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Metric gas meters: are you due a refund?

Metric meter

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?

Patricia Simmons says:
8 June 2018

Scottish Power say I owe them £327.81? I had to leave my home due to redevelopment in December 2015
and went into rented accommodation. I paid my bill by Direct Debit monthly and at the time of leaving property my 40 year old gas boiler had stopped working, so good timing to go. Whenever I received a text from Scottish Power saying it was time to read my meters, I would pop back to site, take photos of the meters and send in my readings always on time, yet the bills sent after moving out were always ESTIMATED? The readings did not move because the energy supplies were not used/disconnected by builder, for safety. On numerous occasions I have been in contact with Scottish Power, sent them contact details of my builder, council planning dept, architect, surveyor and pictures – but they have ignored all my attempts and in 2016 put a debt collector onto me. I sent the debt collector paperwork and they stopped pursuing me. A year has passed and last week I had a bill again stating I owed money and they are now again threatening me with sending my details to a debt collector and say it will affect my credit in the future. I have again sent them a ‘Recorded Delivery’ letter on 2 June with contacts and photos etc. In 2016 I also invited Scottish Power and the previous debt collector to come on site but neither replied? In my letter of the 2nd June I have now asked Scottish Power to reply with PROOF they have made contact with the companies I supplied. Please can someone kindly advise me what I need to do now, should I go to a small claims court?


I waited about three hours to see if other posters would answer you Patricia so I dont want criticised for lacking information . You have gone through all the correspondence between parties that are feasible to you, a small claims court action is usually for debt owed to you in one form or another not for fighting an action against you which would mean , if you are poor of making use of Legal Aid but at the very least its time to consult a lawyer even if its just for advice as a lawyers letter will force them to supply proof you owe them money. Remember , if you win your case court costs will be awarded to you against them , but at least get it started dont wait any longer.

Robert walker says:
1 July 2018

I pay by direct debit more than the supplier required and have always been in credit.The supplier said I was in debit and took £92 out of my bank account.I checked my account and calculated using my meter readings from the start and to the present time and found that I was in credit to quite a few hundred pounds.This is now in the hands of the Ombudsman.If I this supplier went bankrupt would I lose my money and would it be better to switch.


Read https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/claim-money-back-from-a-bankrupt-person-or-company-in-compulsory-liquidation-guidance-for-creditors/claim-money-back-from-a-bankrupt-person-or-company-in-compulsory-liquidation-guidance-for-creditors Robert . I went through two episodes by two different utilities who “were in the business ” of building up a large bank interest on over-payments taken from me , it took 2 years for one to refund me less than one half of what they had taken . They are “working the system ” – change suppliers AFTER you come to some sort of legal conclusion as leaving halfway through a dispute puts you in a bad position legally as you are no longer their customer.

gail says:
12 July 2018

Have just joined Solarplicity, start date was 1 july. they dont answer my emails/phone calls/FB. It was agreed that they would supply a meter. As i cant get intouch( or should i say they dont answer anything) i cant get the meter put in, so im being charged full pricefor my gas / electric. What can i do about this problem?


Switch a.s.a.p. There are better companies for customer service. You can also complain to the regulator [Ofgem]. Take meter readings every day and keep them.