Ghastly legacy of wrong meter reading finally set right – The Crusader

After a collapsed energy provider wrongly recorded the reading of a disabled man’s electricity meter nearly three years ago, he has been on a crushing journey trying to rectify the mistakes that resulted such as a £300 plus demand for a few days’ usage.

But working with Crusader and recent suppliers, the fundamental inaccuracy and wrongs that ensued from that toxic legacy of mismanagement have now been put straight. 

In this case, like so many, a loving adult child supporting a vulnerable parent has made a huge difference. 

Super-efficient daughter Sally Page handles the affairs of dad Peter who has Parkinson’s disease, but she was at her wits’ end when she came to Crusader.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++;

He was moved to EDF in 2021 when supplier Green Network Energy failed. A better deal from Avro persuaded him to switch, then days later it went bust and he was moved to Octopus.

But Peter’s start electricity meter read was wrongly recorded by Avro creating the incorrect bill. The fact that it was not an estimate seemed to reinforce impressions of the bill’s veracity. 

“It used readings to its predecessor EDF that I had already paid for, so an absolute nightmare,” says Sally who then faced trying to prove what really had happened both to EDF and Octopus, the current supplier.

Even worse were the endless repetitions of the information Sally was asked to provide.

“It was always a different customer services person, so it was constantly back to the beginning as if they did not have a central record,” she says.

Having seen the exchanges, Crusader is in awe of Sally’s patience and still marvels at how she kept her sanity.

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“A lot of the communications were by What’s App and text so it was hard to keep track,” she says. “On reflection I would always insist on email in future and would advise others if they have problems to do this.”

Her calculations showed Avro had owed Peter, so there was no outstanding debt, however he did owe EDF £44. Peter was also debited for further payments and charged twice by different companies for the same meter reading. 

“No matter what evidence I supplied they kept amending the figures to match the incorrect meter reading,” a despairing Sally added.

Regulator Ofgem’s last-resort safety net protecting consumers when energy companies fail certainly worked for Sally and her dad. It’s also no easy job for companies inheriting wrong historical data.

Timing too was not on Peter’s side when he switched, although most customers transferred from Avro without hitches.

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To end this senseless waste of everyone’s time, Sally spelled out yet again what was needed, Crusader pushed it forward and Octopus acted swiftly, rectifying the data, clearing the erroneous debt and adding a goodwill gesture, all amounting to £476.

EDF has written off its £48 debt charge and said Peter can cash the further £48 in cheques it sent to him during the confusion.

It said: “We’re sorry to hear of the problems [they] have been facing. When [his] account switched from EDF to Avro, Avro’s opening reads were incorrect. We understand that they then changed them to a lower reading which was also incorrect. A misunderstanding led to us calculating an adjustment to reflect these revised readings, and we sent a cheque for the credit on account.

“We have now amended [Peter’s] account with the correct readings as requested. To make things easier we’ve removed the balance this created as a gesture of goodwill, as well as confirming with Ms Page she can cash the cheque she received previously, as we’ll honour the credit to apologise for the confusion and the shortfalls in customer service she’s received.”

Thanking Crusader, daughter and dad responded: “Words can’t express our relief.”

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