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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 27897
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am not sure if you are the right people to ask. It's about

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I am not sure if you are the right people to ask. It's about a rampant gas meter reading going from circa £53 a month to £300 month over the last 4 months. The meter keeps going despite the fact the boiler is switched off and there are no other gas appliances in the flat.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I am in Cheltenham, England. You are the first port of call after heating engineers and the gas company have been unable to help me.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have had a heating engineer diagnose a fault on the thermostat of the water tank. This failed to stop the problem. He then replaced a valve. I don't know if this has resolved the problem as I am afraid to turn the gas on and the meter was still reading. I have had a separate heating engineer confirm there are no gas leaks either in my flat or between my flat and the meter. The gas supplier has done nothing except ask me to take daily readings. My bills this far are circa £2,300.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't think so.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years experience.

I am very sorry to read of the above.

  1. May I ask when the problem first started to show itself roughly?
  2. Roughly when did you first report the issue to the supplier?
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
The July bill was first indicator. After August bill I raised the issue with the supplier and asked my heating engineer to come 2 months early for the annual service and check for any problems.
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
I didn't realise there was such a big fee for speaking. I wish to rescind thec request for now

Thanks I will try to contact you now...

Apologies - our posts crossed. Certainly I will cancel the phone call request. If you do not automatically receive a refund, you can contact customer services at the below link who will be happy to deal with this for you:

https://www.justanswer.co.uk/help/contact-us

If you would like to continue here in chat, please let me know

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Does my initial £5 fee cover this?

To continue in chat - yes it does

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Ok, may we continue please

Thank you. from what you say, you have I think completed most of the initial steps that would be recommended in such a circumstance. Namely, to turn off all gas appliances in your property and check to see if the metre is still registering a reading which from what you say it is. This would usually indicate the possibility of a gas leak though from what you say, this is been ruled out by your gas engineer. If you are satisfied there is no gas leak then you need not concern yourself with this next step but if there is any concern in this regard, you should consider contacting the National Grid emergency line on 0800 111 999.

If a gas leak has been ruled out but the metre is still registering a reading even though all gas appliances are switched off, this would indicate a faulty meter and this should be reported to your supplier. Your supplier should offer to arrange to have the meter tested and if they do not make the offer, then you should request that it is tested. You cannot be charged for the test however it is important to note that gas meters cannot always be tested on site and may have to be removed to be sent to an independent lab for testing. Where this is the case, the supplier can make a charge for the costs of removal if no fault is subsequently found, there are in this case, that seems unlikely.

Under the supply code of practice the supplier must arrange for a test to be carried out following your above report within five working days or they must pay you £30 compensation and a further £30 compensation for the next five working days and so on.

Assuming a fault is found either by the engineer the supplier sends or by the independent laboratory which providing you have taken the above initial steps seems bound to be the case, then you will need to agree with the supplier and agreed reading which would typically be based upon your normal usage. Assuming you are able to agree such a reading, that may be end to the matter if you are satisfied but if not, you can escalate the complaint to the supplier which they must respond to within the maximum period of eight weeks and you can ultimately escalate the complaint to the energy ombudsman for independent review should you not be satisfied with the outcome of your complaint with the utility provider

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Well the supplier has said they will test the meter for a £160 up front fee, refundable if an issue is identified. I wished to exhaust all other possibilities first which I think I have now done so will have to bite the bullet.

If the meter has to be removed from testing which often is the case for gas meters then the fee is in accordance with the rules - subject as of course as above that it must be refunded if the fault is identified by the independent lab. On the basis you ruled out any gas leak and you have confirmed absolutely that all of your gas appliances are off and the metre is still registering use, I think you can be fairly confident that the meter must be faulty.

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
You've no idea how desperate I am for that result. If it is the case can I expect charges in excess of my norm to be dropped?

If the meter is faulty then the supplier would have no accurate reading upon which to base charges and therefore would have to agree a estimated reading with you on the basis of the estimated reading would be your normal usage, however, that does not mean that they may not be other circumstances which may give you a basis to refuse to agree such an estimate - e.g. if you had been away for a significant portion of that time (unlikely in the current circumstances). it is up to you and the utility supplier to reach a sensible agreement on this matter failing which, you can refer the matter to the energy ombudsman

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you so much for the advice. I feel more confident in moving things on - and perhaps turning the boiler back on - it's been off since 5 November :(

There is no need for that - that should not have any substantive impact on the outcome (except of course any replacement meter hopefully will record actual usage. It is getting cold!

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
May I come back to you if I have further problems on this issue?

Please do