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Ask Senior Partner Your Own Question
Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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Im not entirely sure if this is in the right section but....I

Customer Question

I'm not entirely sure if this is in the right section but....I have recently received an e-mail from my energy supplier saying we are over £1500 in debt as the direct debits they asked for haven't covered our actual usage. They said the first direct debit they asked for was based on the previous 12 months usage from this property. (it had been empty for 3 years before we took over it). I knew the original amount they asked for was low but expected them to pick up on this and amend it. As expected after 3 months in the property the direct debit was increased. But since then they haven't increased the direct debit and this has been over 9 months since that first increase resulting in the debt amount. They say on there bills they regularly check our usage to ensure we have a zero balance at our annual review. £1500+ is not a zero balance. We informed them of our babies arrival so presumably they become aware that our usage will go up and they can check it, also my wife deals with the bills as i work shift work and can find it difficult to speak to companies due to the times i work so thought this was best. Unfortunatly my wife was medically diagnosed with depression and a few things was forgotten about like taking actual readings. I expected them to be able to check our usage whether we take a reading or not. They are now expecting me to pay a direct debit of £448 (up from £118) for the first month and then 3 payments of £358 and then £247 a month thereafter. I feel hugely let down by this and as expected has completely knocked my wife's condition back hugely considering she seemed like she was getting better and am wondering if there is anything i can do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Hi thanks for your question. This is clearly a difficult issue and I can see why you may feel aggrieved. If the have allowed a huge deficit to build up then they ned to give you a reasonable time to pay it off. You ought also to have them check the meter building up a deficit of £1500 in a year seems excessive unless it is a big house.

You should however check you meter readings regularly but again you can reasonably expect them to come round and check themselves from time to time. Has the deficit built up because they only read the meter once in a year?
I would tell them it is not acceptable and I can see you have raised a complaint. I would offer t much lower repayment level and ask for some of it to be written off as it is their fault.

If it is not resolved satisfactorily then you can complain to the ombudsman -see here:
http://www.ombudsman-services.org/energy.html

From a legal perspective however you have to pay for the electricity you used and unless there is a fault there is not a great deal you can do other than complain