British Gas profiting from overestimated energy bills

  Dragon_Heart 00:09 29 Oct 2013

Some say to the tune of £20 million ! It's been in many of the nationals like The Scotsman

But it's not only by overestimating do British Gas profit ! Both our electric and gas bills were under estimated for about 18 months. Towards the end of that period was one of their double figure prices rises on both fuels. When we swopped suppliers they sent a bill on the last reading but without accounting for the under estimation for most of the period. We were therefore billed 4 times the amount we were normally charged for the same period. We had to contact the Chairman of British Gas to get someone with at least a grasp of math's to rework our bill. One Customer Advisor even admitted their accounts dept were a law unto themselves, chasing bills that we in dispute and chasing bills that had been paid. The majority of customer complaints for British Gas is, I understand, estimated readings. The problem for all utility companies be they for gas, electric or water is meter reading. It's costly and, by using a meter reader, not very practical. The customer not home, car parked over meter pit, meter pit covered, meter reading errors ...... the list goes on and on. But they are paid as part of your bill to do this ! Check your reading on a weekly basis and on the day of price increases. Don't let them claim any more than is correct. If you can't read or understand your meter ask your utility company how in writing. Some utility companies have a web page that allows you to leave meter readings but always keep a note yourself of what you enter

  oresome 08:34 29 Oct 2013

I have a web operated tariff. The energy company is obliged to read the meter infrequently, but the rest of the time I need to submit readings.

If consumption deviates from the norm, the monthly direct debits are adjusted to ensure they meet the anticipated annual bill.

I am ahead in the summer months as to be expected, but overall the monthly payments are accurate.

On occasions where there has been a price rise, there has been an estimate of the consumption at the old rate and at the new or I've been advised to submit a meter reading to produce a more accurate bill.

All told, nothing to complain about.

  spuds 10:36 29 Oct 2013

Utility company billing have been one of the major things that is often brought to the attention of the public, and especially when things go seriously wrong. Under or over estimating is one of the most bigger issues, because either way, it might cause financial hardships for all parties.

Talking about meter reading, there are legal procedures for this, that all utility companies must abide by. But like everything in life, its not 100% foolproof.

On a personal note, I had many problems with E.oN and dual fuel meter reading. When the meter reader called, they always took both gas and electricity readings, yet for some unknown reason I always received the gas reading as an estimated reading, usually incorrect. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get a 'proper' answer to the question i raised, because it always seemed to be a case of each 'advisor' having there own views on what was going wrong. In the end, we went for 'Smart Meters', and that seems to have now cured the meter reading or estimated billing problem?.

The advantage of Smart Meters, is that you have more control on your own destiny regarding usage and expected payment.

  spuds 14:54 29 Oct 2013


According to the technician who fitted both meters to the gas and electricity supply, he mentioned that they were similar to sim 'phone home' method, with the information going direct to a control centre, your energy service provider uses. The 'gadget' you mention should not make any difference, whether connected or not, because this is for your 'best practice' information only. But to be sure, depending on the smart meter fitted (apparently there are differences), I would perhaps suggest that you contact your provider, if you are concerned. The technician and provider left me with a very nice instruction booklet, when the installation was completed, including contact telephone numbers, if there were any problems or concerns.

Perhaps what a lot of people don't realise, is that the government (with EU and service provider backing) intend to roll-out smart meters from 2015 over a five year period, so every energy using property as a smart meter device fitted. Apparently this will cost £11 billion to undertake, but should also save £300 million per year for the energy provider's in future administration. But there is a sting in the tail, because while saving money, the overhaul installation costs will have to be met, and this is most probably by further increased bills for customer's and consumer's.

A further point about smart meters, is the Which (Consumer Association) website, which provides quite a lot of interesting information on smart meters, plus video. Possibly well worth a look?.

Perhaps the above will resolve the estimated bill, because this is what the government, the EU, and the energy service provider's hope?.

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