Could I have a copy I said, so that I can show her. So they sent it to me - signed by Mr Smith, the downstairs neighbour, with his flat number. They caved in almost immediately, bill set to zero, can we have you as a customer please.

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Seems the supplier has made a ****-up. If she can afford one, get a lawyer. If she can't, she should try Citizen's Advice.

+1

she could also contact Shelter, the Samaritans, citizens advice, any old union her husband was a member of, electircity ombudsman

sounds like a c*ck up

in practice, they probably have no idea how much leccy she has actually used, and in reality, she has probably used far less

IF she goes to the electric ombudsman, then they will probably do a deal and charge her far far far less

I think she sounds liek being from the generation that saw the electric board as part of the government and not an aggressive privatre sector operator, she needs cnadid help and understanding.

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1. I think there is a new law whereby if the supplier don't bill within a reasonable period of time, they cannot charge for an unbilled period longer than 12 months. However, I think there is an onus on the person moving in to tell the supplier that they have moved in. If she has proof, that she made contact with the electricity supplier asking them to take on the supply, then she should be fine. If she can't prove this, there may be difficulties.

2. You must have free access to your meter. It may be that it is just in an cabinet outside - but she doesn't have the 'key' - it's probably wrong to say that it is 'locked', as all cabinets use the same standard 'key'. It is not the electricity company's responsibility to supply the key, as the cabinet belongs to the house. The landlord is responsible for supplying a key - if it's an owner occupied property, than the owner is responsible for the key - they can easily be bought from B&Q or ebay for about £1. If she is being asked for a bill, she almost certainly doesn't have a 'key' (prepayment) meter - and I think that this was just a mistake in her question. If in a block of flats, the meters are in an electrical room , and that room is kept locked (with a proper lock) for health and safety reasons - the landlord must grant you access to that room, whenever reasonably required - you just ask, and they must unlock it, or provide you with the reading, within a reasonable period of time.

3. £5000 for 3 years sounds excessive - even £5000 for 5 years sounds a little excessive.

The easiest way to deal with the energy companies, in the first instance, is to contact energywatch. I've never found 1st level customer support from energy companies particularly helpful. I had a problem, where they were billing me for a neighbour's meter. I made dozens of calls, and several e-mail complaints, over 12 months. Nothing was done. I wrote one e-mail to energywatch, who forwarded it to the energy company - where it was obviously handled by a different complaints team. 1 week later, I had a letter of apology, and had an appointment for an engineer for the electricity company to come out and check the meter. Which he did. 1 week later, the account was sorted, and I had a nice cheque - to cover my overpayments, and a big discount for the inconvenience.

There is also the 'energy ombudsman' but they are not appropriate in this case. The ombudsman cannot help you, until you have had a 'final letter' from the head of customer services, saying that they have done everything they can. Without a copy of that letter, the ombudsman cannot take on your case.

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Forgive me but I don't have any sympathy for this idiot.

Nicked the electric for 5 years and now crying like a baby. FFS you reap what you sow.

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Forgive me but I don't have any sympathy for this idiot.

Nicked the electric for 5 years and now crying like a baby. FFS you reap what you sow.

If you can be arsed to read what she has wriiten, she did try to contact the supplier. Were you born a miserable so and so or have you had to work at it?

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Forgive me but I don't have any sympathy for this idiot.

Nicked the electric for 5 years and now crying like a baby. FFS you reap what you sow.

Well I dare you to post that on her thread :lol:

not

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If you can be arsed to read what she has wriiten, she did try to contact the supplier. Were you born a miserable so and so or have you had to work at it?

I read the whole thing and even visited the original thread. She obviously hasn't tried hard enough.

I have been in my flat since 2006 when i moved in i never got a electric bill so i phoned around and everyone i asked said i wasnt with them i got told not to worry and i would get a bill before i new it 5 years later ive got a bill (in between i have been phoning electric companys to find out who im with) for over £5000 and have to pay £150 a month to n power they have told me ive been with them since 2007 so why have i never had a bill they said if i dont pay they will cut me off but i explained ive never had a bill from them the lady was very supportive on the phone and said the bill needs paying and i need a meter reading the problem is i live on a ground floor flat my key meter is in a cupboard outside my flat and its locked and i havent got a key i have phoned my council and they said they cant help with a key as im supposed to havea key and ive never had one so im so scared of been cut off i need my nebuliser and other medical equitment so i dont know what to do i cant afforf £150 a month plus my normal electric bill i cant eat or sleep just dont know what to do PLEASE help me if you can many thanks Kerry-anne xxxxxxxxx

Look at the incredibly long sentences, devoid of good grammar and punctuation. This person is clearly dim-witted, or maybe just part of Labour's legacy on the new youth of today.

In fact, on closer examination, I think that is just one entire block of words. One sentence or one paragraph. Could give James Joyce a run for his money! :D

i got told not to worry and i would get a bill before i new it 5 years later ive got a bill

That's just classic. Don't worry, everything will be fine :D:D:D

This person is obviously a bit wet. She needs to rise above it and start banging some heads, being aggressive. She was just happy to pay nothing for 5 years, so much so she never bothered to even figure out the key system, whatever it is.

