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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?

Comments

Has anyone experienced problems with receiving their FIT payments from EON? Having invested in ‘green’ solar power, the FIT payment offsets the original capital cost and becomes an important income stream. It appears that EON have decided to put minimal resource on the FIT payment team. This means that you cannot contact them or obtain the payments they owe you, which for many people, form an important part of their budgeted income. Any help or advice would be welcome.

George Sheard says:
16 October 2020

Do I have to go to a online account ? As I don’t understand the internet

My gas supplier overcharged me now they are refusing to give me this money back to my account. Because according to them I still got two years left in my contract so they are keeping the overpayment amount in my gas account.Is it legal?

I have been a customer of PFP Energy since 2017 and found their service first class up until the end of 2020.
Since January 2021 I have not received a monthly bill from this Company. Every time I contact them by email they respond by saying they have a technical issue. In the meantime they continue to direct debit my bank account each.
Has anyone else experienced similar problems with this energy supplier

I have been having problems with Scottish Power for some time now. At my previous address, my supplier was EON for a number of years as I am Agorophobic I couldn’t get out to top up my prepayment meter and asked EON for a monthly meter, they had difficulty in getting an engineer to to me so after several months I had to change suppliers so as to get a monthly meter. I joined Scottosh Power the end of 2017 I was still on EON’s prepayment meter but now a customer of Scottish Power. I had a monthly meter fitted by Scottish Power in October 2018 after several calls asking for someone to come and check my meter as the amount I was now having to put in was sky high? my daughter phoned on my behalf on a coupe of occasions and queried three new flats that were built next to me which had been numbered 20A 20B and 20C I was number 20 so as you can imagine I had lots of problems. My daughter was informed by an agent for Scottish Powwr that one of these properties wasn’t registered or did not have an unique supply number as all properties have, so I believe that I was being charged for this property along with my own, but everytime that I spoke to Scottish Power they denied that this could happen. Once my meter was changed in October 2018 I had to set up a Direct Debit with my bank and Scottish Power said this would be for £38.00 per month, the first two months were fine the Direct Debits were taken from my account but on the third month my bank phoned me andsaid that they could not pay Scottish Power this month as there was insufficient funds in my account, Scottish Power had tried to take £172.00, and that if they attempted to take it again I could be charged by my bank for an unplanned overdraught fee. I rang Scottish Power immediately to tell them they had made a mistake with the amount they tried to take and was told that thiswould now be the amount that I had to pay monthly now? I explained that I could not afford this I am on benefits due to ill health, I have severe COPD (stage 3 of 4) Empysema, Arthritis to name a few, I live alone and I am 62 years old so my bill could not possibly be this much they said that was the amount topay and that was that, so I cancelled my Direct Debit so as not to get in debt with my bank also, and asked Scottish Power to look into this andsend out someone to check on my meter, they did neither. I then received a bill from them for over £6000, obviously this was a mistake once again so I called them and was told that this is what I owe so I need to pay it asap. I went to citizens advice, my daughter in law took me in her car, it was the first time I had been out in years, it was traumertising and I was sat in a private room whilst I waited for someone to see me. When I spoke to an adviser she said if they say that’s what you owe then you must owe it? what a complete waste of time. I then asked an ombudsman to look into this for me, she took around 2or 3 days to email me and say the same they say you owe it so you must. I moved from that property in October 2019, Iinformed Scottish Power that I was moving and gave them my new address. I then received a bill for nearly £5000, once again I rang them but they just won’t listen. Then I received letter from a debt collection agency along with a bill for 2018 with an amount of nearly £3000 added at the top of the bill, which bought the bill to nearly £5000. I rang the dect collection agency CCS to inform the that I have disputed this bill all along, they were quite rude to start with but they gave me a chance to explain and then I asked if the debt is for 2 years 2017/2019why have they only sent me a bill for 2018/2019? and could they please request the 2017/2018 bill although I know one does not exist as I was on a prepayment meter for a year,CCS put the account on hold whilst they requested this, then I received a letter before action from CCS when I rang them and explained that the account was on hold while waiting for 2017/2018 bill the person I spoke to said they had received areply from Scottish Power saying all the bills had been sent and that they (CCS) was taking this matter further on behalf of Scottish Power. I have now found my contract from when I went onto amonthly meter with Scottish Power 2018, I have found bills, numerous emails, one from Scottish Power after writing a review on Trustpilot appologising for their shortfall and for the ombudsman’s shortfall, they offered me £100off of my bill and to fit a prepayment meter, I was now in a new property and hadn’t been a customer of Scottish Power for several months? My only option now I am told is to go to small claims court, I have all the proof that I am telling the truth. Scottish Power lied about the final reading also saying that they read the meter on the 14th October 2019 I moved out the 13th and the meter is in the property not outside as the new flats are. Most of the bill was estimated, and finally the number of the meter on the bill is the same number on my old EON prepayment meter account, so not Scottish Powers enter that they fitted in 2018? I really need help to go to small claims court so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I’m sorry to hear this story, Jean. You should not go to court without trying to resolve the problems with the Energy Ombudsman. In your position it could help to subscribe to Which? Legal for advice.