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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a problem regarding my utility payments. I live in on

Customer Question

I have a problem regarding my utility payments. I live in on my own in a one bedroom flat. I was paying british gas for both my gas and electricity by direct debit. the debit was set up in oct 2011 and it was agreed that I would be paying £51 for both my gas and electricity. only a couple of months later I received a letter advising me that this would be decreased to £41 and then very soon afterwards I received another advising me that it would be dropped again to £25 per month which at the time I was delighted about. Recently british gas advised me that my DD would be increasing to £115 which I was obviously concerned about as it so high in comparisant to my previous payment plan. When I contacted british gas they told me that there was now a debit on my account of £850. This had occurred due to energy charges added to my account through estimated meter readings. I set up an online account with british gas so I could view these estmiations and charges. It turned out that when I first moved in BG were estimating my usage at a ridiculously low level and six months or so after I moved in to this flat an actual meter reading was taken which proven my usage to be very high in comparasant to their estimations and this is when a large energy charge was added to my account and so began the snowball effect of this debit. Nobody from british gas a the time made an effort to contact me and I continued to pay only £25 per month. I find it concerning how british gas were all to keen to decrease my DD when estimated readings were added to my account but then made no effort to increase my DD when an actual meter reading was taken, it's almost as if this company wants me to eventually find myself in debt to them. When I contacted british gas they did also admit to me that a mistake was made in the early months regarding my usage, I have the email saved. I have now changed to First Utility but british gas are demanding that I pay off the remaining balance. What I would like to know is what kind of consequences might I find myself subject to if I was to boycott the payment.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

At least once every 12 months the utility company MUST get an actual reading, rather than an estimated reading.

Alex Watts :

If they do not you can complain and they should wipe any debt off (estimated) over 12 months old. There is guidance they have signed up to which confirms this.

Alex Watts :

You should write and complain citing they have failed to obtain an actual reading and they can not go back from estimated more than 12 months

Alex Watts :

If this does not fix the problem then you can complain to the Ombudsman their website is: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/energy.html

Alex Watts :

If that does not resolve it then you can complain to the regulator www.ofgem.gov.uk

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

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