Questions of Cash: June 2015

Q  I have used gas and electric prepayment meters since March last year, when I began renting a property.  As I pay for energy ‘up-front’ from Scottish Power I was alarmed to receive a bill for £318 in February. I noticed that many of my top-up payments were not shown on the statement.  Attempts to communicate with Scottish Power by letter and email proved futile. I telephoned customer services and was told that many of my top-up payments had gone into the previous tenant’s account. I was reassured this would be corrected.  It wasn’t.  I phoned Scottish Power again, but was told my complaint would no longer be dealt with by phone. My communication with Scottish Power seems blocked and I have received further wrong bills.  The latest bill reports I am in debt and contains an obvious miscalculation about my energy use.  JH.

A   Scottish Power says: “We have contacted [the reader] and apologised for the shortfalls in service and for the inconvenience this matter caused.  After carrying out a full investigation into his account we found that [the reader’s] key for his prepayment meter was set incorrectly which resulted in underpayments on his electricity account. This has now been corrected.  We have assured [the reader] we would apply an adjustment to clear off any debt owed due to this error.  In way of an apology we have issued a goodwill payment of £100.”  As a thank you for our involvement you have donated £90 to The Independent’s favoured charity ‘Space for Giants’.

Q  I have repeatedly tried since November to switch our dual fuel account to E.ON from Scottish Power and obtain a refund of the credit balance.   I was offered a goodwill gesture of £30 because of the problems.  However, I am now being hounded for £93.74, which Scottish Power says is outstanding, but which they told me to reclaim via my bank account as the direct debit mandate had ended – not because of my actions.  HJ.

A   Scottish Power responds: “We sincerely apologise to [the reader] for the inconvenience this matter has caused and for the length of time it has taken to resolve.  When the account was closed a refund was issued, the refund included the additional payment of £93.74 we had taken from [the reader’s] bank account on the 6th March 2015.  When we received the indemnity claim from [the reader’s] bank we returned the £93.74 to them which meant we had paid this twice.  This then triggered the re-billing of the final account for this amount.  In way of an apology and as a goodwill gesture we have written-off the £93.74 balance and the account is now at zero.”

Q  Scottish Power told me it would take eight weeks to get my new meter in their system and then to update my bills and provide a new tariff.  It is now ten months.  Last September I was told the problem was with a new computer system.  When I phoned in February and gave my meter number, I was told it was not yet in the system.  In April I was told the system problems had not been resolved yet.  I am 72 and this is too stressful for me.  PD.

A  Scottish Power apologises and says: “We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and agreed to withdraw the electricity charges from 17 July 2014 until the matter has been fully resolved.”

Q  My mother died in February.  Her gas and electricity were supplied by Scottish Power and she had built up a credit balance of several hundred pounds.  I arranged to have the account transferred into my name and the correspondence address to be changed to mine.  I was promised the refund cheque would be sent to my address.  However, Scottish Power has actually changed the correspondence address to that of one of its employees, two cheques were sent to my mum’s address, one has been sent to the Scottish Power employee and my request for my complaint to be escalated has been ignored.  AH.

A  Scottish Power apologises.  It has paid the refund electronically into your account and issued an additional goodwill payment of £100.

Q  I switched my energy supply in autumn 2013 to Scottish Power, on a dual energy contract.  Although the gas supply changed quickly, Scottish Power did not commence the supply of electricity until nearly three months later.   I understood the delay was because of a mix-up with the ‘supply’ number.  I switched supplier again in November last year and received a final bill for electricity of £195.15.  I disputed this, which became the subject of a formal complaint.  I strongly suspect the problem stems from the initial mix-up with the electricity ‘supply’ number.  Scottish Power seems to believe that I have two electricity meters. I do not.  In its February 2014 statement there is a note that a meter was ‘removed’ – no meter was taken away – but it reappeared in later statements.  Scottish Power claims that I owe them about £200, while I believe they owe me about £100.  The £300 difference is represented by the usage on the ‘phantom’ meter.  VS.

A  Scottish Power apologises.  It says: “The problem was due to a human error on our part.  When we took over [the reader’s] supply, we incorrectly added another meter to his account which led to an extra 285 units showing on his account.  We are issuing a credit of £100.39 for the overcharged units and in way of an apology a further goodwill payment [of] £75.”

Q I changed my gas and electric from Scottish Power to my new supplier in December 2014. After countless emails to them I am no further forward in getting back the money they owe me.  My final bill in January stated that I was in credit by £108.38.  DS.

A  Scottish Power apologises and says: “We have raised a cheque for the refund plus a goodwill payment of £75 in way of an apology.”

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