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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask do you know how the circumstances arose that a bill has not been paid for more than 12 months please?
Were bills simply not sent by British Gas?
***** ***** suffered severe dementia and would not have even recognised bills. Lewes County Council took out a CCC against her whilst she was hospitalised and we have just paid their final bill. In our opinion bills were not paid due to the dementia. Bills were found on the door-mat which remained unpaid. The current final billing has just a previous balance with no exacting dates. Pamela was hospitalised in August 2014 until her death on 2.12.14. The property remained empty during this time with the gas on low. The property was sold 20.3.15
Thank you. British Gas as subject to the Energy UK billing code of practice. If it does not comply with the code of practice then it may not seek to back bill more than 12 months. The code of practice applies to all citizens of the UK and equally applies after someone has passed away as it does when they are alive.
In order to benefit from the limitation of 12 months it would be necessary for you to show on behalf of Pamelas estate that she did not deliberately avoid payment nor failed to respond to attempts to obtain meter readings or answer suppliers queries.
Thanks. Would that 12 months commence 2.12.14 on Pamela's Death or 20.3.15 when the respective property was sold?
If BG has tried to obtain valid readings or were not allowed access to the property or has made enquiries which were not responded to then they may entitled to bill back more than 12 months.
The 12 month period is calculated based on the date of the bill that is in dispute.
There is a very helpful guide to the code of practice you can find here which also contains examples you can use to determine if you have grounds to dispute BGs bill at the following link:
If you believe BG has failed in its obligations to obtain valid readings or make enquries so as to attempt to avoid billing for a period in excess of more than 12 months by reference to the above guide, then executors can initial complain to British Gas and if not satisifed, refer the complaint to the ENergy Ombudsman which can made a determination which is binding on British Gas. The service is free.
Pamela had hallucinations and severe dementia and on occasion would not allow people into the property because of unrealistic fears caused by her illness - would this factor affect the access issue and respective rights of British Gas
It is up to British Gas to show evidence that they attempted to obtain meter readings. If they can show records that they attempted to read meters but were refused this will be a defence for British Gas in respect of its obligations to obtain regular readings. They still have obligations in respect of making enquiries and regular billing though as above and as set out in the above code of practice guide
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
No thank you very much
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