Well I dare you to post that on her thread :lol:

not

don't worry, I won't, I'm not that cruel :D

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I think most utility companies are signed up to some form of charitable trust to help vulnerable people in fuel poverty or fuel debt.

The link below might be a good starting place, page 9 covers NPower.

http://www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/files/Multi%20Trust%20Booklet%20March%2008.pdf

Might be worth contacting the British Gas one too as I think they might give grants even if the person is signed up with another company or has debts to other oganisations. Might be wrong on that but worth checking out.

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2. You must have free access to your meter. It may be that it is just in an cabinet outside - but she doesn't have the 'key' - it's probably wrong to say that it is 'locked', as all cabinets use the same standard 'key'. It is not the electricity company's responsibility to supply the key, as the cabinet belongs to the house. The landlord is responsible for supplying a key - if it's an owner occupied property, than the owner is responsible for the key - they can easily be bought from B&Q or ebay for about £1. If she is being asked for a bill, she almost certainly doesn't have a 'key' (prepayment) meter - and I think that this was just a mistake in her question. If in a block of flats, the meters are in an electrical room , and that room is kept locked (with a proper lock) for health and safety reasons - the landlord must grant you access to that room, whenever reasonably required - you just ask, and they must unlock it, or provide you with the reading, within a reasonable period of time.

Apparently it is like a house key.

THANKS again when i say its a key to get into the meter is is a cupboard so its like a house key then the meters are behinde that xxx

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Apparently it is like a house key.

Then the solution is simple.

As it's a flat, the landlord (or management, if she is an owner occupier) must either provide a key - or must open the cabinet with a reasonable period, following an request to do so.

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Then the solution is simple.

As it's a flat, the landlord (or management, if she is an owner occupier) must either provide a key - or must open the cabinet with a reasonable period, following an request to do so.

How is that a solution - because she did not have access she is not liable?

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How is that a solution - because she did not have access she is not liable?

No. She is liable - Not having access to the meter doesn't mean you aren't liable. And anyway, she did have access to the meter - all she needed to do was ask the management, and they would have opened the meter cabinet.

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No. She is liable - Not having access to the meter doesn't mean you aren't liable. And anyway, she did have access to the meter - all she needed to do was ask the management, and they would have opened the meter cabinet.

Ah, OK. I won't pass that on. Looks like she is going to go via the citizens advice.

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Over on the UK asthma forum a lady has just posted the following - can anyone offer any sensible advice that might assist her?

Please, no catty remarks as she sounds in a mess.

http://www.asthma.org.uk/applications/discussion/view.rm?post_id=64349

If you can post helpful ideas/suggestions here and I will post them back over on the asthma forum.

For starters they can't bill for more than a year of back useage of electricity.

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Ah, OK. I won't pass that on. Looks like she is going to go via the citizens advice.

It may still be worth passing on that it is the management who should be contacted. If, in the future, she needs to read the meter (otherwise, she could end up with unexpectedly high bills, if she ends up relying on estimates).

Citizens advice may be able to help, but I've never found them useful - indeed, I have on one occasion been given seriously incorrect advice.

The watchdog 'consumer direct' Consumer direct (formerly energywatch) are the correct people to go to, as they specialise in representing the public's complaints against energy companies (and billing problems, especially 'back billing', is the most common complaint that they handle). When I had my electricity troubles, as soon as nPower found out that I'd been to energywatch, they got their 'real' customer service team (not just the fob-off ones) on the job, and the problem was sorted in days.

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Are you sure? Do you have any links to that anywhere online?

See my link to Consumer direct.

Basically it says, that if an energy company has failed to send out a bill, they are barred from charging for more than 1 year (The consumer direct site says 2 years - but this was for the interim period after introduction of the new legislation in 2006. After July 2007, the time period was reduced to 1 year - see the OFGEM response to the billing 'super-complaint' Link). However, this is only if the energy company is at fault.

If there is proof that the customer contacted the correct energy company, then this is a clear cut case. If, however, and, sadly, as is more likely, there is no proof - then it's going to be her word against theirs.

If a customer fails to receive a bill (due to a failing by the customer) then the energy company is entitled to bill for all energy used (up to the statue of limitations - 6 years). But, if they do this, they must provide a monthly-repayment plan which will repay the debt, no faster than the duration of the unbilled period. (So, if you screwed up and didn't tell the energy compnay to send you a bill for 5 years, and they didn't attempt to send a bill to 'the occupier' - they can still bill you, but must permit you to pay over 5 years).

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She probably owes them nowt due to some technicality.

You can tell that by the way they've pulled a pointlessly enormous sum out of their **** to scare her into admitting something.

Bill for £5,000

Re estimated to £1,500

She'll feel relieved and so will they as they have cocked it up and she's probably within her rights to pay nowt.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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