The old metric vs. imperial debate is one that refuses to die down. It’s emerged yet again this week after it was revealed that E.on gas customers have been paying inaccurate bills due to misread metric gas meters…
Reading your meter is one of those annoying little tasks that crops up every few months. You get a short letter or email asking for your information so that your energy supplier can ‘provide you with an accurate bill’. So, off you go in search of the funny plastic key (if you have one) to open the box and take a look.
At least once you’ve put your reading in – something I now do via an app – that’s pretty much it. My energy supplier then turns my meter reading into a bill, and what I get is an accurate amount to pay. Job done.
Except this isn’t what’s been happening for thousands of energy customers.
Misread gas meters
Thousands of people have been over-charged for their gas because, unbelievably, the wrong units of measurement were being used. Customers had their old imperial measuring meters swapped out for metric ones, but E.on still read them as though they were in cubic feet rather than cubic metres.
One person had been overpaying for over 15 years without knowing it! On the flip side, others were found to have been underpaying by as much as 65%.
So far the mix up has been attributed to ‘human error’ on the part of the energy companies.
Ofgem has given all energy suppliers until Friday to identify other customers who may have been affected, calling on suppliers to issue refunds for overcharging.
Trust in the energy market
Whichever way you cut it, it’s not a boon for confidence in the energy market that expensive mistakes like this are getting made. It’s probably not surprising that Which? research has found people generally distrust energy suppliers.
That’s not to say the response has been all bad. E.on has announced that it will be offering a refund to those affected plus interest, and are waiving the extra charges for those who’ve underpaid.
This is exactly the kind of good treatment of customers that we’d like to see more of.
Following on from the Competition and Markets Authority’s two year energy inquiry, we think now’s time to start rebuilding trust in the energy market. Energy companies should improve their behaviour and deliver on the CMA’s remedies as quickly and effectively as possible.
Do you know if you’ve been affected by the metric gas meter misreadings? If so, how did you find out and what help have you been offered to fix the problem?