My pre-pay electricity meter with Scottish Power ran up £1,200 bill

I recently moved out of a property that I rented for more than three years where Scottish Power was supplying my electricity via a pre-payment meter. I left with a £5 credit and was surprised when Scottish Power contacted me, following my move, to inform me I owed £1,200. This was even more surprising given that I was pre-paying my electricity.

After numerous calls to customer services, I thought that the problem stemmed from Scottish Power taking an erroneous “moving in” reading. Despite several calls, everyone at Scottish Power seems adamant that it cannot backdate a meter reading more than one year, and has refused to even consider looking at it.

I have started formal complaints proceedings in order to be allowed to bring my case to the energy ombudsman, but I’ve been told that it would take “weeks, if not months” before the necessary deadlock is reached.

JS, Edinburgh

The whole point of pre-payment meters is that you can’t run up a big bill, so your letter was something of a surprise.

However, when Scottish Power finally got its act together, it emerged that the reading was not the problem.

In fact, it had not received any of the payments you had made over the three years – instead, they had gone to British Gas.

Scottish Power has assured us that it is now sorting this out behind the scenes, the payments will be assigned to your account, and that should be the end of the matter.

It seems that the mislabelling of meters and addresses in Edinburgh is a common occurrence.

But it remains unclear as to why it took our intervention to get to the bottom of a problem.

It is not the first time Scottish Power has appeared in these pages.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to terms and conditions

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