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British Gas Electricity Bills

On 25 Jan 2010 at 8:01am sue wrote:
My business was clobbered by a retrospective Electricity Bill for the sum of £22,000.00.
I heard last night that another Lewes business had had a similar bill for 60,000.00 !!!
British Gas had been incorrectly billing us following Meter changes (2003/4) & incorrect readings provided by an independant company.
Despite their error they are insisting the bills are paid as we used the electricity.
The Ombudsmen has been of little assistance.
If any other bussiness has suffered in this way could you please contact me as we may have more clout as a group putting pressure on British Gas?
It has been very frustrating & stressful!
On 25 Jan 2010 at 9:57am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
That's appalling.
Have you tried getting publicity through programmes like Watchdog, You and Yours etc? These monolithic companies often start being reasonable when they get a call from a journalist.
On 25 Jan 2010 at 1:33pm Sherlock wrote:
It has to be said, however, that if British Gas had been OVERcharging these business since 2004 they would be quick to claim the overpayment back. I think this is probably the regulator's position as well. But I don't doubt that British Gas could be persuaded to spread the repayments over a longer period than immediately.
On 25 Jan 2010 at 2:42pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
The debt goes back 7 years though. At least some of it ought to be written off, debts more than 6 years old are irrecoverable, aren't they?
On 25 Jan 2010 at 2:46pm Meter Reader wrote:
How can you have taken 6-7 years to notice that you wer being billed incorrectly?
Surely you will have been checking the readings on your bills against your actual meter reading each quarter, before paying the bill for that quarter? why have you not advised British Gas that they were billing too little, or did you think you would never have to pay if you kept quiet? Possibly you have never checked your bill in 6-7 years, if the latter is true, more fool you.
Stop moaning and pay the bill.
On 25 Jan 2010 at 4:10pm supporter wrote:
anyone that uses British Gas for their electricity must be mad! far cheaper deals on the supply market.
On 25 Jan 2010 at 4:14pm wanderer wrote:
had this will our old meter i was getting bills in credit by £700 then debit by 700 they didnt know which one i kept asking for my cheque back lol then asked if they would like to zero meter and agree on billing system after alot of investigation ie seeing if i was fiddling the meter they agreed
been happy with BG since
On 25 Jan 2010 at 4:40pm Meter Reader wrote:
Wanderer, how does that translate into English?
On 25 Jan 2010 at 5:26pm brixtonbelle wrote:
we had something similar - we were being charged the business rate for our domestic gas and electricty by BG. Fortunately we noticed the 3-monthly bill was extraordinarily high for a well insulated double galzed house and challenged it - result - a halving of the bill. I guess sometimes it's not easy to know what is the correct rate to be charged at, but I think going through one of the consumer websites or champions in papers like the guardian or telegraph weekend sections might help.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 8:33am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Why should anyone check that they were being billed correctly? The supplier issues the bills, surely the responsibility of ensuring they're right lies with them? I'd never check my meter readings unless I suspected that an estimate was wrong or that consumption had suddenly gone up or down massively.
I've helped people with no end of billing problems with BG, including one guy who keeps getting arrears posted to his prepayment meter and one case where the meters for two flats had been switched to the wrong accounts, so they were paying each other's bills, and one where it took them over a year to set up a domestic account. BG accounting problems outnumber any other supplier by at least 4 or 5 to 1 among the people I support, but that may be because they have more customers.
Imo, the least they should be doing is allowing the customer the same amount of time to pay the bill as it took them to issue it, ie 7 years. An unexpected bill of £22k is enough to put a small business on the ropes.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 9:23am sue wrote:
We both questioned our bills as consumption had dropped way beyond anything my energy saving measures would have achieved. BG even credited my account £3000.00 at one point in response to constant requests to check the meter! I eventually negotiated a 3 year payment plan which has been crippling & still is.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 9:30am Meter Reader wrote:
ACT, I would xpect that the majority of people check the majority of bills that they receive, be this an electricity bill, when paying at the petrol station, in a restaurant or when buying a round in the pub.
Mistakes happen, it's a fact of life. When spending your money, you should make sure you are being charged correctly and don't grizzle about it later if you can't be bothered to make sure you are being charged correctly.
You say that you "support" people, and suggest that many of these people have bills from BG that are wrong, you also acknowledge that other utility suppliers get it wrong, but still you insist that one should not check the bills. What sort of support are you offering to your supportees? Pretty useless support I suggest! I hope you are not paid for giving such support.
I would be interested to hear from Sue, how she checked her quarterly bills before paying them?
On 26 Jan 2010 at 10:25am FELINE wrote:
I suggest you all try and move to Atlantic for both gas and electricity. They are a very cheap supplier for this area with excellent customer service as well.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 12:04pm No Pot Pourri wrote:
I have some sympathy with Sue. BG are often beyond incompetent and I have had several instances where they continue to bill to the wrong company, use readings from other meters and fail to bill to new occupiers, in spite of repeated telephone calls and emails.
However, considering the level of consumption, Sue should be recording her own meter readings regularly and budgeting for the cost.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 12:30pm MC wrote:
If the incorrect meter readings had been provided by an independent company contracted by Britsh gas surely they would be liable for the error, not you sue?
On 26 Jan 2010 at 3:36pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Their billing software should have validity checks built in that flags up any aberrant readings so that they can be checked by a human. Segas had them way back in the 70s when I worked there.
On 26 Jan 2010 at 3:49pm Meter Reader wrote:
.....Exactly, should be checked by a human, just like bills should be before you pay them!
On 28 Jan 2010 at 2:14pm MC wrote:
Meter Reader.
What are you suggesting she check?
Her meter has been read by Britsih gas (or their contractor)
She has received a bill based upon that reading. It states the amount of units used and the price per unit and then shows the total cost. Are you suggesting that ever time anyone gets a bill based upon a meter reading by the company supplying the bill (or their hired contractor) that they then go and check the reading on their meter against the reading shown on the bill?
On 29 Jan 2010 at 10:04am Meter Reader wrote:
Yes, That is exactly what I am suggesting. That is what I do and never have I paid a bill that was wrong, as when they are wrong, I tell the supplier immediately and get a corrected bill. I now provide my own readings on-line as it saves me money!
Sue states that the readings were incorrect, if she had checked the bill against the meter when she received it, she would have told BG who would have corrected the bill and there would be no arrears on her bill now.
I can't really see why Sue feels frustrated and stressed, she used the electricity, she shouild pay for it, or is it that she thought she would get all this electricity for nothing, and now she has been caught trying to steal from BG she feels ashamed leading to stress and frustration?
On 29 Jan 2010 at 12:04pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
If you had read Sue's second post, you'd know she did query it, and BG credited her with £3,000!
I wonder if this is one of those cases where the wrong meter has been allocated to the account? If that's the case, reading the meter you believe to be yours won't make a blind bit of difference. And why send meter readers at all if we all have to check our own?
I think her real concern is that paying 7-year's worth of bills over 3 years is causing hardship, and possibly jeopardising the viability of her business. And your suggestion that she has been trying to steal is offensive and possibly libellous.

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