Energy meter ‘error’ sparks panic as couple issued staggering bill

Energy: Radio caller says he’s ‘waiting to be cut off’

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A man was left shocked after receiving an energy bill charging him a staggering £738 a month, despite his claims that the company made a mistake with his meter reading. At the beginning of the year, Mike Davies and his wife, from Wales, moved home and switched his energy supplier at the beginning of the year after shopping around for a better deal. The couple signed up for a 24-month contract with energy supplier SSE, which is a part of the Ovo Energy group, paying £122 a month. Initially, they noted that they were more than happy with the service, as the two, both aged 60, were able to rack up a credit of over £140. However, they were soon in for a shock after receiving a statement from the company telling them they owed them more than £500.

The couple soon faced an even bigger nightmare as the company calculated that over the rest of their contract, until January 2024, the couple would use over £10,000 worth of energy.

This meant that their monthly direct debit had been raised at an alarming rate, which Mr Davies said was due to an incorrect meter reading. 

He told our sister news site, WalesOnline: “I noticed that the electricity meter reading was wrong and notified them of the discrepancy immediately. Three emails later and I was told that this was going to be sorted.

“There were no issues at all between February and August – we built up some credit and had a letter saying the direct debit was changing from SSE to Ovo Energy.

“I then get an email from Ovo in August saying I owed £540. I immediately queried this and they said it was wrong and based on an incorrect meter reading from February. I appreciate mistakes happen but the problem is they don’t seem to want to rectify it when it’s all based on an incorrect reading.”

SSE later confirmed that Mr Davies’s account featured a wrong meter reading listed for electricity, and deleted the erroneous reading. They noted that the account is now £8.52 in debit. Following this change, Mr Davies’s Direct Debit was been adjusted in line with his usage, which no longer in triple digits. 

Before this clarification however, Mr Davies took a photo of the correct meter reading and sent it to the company. He suspected that Ovo’s calculations were based on a standard reading that was used when setting up a new account.

In correspondence, the company admitted that those calculations were  “clearly inaccurate” and that the figures “nowhere near match up with your provided meter readings”.

Mr Davies, who suffers from chronic arthritis and is currently waiting for two hip replacements, reached out to the energy ombudsman, his local MP, and the CEO of Ovo because he could not afford what they were originally asking him to pay. 

He said: “I can’t afford it, I don’t owe it anyway, and I have no control over it. I’m putting in complaints with Ovo almost on a daily basis. I had an email back on Friday apologising about the issue and saying that they hope it will be rectified. Well, I want more than hope.

“I’ve been told before that it should be rectified within eight days – well that’s been and gone. I had another email saying it should be sorted within 12 weeks so I just have no idea at the moment.

“If this was a one-off it would be something but looking online – there’s a Facebook group called Ovo Energy customer service victims support group – it can’t be a one-off.

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“The question is – am I one of thousands that this is happening to? How many people are in the same boat? Potentially I could be more than £10,000 out of pocket and I think the public need to be aware of it. I’m going round in ever-decreasing circles. If I owed them that money I would pay it but I don’t.”

An OVO spokesperson said: “We’ve apologised to Mr Davies for the inconvenience the incorrect reading on his account caused. We’ve corrected the meter reading and his account is up to date.”

In an email sent to Mr Davies on Friday Ovo apologised and said that the “relevant departments are now aware of the situation and there should be no further excuses”.

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