Phan­tom bill from Scot­tish Power

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I re­ceived an es­ti­mated bill at my ad­dress in an apart­ment block from Scot­tish Power for £4,052. On the bill it­self there was no ad­dressee, just “owner/oc­cu­pier”. The bill is back­dated to May 2013.

To start with, I have never held an elec­tric­ity ac­count with Scot­tish Power, al­though an ac­count has been cre­ated in my name. I do get gas from Scot­tish Power. More im­por­tantly the meter se­rial num­ber and read­ing on the bill don’t cor­re­spond to my ac­tual meter, which is out­side my prop­erty.

I have con­tacted Scot­tish Power re­gard­ing this. It checked the data­base and con­firmed that the meter num­ber on the bill was for another prop­erty. As a sin­gle

oc­cu­pant I am very en­ergy ef­fi­cient. The es­ti­mate is con­sid­er­ably more than what I would nor­mally use.

This is caus­ing me con­sid­er­able dis­tress and I seem to be go­ing around in cir­cles. I have been con­stantly on the phone to Scot­tish Power to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion. Now it’s get­ting to the point where I am re­ceiv­ing threat­en­ing phone calls and let­ters from debt col­lec­tion agen­cies. DW, WEST MID­LANDS

You inherited the prop­erty from your mother 10 years ago. Even in her time there had been prob­lems with this and it had been a worry to­wards the end of her life.

You were giving Scot­tish Power read­ings and it was send­ing you mys­ti­fy­ing bills and not giving the an­swers you needed. You were not get­ting bills from any other sup­plier.

Af­ter I con­tacted Scot­tish Power it ar­ranged for a cus­tomer li­ai­son of­fi­cer to

visit the prop­erty to check the meter de­tails it had on record. It con­firmed, not for the first time, that they were in­deed re­lated to another prop­erty.

Your true elec­tric­ity sup­plier is also cor­rect­ing its records and billing you. This will be for the 12-year pe­riod dur­ing which this has now been go­ing on. How it could be so long-stand­ing is a mys­tery to me.

You hope the reg­u­la­tor’s “back­billing” rules will

ap­ply. These new Ofgem rules are ex­plained on its web­site: “Put sim­ply, a sup­plier can’t seek ad­di­tional pay­ment for un­billed en­ergy used more than 12 months prior to the er­ror be­ing de­tected and a cor­rected bill be­ing is­sued.”

This is pro­vided that the con­sumer has not be­haved ob­struc­tively or un­rea­son­ably to pre­vent the sup­plier from billing ac­cu­rately. For more see ofgem.gov.uk. Such

ar­range­ments ex­isted pre­vi­ously, but they were part of a vol­un­tary code that not all com­pa­nies sub­scribed to. Now it is manda­tory. Scot­tish Power has of­fered a good­will pay­ment of £100.

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