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Energy charges.

(28 Posts)
hildajenniJ Wed 29-Apr-15 13:50:09

AIBU in thinking that Scottish Power are asking us to pay for the whole street?
We received our combined gas and electricity bill this morning, amounting to £800. My DH telephoned immediately to question this. He was in and out of the house taking meter readings. In the end it would appear that we owe them almost £2,000. They want half of this by the first of June! How on earth do they think we can pay this amount at once? My DH has three low paid jobs, I have retired from nursing, and now work 15 hours a week, cleaning to supplement this. We have no savings, having used this up supporting various family members. I have no idea what to do next. Any ideas would be helpful.
PS. We are now thinking of having a card meter installed, and pay as we use.

soontobe Wed 29-Apr-15 14:49:40

How much do you normally pay?
Might you have a leak somewhere?
[I dont know much about all of this].

PRINTMISS Wed 29-Apr-15 15:02:40

That is a dreadful blow hilda. Have you not been paying monthly direct debit, or standing orders? We have six monthly/yearly readings, and our supplier works out how much they estimate we shall use, and charge us a monthly rate to cover this. We thought last years' figure was too high, and complained, but kept it as it was, and now for the next six months we shall pay less than we have over the past six months, swings and roundabouts. I would enquire about paying by instalments, if you can manage that, but before that, I would ask them (in fact ORDER them) to come and take readings, and check for any leaks or discrepancies. After all it is possible to turn everything off, and see if the meter(s) are still counting the cost. Best of luck, do the offer first, if you can, on the understanding that they come and check everything through.

petra Wed 29-Apr-15 15:25:59

Is the £800 for the year? Do you pay monthly? If you have been using more than they estimated your monthly payment to be they should have informed you so that you could have increased the monthly payment.
They can't just dump this on you.
Re the payment card method. Please don't do this. It costs a fortune.

hildajenniJ Wed 29-Apr-15 15:41:57

It's mostly electricity! The gas hasn't changed. We have always had a bigger bill for electricity. I always put it down to having my son at home. He lived in his room and had his TV and computer on all day. He moved out to live in at his work last summer. The bill has apparently been estimated since last August. The CAB is in town tomorrow so I may go and have a chat with them. I honestly feel as if I'm paying to light the street. My neighbour had solar panels fitted to her bungalow last year, as she couldn't afford the electricity either. The next step I suppose, will be to have a card meter for our electricity, and pay off the arrears that way, but that will take months if not years.

hildajenniJ Wed 29-Apr-15 15:57:09

£800 is for the quarter!!! They have been estimating the electricity since last August. They say we have been underestimated since then and now owe almost £2000. Quite frankly I don't know how this is possible. When my son lived at home he had his TV and computer on all day and I put the large bill down to that. He moved out last summer, so that can't be the reason. The CAB are in town tomorrow so I may go and speak to them about it. Also do you think it is worth going to the Ombudsman?

hildajenniJ Wed 29-Apr-15 15:58:19

Sorry, had a phone call, seem to have duplicated most of what I said before! grin

Jane10 Wed 29-Apr-15 16:10:14

If its only an estimate it must be wrong considering your son has left. Do you put readings online yourself? We're with the same supplier as you and they regularly overestimate ++. I directly email their complaints dept, get complaint number etc. Just phoning only seems to lead to placatory responses from nice ladies who don't then actually do anything! Good luck and let us know how you get on.

FlicketyB Wed 29-Apr-15 16:10:47

Go and see CAB, but also try Age UK. I think this is a common problem for them. Ask to have your meter tested. We had a problem many years ago and that was the cause.

You do not go to the Ombudsman until you have come to the end of any negotiations with your energy supplier. Here is a link to CAB information sheet on this matter

Ana Wed 29-Apr-15 16:19:46

A tv and computer don't use that much electricity, even if on all day - perhaps £50 a year at most. Something isn't right - I hope you get it sorted, Hilda!

NanaDenise Wed 29-Apr-15 16:32:20

I had a similar problem, but for over £1000. I have little doubt that I had used the electricity, but they had reduced the Direct Debit and it wasn't enough to cover the bill. They did say I could pay back monthly by increasing the Direct Debit payment so I did. They have just done the same thing again and I have a feeling that it is a good way of stopping me changing to another supplier (Cynical?)

Check your meter by switching everything off and see if it is still turning. If it is, ask your supplier to come and check the meter.

