This week’s column is a tale of chase, suspense and shocking thrills. It is the horror story that represents the modern energy market.
scene 1 – One bedroom apartment in North Lanarkshire, where energy is supplied by Ovo after its takeover of SSE. Asks the resident Ufo, JL, to send pictures of the counters. As a result, her account turns from £600 in credit to more than £19,000 in deficit. In shock, she inquires about this and the shortfall jumps to £44,000.
Ovo detects, when it detects a file observer The steps indicate that a mismatch between the meter readings when the account is moved indicates that she used enough gas to power her entire street, a startling error that was not captured. The JL account is actually a £240 balance and another £100 has been credited as goodwill.
second scene – bailiffs come at the door of a Yorkshire nurse, Ja, due to a debt of £1,200 owed to Scottish Power on Ben Clark. JA has never heard of Ben Clarke, and says she was with Green Network Energy until she collapsed and her account was transferred to Shell. Scottish Power refuses to talk to her because she is not called Ben Clarke.
This is the beginning of one of the most perplexing puzzles I searched for. JA has subscribed to Care After My Bills (LAMB) service that converts customers to the best deals. He sent it updates until 2021 confirming that it was supplied by Green.
In August 2021, it said it would transfer to Shell and an email from Green reported that its direct debit had been cancelled. In fact, her account was transferred by LAMB from Green to Scottish Power in March 2021. No one knows why he was called Ben Clarke, or why LAMB made such a pig’s ear in its affairs, because it failed to respond to my requests for comment.
JA’s payments to Green ceased in March 2021 and have not been invoiced by Shell. It takes nine weeks for Scottish Power to clear the account at my request, and to work out what you owe. Return billing rules mean suppliers can only charge back fees for up to 12 months if they fail to bill a customer.
JA used £1,200 of energy during that time, and Scottish Power reduced debt to £500 due to its lack of services.
third scene – A lawyer’s letter falls on a mop MD From Edinburgh, addressed to the ‘occupier’ and threatened with court action unless £1,402 is transferred within a month to Good Energy. MD pays Bulb for gas and electricity and he wasn’t a Good Energy customer. The “occupier” cannot be prosecuted.
He reported this to Good Energy, but received no response. The dummy invoice was only thrown out when I contacted the company, who found out that they had mixed up an MD’s address with that of an indebted customer. She has now successfully restrained her attack dogs and made a goodwill gesture.
Fourth scene – TWA family was given two months to leave their Oxford home after the homeowner’s death. They inform their supplier, Ovo, to pay their final bill and transfer the dual fuel account to their new address. Four months later, a bill arrived from their old address, which was sold.
Ovo created a new account called TW, with an opening balance of £566 as a debit. She now wants £746.89 for energy used in the weeks since he left the property and has a default on his credit history. TW reports that he left in May, and released his final bill confirming it had been paid in full, but Ovo isn’t interested.
Tells observer That a new account has been opened for the property in the name of “occupier” and since the bills were ignored, a search associated with the address and name has been added to the account.
She apologizes for not removing it when he complained and promised to compensate and removed the default from his credit report.
Fifth scene – VJ Leeds tries to log into her British Gas app and is told she is no longer a customer. This does not preclude discount payments to British Gas. The company eventually discovered that they had mistakenly attached a different email and address to their account, which resulted in their deregistration.
VJ naturally fears that her electronic bills, along with sensitive account information, will be sent to the stranger whose details have been swapped with her data, and possibly pay for the stranger’s consumption.
British Gas has now corrected its records and insists that its details have not been waived. She also claims she was paying the correct bills. But since he says the readings are being transmitted by a smart meter, which VJ says she doesn’t have, and since she has now been sent a debt collection letter, which British Gas admits wasn’t meant for her, she’s not convinced.
So this story continues. If British Gas does not come up with a better explanation, the Energy Ombudsman will be able to demand more detailed data.
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