£500 bill for an empty property

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    @MAW

    For the period in question, i.e. the billing period, what were the start and end meter readings, was anything estimated and were you carrying any debit balance over from a previous billing period?

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    Last edited by retrotecchie; 05-01-23 at 14:56.
    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. ​​​​​​​Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 79
    @MAW

    Impossible to answer on the limited information provided. Why don't you post with some real information, like starting reading, closing reading, whether anything was estimated and then we might be able to comment sensibly.

    Either the bill is valid or it isn't. If when you next call you have a current reading to hand you can get that registered on your account. Then you can demand that the bill, if erroneous is replaced with something more current. If you are on direct debit you can get any wrongly charged amounts reversed under the direct debit guarantee via your bank - - I've found it quick (like instant) and easy to do in the past.

    If you are paying after receipt of the bill then I'd suggest email with erroneous bill in the subject line and your account details in the message., along with your explanation of the problem. Why wait on the phone?
    Current Eon Next and EDF customer, ex Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    There was nothing switched on for 90% of the month. Wasn't even a fridge in the property, not a microwave, not a light bulb.

    All I get is "oh that looks odd"

    Nothing else.

    What do I do? Get some sort of injunction?

    If the property was indeed not using anything, you should have turned the main switch off. If during that time the meter recorded zero use, then the problem is not the meter. If you turned the main switch off but the meter reading did increase, that would indicate a meter fault.

    The meter could be over reading, and that is a little more complicated to diagnose, or there is something switched on in the property that shouldn't be and that is using energy. Culprits are usually electric heaters in a garage or outbuilding, or an immersion heater on all the time or on at least three occasions I'm aware of, a faulty electric oven.
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 05-01-23 at 15:51.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    @MAW

    I'd go round every corner of the house, including any garage or outbuilding and the attic and just check there isn't anything somewhere you don't know about. I'd also be very suspicious of an immersion heater. They 'should' cut out at a set temperature, but if the stat has failed, which is not uncommon, it can be on all the time 24/7. Also, look at the front of the electric meter. It will have an impulse light that flashes 1000 times per kWh used. See how fast it is flashing with nothing on. Then, if it is flashing quickly showing high consumption, go to your consumer unit and turn off all the breakers one at a time to see if any of the circuits being isolated suddenly causes a drop in consumption. That will quite likely narrow down the issue. If nothing changes and your meter is still flashing rapidly, and the numbers are racking up, take a reading and turn off the main breaker for half an hour. If nothing changes on the meter, it's likely to not be the meter at fault.

    If your reading of £54 a day is because something IS drawing power, then that's about 2 and a bit quid per hour, every hour or about 6-7 kW of constant load.

    Your meter may well have run away. We've seen it before rarely, but the diagnostics I have outlined above should help you narrow the problem down.

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    Last edited by retrotecchie; 07-01-23 at 13:17.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    @MAW

    I suspect your IHD doesn't have correct tariff information. Ignore it and just look at the actual consumption as recorded on the physical meters themselves. You know your tariff rates and standing charges so you should be able to come up with a more accurate figure. Lots of IHD's seem to be displaying outrageous prices at the moment because of issues pushing updated tariffs to them.

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  • Mailman's Avatar
    Level 34
    Thank for that, I hadnt heard that advice before. Will give it a go.

    The meter seems to be OK so far since we wrestled control back but I have to watch it like a hawk. If the CH comes on the cost rapidly reaches £20 and beyond.

    We had an engineer in the other day and he played with the CH for about an hour. Was £10 of gas, just for that.

    Crazy numbers.

    Even if your IHD is showing rubbish on your tariffs, it should be showing the correct kWh usage. If you report this you may find us able to give more helpful advice. Same with retro's meter sanity test decribed in this thread.

    The £10 of gas figure for CH being on for just an hour looks a bit off. Mine has fired up today from 0830 to about 1000 and again briefly from 1300 to 1330 (so 2 hours usage). Usage 19kWh, cost according to IHD of circa £2.20 - both look about right. By the end of the day I'd expect to see the daily gas usage being about 30-35 kWh although this is with a frugal thermosat setting of 17.5C
    Last edited by Mailman; 07-01-23 at 14:05.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    @MAW

    I've even known of several cases of someone breaking into a garage in an unoccupied property, plugging in an extension lead and then running their fan heaters (or grow lights) off someone else's meter! In one case, they even took a socket off a wall, drilled a hole through a wall and ran a spur off the back of the socket so it was very hard to spot. Powered their own garage from next door's supply.
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    Last edited by retrotecchie; 07-01-23 at 14:42.
  • RichHaynes's Avatar
    Level 1
    @retrotecchie

    This is not an update issue but actually due to the way the Energy Price Guarantee is applied to some bills. Customers bills right now will show a tariff price thats huge. Then the energy provider will apply a reduction which brings the bill within the EPG. However, this huge tariff price is being pushed out to meters and IHDs because that is the actual tariff price the customer is on. This means people are seeing massive costs on IHDs when in reality they won't be paying that much once their bill is generated. Unfortunately, the smart meter system was not set up to accommodate for this scenario.

    The providers could just charge exactly what the maximum unit rate is which would make bills easy for customers and also means meters get an accurate tariff. But from an accounting perspective, seeing the reduction on the bill means they can easily work out how much they need to claim from the government for the EPG. It also wouldn't surprise me if the government mandated it this way so they can use it as PR by saying "look at the savings we gave you on your bills". Charging the maximum unit price would mean this wouldn't be visible on bills.

    As an example (and ignoring standing charges), let's say I use 100KwH of electric with a true rate of 49p/KwH. Thats £49. But the EPG says I should pay 32p/KwH. So the energy providers then applies a discount of 100KwH at 17p/KwH which is £17. My true bill is then £32. BUT. Because the tariff is 49p, this is what gets pushed to meters and IHDs which means I will see that I used £49.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 82
    @RichHaynes

    Yet another one of the many reasons I have no truck with smart meters. Pounds and pence mean little to me until billing time, but I track my usage manually on a spreadsheet and know to the penny what my bill will be for a budget of x kilowatt hours a month. By comparing my actual kWh consumptions against my forecast or average daily target, then I manage my consumption that way. I don't need an IHD to tell me it just cost me 2.1p to boil the kettle...I was having that coffee anyway!