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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8444
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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For Ben Jones,
Assistant: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: For Ben Jones, my question relates to Scottish Power and whether or not a contract exists between Scottish Power and me bearing in mind I bought 2 No lock up garages with electric meters installed in 2008 and 2011 and have never used any power as the garages are only used for storage purposes. Scottish Power started billing me in January 2014 for standing charges which don't relate to any agreement I have signed, in fact they don't even have my name, notwithstanding the fact that the meters show no power has been used. Any advise would be very much appreciated.
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hello, thanks for requesting me - unfortunately this is a question which is not within my area of law. I will open to it to all other experts and someone will hopefully pick it up soon. Please do not reply to this as it will just lock the question back to me. Many thanks

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 19 days ago.
It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
OK Nicola, I have no problem with waiting for another day or so.
Many thanks,
Best regards,Alan Lumley.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 18 days ago.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  F E Smith replied 18 days ago.

I will try to help you with this. Have you actually written to Scottish Power and asked them for a copy of the agreement whereby you agreed to have these meters in place and to pay the charge? Obviously, they don’t have one but have you asked? Have you been trying to deal with this on the telephoneor in writing?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Good evening Mr. Smith,There is no agreement, I have owned the garages for 8 years and only since the new Offgem regulations came in in Jan 2014 have they started sending me bills and looking for standing charges.I should add that the meter readings have not moved has I have not used any electricity due to the fact that I live overseas and the garages are only used for storage purposes.I have been in contact with them numerous times and I have referred this case to the Ombudsman Services Energy who have just released their final decision which is that it is their opinion that a contract does exist although they will not show me their guidelines relating to review which allegedly confirms this which I am supposed to be aware which contradicts the information id to me by letter from Scottish Power and their own domestic terms and conditions. They acknowledge that this is their opinion however they have no legal training and have advised me to seek legal help if I disagree with their view.I look forward hearing from you.Best regards,Alan Lumley
Expert:  F E Smith replied 18 days ago.

The first thing to do is to get the meters taken out. That will stop the standing charge.

I find it absolutely bizarre that whilst their internal guidelines are not legally binding, they haven’t provided you with them.

If you don’t pay the costs, obviously, they will cut the electricity off which doesn’t bother you because you don’t use it.

They will then take you to court and will be for the court to decide.

The ombudsman decision is binding on the electricity company but it’s not binding in law.

In circumstances like this, it might be an idea to write to the to tell them that regardless of what the Ombudsman is said, you have no intention of paying the standing charges and that if they feel that you are obliged to pay it, they should take you to court and you will defend the action and the judge will ultimately decide whether there is an agreement in place or not.

If you don’t do that, this matter could go rumbling on for years.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 17 days ago.
OK Mr. Smith,Many thanks for your response.The critical question here is, do I have any kind of contractual agreement with Scottish Power.
I have attached for your information the Scottish Power documents which I am relying upon which I believe substantiate my argument that a contract doe not exist between myself and Scottish Power.
Could you quickly review and let me know if you agree with my argument, as if you do I will take them to court.
Best regards,Alan Lumley
Expert:  F E Smith replied 17 days ago.

In my opinion, you haven’t agreed to have these meters in or to pay the charge and there’s been no benefit for you in having them and hence, you should not be required to pay.

They can throw all the terms and conditions that you that they like but if you’ve not agreed to them, then you are not bound.

The highlighted part of their own dated June letter 2015 quite clearly says “if you use any energy”. You haven’t used any energy and hence you can’t have accepted the terms.

The second page of that letter says that the deemed contract will start on the date you begin to take a supply of gas and/or electricity from them.. You say that you haven’t taken any hence,they are contradicting themselves because their own documentation confirms that you don’t do any money.

However that seems to contract their general terms and conditions 6.1 because 6.1doesn’t mention using any energy!

Further, clause 2 requires a whole load of things before they will supply none of which are satisfied.

I would highlight all these points to them.

If you wanted to have real fun, you could tell them that you want the meters removed and that by then continuing to have them in place they are deemed to accept an agreement to pay rent to have the meters in place! it wouldn’t stand up in court but it does put the shoe on the other foot

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
OK Mr. Smith,
Well I do know a little about Contract Law myself and I have been convinced for a very long time that I have no obligation to Scottish Power, as I have not entered into any agreement nor have I agreed to the Scottish Power Terms and Conditions by my performance or any written agreement. In fact you could argue that rather than let the debts pile up, Scottish Power have a duty to mitigate the losses and should have made arrangements with me years ago to remove the meters when ever it was mutually convenient to do so, preferably just prior to the introduction of the new OFGEM Regulation in January 2014 which they allegedly gave me notice of in October 2013.
I also believe that the Ombudsman Services : Energy have not covered themselves in any glory at all whilst attempting to progress my complaints and have been found wanting on many occasions as whilst they state they are totally impartial, my experience with them would suggest that nothing could be further from the truth and they have just wasted everybody's time.
I am however tempted to accept their decision on the basis that it will conclude my dealings with them and I would at last find out the value of money the Ombudsman has deemed that I owe Scottish Power which would then help me make my decision as to whether to take it further. I know the decision of the Ombudsman is not legally binding in any UK Court of Law as it is clearly not based on any legal precedent nor for that matter any degree of common sense. I would only accept on a without prejudice basis by making it absolutely clear that I reserve all my entitlements to pursue the matter through the courts should I decide to do so.
Do you think this is a reasonable strategy or do you think it may have some bearing on the court if I did decide to refer my case to them?Many thanks,Best regards,Alan Lumley
Expert:  F E Smith replied 17 days ago.

You can actually pay ScottishPower what they are asking for to get rid of this and then sue them in the Small Claims Court on the basis that you only pay the money under intense pressure and that you don’t believe that you owed it and hence, you paid “by mistake”.

Alternatively, tell them firmly that you have no intention of paying this unless they take you to court and win. I would be inclined to do this latter course of action. the worst that can then happen is if you have to pay plus some small legal costsas this will be Small Claims Court.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8444
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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