I would like to cut my bills, but with a DBH and teenage twin GDs living with me, it would seem impossible. So much washing, drying, an inability to turn lights off or any other gadget, I am at a bit of a loss.

Good luck Hilda

Penstemmon Wed 29-Apr-15 16:45:51

Hope it gets sorted quicklyhilda

Once at the school where I worked we got a quarterly bill for £24,000! That took a while to sort out! We replied and sent a payment and copy of the bill that matched the corresponding quarter for the previous year.

My DD2s house, following a power cut, is currently linked up to the street lamp. Hope she does not have to pay for all the town's street lights!

hildajenniJ Wed 29-Apr-15 16:53:44

I will turn everything off when I come home from work in the morning, before I go to CAB. If the meter is still turning I will email Scottish Power and ask for my meter to be checked. Thanks for all the advice. Iwas beginning to lose the plot!!!

Charleygirl Wed 29-Apr-15 16:58:44

It is too early to get the ombudsman involved- you will have to explore local avenues first. You are doing the correct thing by doing your own checks. Do not refuse to pay them money- I do not mean the whole amount but you could eg offer a fiver a week and that shows willing because you do not want the debt collectors calling. I do not want to frighten you but these companies become a bit trigger happy and move quickly. Good luck.

Eloethan Wed 29-Apr-15 22:53:54

hildajenniJ How worrying for you. I think Flickety's suggestion to contact Age UK is a good one. I'm not sure that the energy people can just drop a huge bill like that on you and give you hardly any time to pay.

I don't know if I'm right but I think those pre-pay card meters have been criticised for being more expensive - perhaps some other Gransnetters know.

I do hope that you can get some help to sort this out.

GrannyTwice Wed 29-Apr-15 23:06:24

You mentioned about estimated readings - what is the latest bill you have with an electric reading that was not an estimate ? This would give you a position from which you could see actual consumption, as recorded, over the period from then to now

Elegran Wed 29-Apr-15 23:17:23

It sounds as though you could have expected it to go DOWN not up after once your son wasn't there.

Is the meter reading they quote on the bill an accurate one? It is always possible that someone read a 3 as an 8 or some other mistake. You can check that yourself easily enough.

Are you signed up to see your bills online? There will be a record of usage and bills, and you can see exactly what you have been paying. You can also read the meter yourself in future and enter it online, and not get an estimate.

annodomini Thu 30-Apr-15 00:13:04

Even when the meter reader has been round, I still receive and estimated bill. I have complained mentioned it, but still have had no reply.

FlicketyB Thu 30-Apr-15 22:37:29

The meter can be malfunctioning even if it stops when all the power is off. It could be running too fast when on.

kittylester Fri 01-May-15 07:16:31

When my mum's bill was huge (and bailiffs were threatened!), I compared her two bedroom flat with our bigger house and listed all the appliances that we each had! I sent all the info off in a letter and mum's bill was reduced accordingly. Can you ask someone (a neighbour, maybe) in similar property and with similar usage if you can use their bill as 'evidence'?

With our own accounts, DH now submits monthly readings online after a few 'misunderstandings'!

shabby Fri 01-May-15 08:51:59

And when you do get an energy bill can you understand it? I like to think I am quite astute but just cannot get my head around how they calculate energy bills.

hildajenniJ Fri 01-May-15 09:03:01

Good idea kitty, but neighbour next door has solar panels!! DH is currently taking meter readings to submit to S.P. Ideally I would like someone from the company to come and check everything. We have asked them twice before without success. As you may well have gleaned, this is a dispute we have had with them for quite some time. DH was on the phone to them yesterday for absolutely ages, but came away with very little for all his time! I cannot understand why they have been estimating it for so long. The meter is INA box on the wall outside.

JOHN19488 Fri 01-May-15 14:42:59

am with Coop engery but it cost me £80 a mouth for gas and elect am in the south west

GillT57 Fri 01-May-15 15:33:07

Blimey John19488 you must spend a lot of time in the dark! I am in the temperate East Anglian region and we spend around 120-150 per month.

FlicketyB Fri 01-May-15 19:58:08

Fuel bills vary enormously depending on the size of your property and the amount of insulation and how well you energy housekeep.

We had a smart meter fitted recently, didn't ask for it, just told we were getting one and part of the fitter's job is to a verbal discussion about insulation and energy saving measures. He was amazed to discover we used the function on our room thermostat to turn down the heating when we are away and have it come back on automatically the morning of our arrival home so that we return to a warm house. Most modern thermostats have this facility but few people use it.