Southern Electric failed to senmd me a bill

  ened 16:58 25 Oct 2008

The other day my wife pointed out that we hadn't had a bill for electricity for a while and must be due one.

I went on line to my bank and noticed a spurious direct debit. The bank confirmed it was to SE.

We had not had a bill but fortunately there was enough in the acount to pay it.

I asked them to send me the bill which arrived two weeks later and had been estimated. By my own estimate (I didn't take the reading until I realised the money had been taken) our bill was underestimated by approx. 500 units.

Coincidentally there was a massive price rise towards the end of the billing period. This means that the next bill would have included these units at the inflated price.

I have taken the trouble to sort this out with them but am wondering how many people would not have either noticed or bothered.

Maybe I am being unfairly suspicious but it would be interesting to know if anybody else had had this problem.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:17 25 Oct 2008

Paying online is the way forward.


  ened 17:28 25 Oct 2008

I don't like Direct Debits and never have, but in these days of ever increasing prices one finds that savings need to be made whereever possible.

However the point of this thread was to see if my experience was a one off or whether they have been doing this across the board.

For every customer like myself there are probably ten who would have just shrugged their shoulders and paid the next bill without realising they were being fleeced.

  Forum Editor 19:52 25 Oct 2008

that you've been 'fleeced'?

Presumably you were out when the meter reader came, so the company billed you based on your consumption for the same period in the previous year. If they weren't able to get a meter reading they have no alternative.

The fact that there was a price increase really has no bearing on the matter - you have to pay for what you consume in the end. Surely you're not suggesting that there's some sinister motive at work here?

  Spark6 21:02 25 Oct 2008

Sinister motive is possibly the wrong term but, errors have, and to the best of my knowledge, still are being made, by the energy suppliers when they charge for increased rates in mid-quarter without a meter reading at that time.

A guesstimate sums it up. All consumers should be notified in advance of all increases and advised to take meter readings on the day of the increase.

  peter99co 21:41 25 Oct 2008

My meter was read by Npower on Thursday and I received an email today (Saturday) with the reading taken into account and an online bill(can be read or saved)

  spuds 21:41 25 Oct 2008

There was a program on television the other day about gas and electricity companies, and it showed the increase of people getting into further debt through incorrect or estimated billing. One part was the difference between 'arranged or fixed' direct debit payments and to what was actually owed, usually far more than the customer expected.

It was suggested that the only way to overcome this was to have a 'varied' direct debit arrangement (providing you had sufficient funds available), and do constant checks of the energy used via on-line or similar methods.

I have recently changed my power provisions and arrangements by combining both gas and electricity (dual fuel) with a capped protection contract. Part of that contract will provide a 3% refund on prompt payment via cash, cheque or on-line. Glad I made this arrangement, because what I saw on that television program, many people can and are falling into deeper unknowing debt.

  peter99co 22:22 25 Oct 2008
  MAJ 01:50 26 Oct 2008 Southern Electric, but having read some of their FAQs, it seems that their meter reading practises aren't very good. To TRY to read meters only twice a year is, to say the least, ludicrous, and personally I wouldn't stand for it.

Here in N.Ireland our lecky meters are read four times a year and if the meter reader can not gain entry to read the meter, he/she will leave a note to say that they called. The householder is then given a number of options:

1. They can phone in their meter reading.
2. They can go online and submit their reading.
3. They can accept an estimated bill.

  ened 08:35 26 Oct 2008

No attempt had been made to read the meter. That is a fact!

The difference in price is:6 pence to 12 pence a unit.

Even at 400 units that is £24. Multiply that across the board and that is quite a large anount of money.

So the price increase has every bearing on the matter and I started this thread mainly to see if this has happened to any other SE customers who happen to be members of this Forum.

  Forum Editor 08:57 26 Oct 2008

in your first post, which is why I said what I did. I pay my electricity bills by direct debit - in fact I pay all my utility bills that way - and I can enter meter readings online; the supplier sends me an email reminder, and it all works very well.

In the circumstances I'm inclined to agree with Spark6 - you should have been advised that a reading was required. Can you not enter readings online?

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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