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Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1909
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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We have a business that has been running for 4 years. Our

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Hi, We have a business that has been running for 4 years. Our business runs from a Unit and we have never had an electricity bill or letter during this period. We thought the landlord must be paying it but apparently not. The other week we had a letter passed to us from next door (which is an empty unit but where our electricity meter resides). Someone who goes into next door gave it to us. It was addressed to our landlord at the address next door.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Bury, Manchester the letter was a red letter that informed us we owed just over £20,000 and were therefore going to be disconnected on the 18th November. This is the first letter we have ever received and that was by luck. I have contacted the supplier, British Gas, and they will not talk to me becasue the account is not in our name. I have spoken to the landlord and he has called them and they say the bill must be paid in full before the 18th to prevent disconnection. We do not have this amount of free cash to cover the bill but if we are disconnected our business will fail.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: i have called british gas but they will not give me any information because its not our account. The landlord says it is our responsibility but we did not even know who supplied our electricity. I thought that they could not go back 4 years if we have never received a bill.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I was hoping they would offer us a payment plan spread over 12 months bt they refuse saying it must be paid in full by the end of next week.

Hi thank you for your message, there are two aspects to this firstly, the account is in the name of the landlord, they have it would appear failed to inform British Gas that the unit was being occupied and to switch the account into the name of your company. It would also seem that they have failed to provide them with the correct address to send bills. The Landlord has also failed to check the account or pay the bill and thus, ultimately the landlord would appear to be responsible. As a result of the account not being in your name it would appear you cannot even speak to British Gas about the account, that said as a matter of principle under rules introduced in April 2018 for back billing, by OFGEM the energy regulator no firm is able to bill for energy used more than 12 months ago. Therefore, it is likely that a large part of that sum is unrecoverable. With this in mind and given the circumstances you find yourself, I would advise you raise an initial complaint with British Gas about your treatment and the threat to your business and then immediately on Monday also register a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman you can complain here: https://www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy

You may also wish to seek an injunction to prevent your energy supply being switched off in the interim however, this would cost more money as you would need expert legal representation. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

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