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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70180
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Some 3 years ago my EDF domestic electricity account

Resolved Question:

Some 3 years ago my EDF domestic electricity account was apparently hijacked and transferred to nPower without my consent or even knowledge. In addition, it appears this process was bungled, because my name hasn't appeared on the National Database entry for my meter, and this meter has been marked there as disconnected (although since I contacted nPower last week, these may have been remedied). Since then I have received no electricity bills, but I assumed these were being paid by direct debit. So of course by now a significant charges will have been clocked up. Now I am content to pay a reasonable amount of arrears, say for six months, and settle this amicably with normal billing hereafter as an nPower customer. But when I explained the situation to them, they say I now have to pay the arrears for all usage since the account was transferred, and this figure will be several thousand pounds. So I wondered if I had a case to contest this, given that they have been remiss, and if so can a solicitor or firm specialising in these disputes be recommended. John XXXXXXX***@******.***

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Are you asking if you have to pay?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your prompt reply


 


I'm asking if I have to pay for the entire period since the account was transferred and I received no bills (because nPower had no record of my name).


 


I'm content to pay _some_ of the arrears, and I'm told the standard in cases like this where the supplier is at fault is 1 year. But they expect me to pay 3 years.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

I need about 10 min to type out an answer but I'm afraid it is bad news.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Oh dear, OK thanks.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the information and the time.

I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.

Im afraid they are entitled to collect the arrears. There's no way of sugar coating it. Come what may, they were not paid and they are entitled to be. I realise it was caused by their own inefficiency but thats not a defence to a claim under the law of contract.

They do actually have six years to recover under the Limitation Act 1980 and they could argue that because this is an ongoing contract they have even longer than that because time has not begun to run.

Most energy companies will only claim for the last year. That is merely a policy though.

It is probably a good idea to ask them to accept one year's payment in full and final settlement. Regardless of what they will get at court they might accept that.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That sounds reasonable, except that I wonder if nPower did have a valid contract, or any contract, with me at all.


 


As I said, I was with EDF, under my own name as usual. But when my account was moved to nPower behind my back, nPower had no record of my name, and indeed they thought my meter had been disconnected, despite the fact that it was still in use.


 


Also, I was totally unaware of all these goings on. So it can't be said I had tacitly agreed to the new arrangement.


 


But if those considerations are all irrelevant, I guess I must accept that I am liable for all the arrears.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If they were providing your utilities then there will be a contract I'm afraid.

I'm very sorry.
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