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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Energy company backdating electricity when previous occupant

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energy company backdating electricity when previous occupant paid the bill. In their terms and conditions on website it states previous occupier will be responsible until they inform them they have left the property. Energy company knew i took over the premises but did nothing about it until 3 and half years later when they sent me a bill backdated even though this was paid by previous occupant in a business premises. Phone records confirm i made contact with them as i wanted to take out a contract with az different supplier but was unable to.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

What is your specific question in relation to this so that I can advise?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,Just wondering if i can make them only charge me for electric used from the date the previous occupant stopped paying it as it is in their terms and conditions that they are liable. This is business premises. When we moved in they knew we took over the property but did nothing about it until recently. Was hoping they could only bill me until previous occupant stopped paying. This is on their web page. When i spoke over the phone to them about it they were trying to say i was getting it wrong. Surely its in black and whiteIf you are moving from premises that (company name) currently supply, please contact your account manager by phone or e-mail at least seven days before you move to provide a meter reading and a forwarding address. You will find their details on your invoice or statement. You will remain responsible for the electricity supply, and will incur the ongoing charges, unless you tell us you have moved out and we can take the necessary steps to terminate your account.

Hi Neal. Thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Hi there, just a couple of follow up questions please - did the previous occupier actually also tell them that they had moved out and also have they not paid the bills for the time they were occupying the property?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben, previous occupier moved out in June 2013. They told them they moved out in January 17 and at this point cancelled their account. I moved in jan14 and I spoke to the energy supplier as I wanted to take a contract out with a different company but unable to as previous occupier was still paying the bill and they hadn't been notified by them. So nothing was done about it. I spoke to my current landlord but still nothing happened. I left it at that. Previous occupier paid the bills until jan17. I presume old occupier are after their money back. Energy company are chasing me for the bills that the old occupier had paid while I was in the property but if you look at their terms it says they are liable up until they inform them of moving out. So I'm unsure If they can back bill me since jan14 as old occupier had paid them. They are a big company I presume they forgot up until Jan this year and perhaps they have lots of property with the energy company and they are trying to keep them sweet. They proposed 15p kW and 7 pound standing charge per day backdated to jan14. I'm wondering if I can get away with it and just do it since Jan this year when the old occupier cancels their account.

But you used the energy that they supplied since moving in, right? In effect the old occupier paid your bills for the energy you used for 3+ years?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
that is correct. Although in my defence i did try and sort it out when i moved in.

Thanks. According to the terms of use, assuming the old occupier did not tell them that they are moving out in 2014 and only did so in 2017, they can be held liable for the bills that continued being charged in that period. However, they could still argue that whilst it may not have been the previous occupier who advised them at the time, you did so, and that the company still had knowledge of the change of occupier at the time because you had told them about it.

Even if you managed to convince the energy company to only bill you from Jan 2017, it is highly unlikely you will be able to get away with not paying for the energy which you yourself admit you have used over 3 years. The old occupier can quite easily make a claim against you directly for these costs so in the end, one way or another, you will likely have to pay that. Generally, you cannot rely on the law for your own personal benefit, especially when it is clear that it is clearly not equitable or reasonable, as in this case.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the actual legal position. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service I have provided regardless of the contents of the answer, I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. Thank you

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