Energy company problem


    I think my problem doesn't really have a solution but I would like to share and hear your opinion on this.

    I moved into my one bed flat in July 2012. At that time, my landlady said she has lost keys to the elec cupboard and would get me one asap. However , we got it after three months later ( more due to my fault of not chasing up often). The supplier was EDF and we probably were left with the highest paying tariff after the previous tenanct moved. I changed my supplier in December

    The end result was paying about £380 for 4.5 months for a one bad flat (£84 per month roughly). From then on, I was with Ovo and EDF Energy blue tariff which amounted to roughly 50 per month.

    Few weeks back, I got a letter from EDF that I have still got £178 left to pay them (on top of the £380) from my older account and that they will refer me to debt collection agency. I have ordered the statements and am yet to see the details but even without them £125 per month from end of July to beginning of December seems too steep for 1 bed flat. Even if I had blasted my heating in October and November, I doubt it could have gone that high?

    I don't suppose I can seek help from energy ombudsman that I feel I am unfairly being charged - got no proof! And probably my fault for not cottoning to it early and making sure to get a better tariff.


    your right it is your fault just pay up. Happy Xmas!

    Hmmm the first comment was very helpful (not) This does seem like a lot for a 1 bed flat , i'm £98 monthly direct debit for a 3 bed house and my partner has a lung condition and feels cold more so heating on all the time and i'm also with EDF ,I would contact citizens advice. hope you get it sorted

    i would contact edf for a full explanation i would advise them that you are going to make a complaint if you are not happy with the response once they have responded to your compaint you can then take it to the ombudsman. in the meantime if you recieve a letter from debt collector pay it before you incur charges if it turns out you dont owe the debt you can reclaim it back.

    Original Poster

    haha, yeah its a right cheerful piece advice that I need during the festive season, isn't it? I am fully aware that I might need to pay up in any case!

    Thanks Lynne77. I know for fact that its totally disproportionate and I am being robbed by EDF due to my carelessness. I am with them at the moment and pay only £50 - so whats the logic in paying double 2 years back (even without a fixed price tariff)! Hmm.. I wonder, how the CAB might help but will give it a go , thanks.

    If you pay the debt collectors ask them to note on the file you are paying under duress and are contesting the payment otherwise you won't be able to contest it later on down the line.
    Or you could not pay the debt collectors and tell them that you are contesting the payment and they should then transfer the debt back to edf.


    in the meantime if you recieve a letter from debt collector pay it before … in the meantime if you recieve a letter from debt collector pay it before you incur charges if it turns out you dont owe the debt you can reclaim it back.

    Disagree with this bit.
    If you get a letter from a debt collector reply to them that the debt is in dispute and that they should refer it back to their client.


    Disagree with this bit.If you get a letter from a debt collector reply to … Disagree with this bit.If you get a letter from a debt collector reply to them that the debt is in dispute and that they should refer it back to their client.

    quite often the debt collector will only hold action if requested to by edf not by customer, if it cant be held while in dispute then i would prefer to pay rather than pay the fees if it can be held then great!

    You should have the meter readings from when you moved in, and the closing meter readings from when you transferred. So you know how many units you've used between the 2 dates.

    Based on this it should be really easy to calculate the costs of your usage. Then add on the standing charge price x no. of days.

    Are you saying that, because your landlady had lost the keys to the meter cupboard, you were unable to take an opening meter reading on the first day of your tenancy?

    Original Poster

    two issues -yes I didn't take the meter reading when we took the flat because of the locked cupboard, so that's estimated by EDF .
    Secondly, I think we were put on an automatic expensive tariff when we moved in.

    Well, it's a real catalogue of disasters, mostly of your own making. Not taking an opening meter reading is just plain negligent on your part and then not getting access to the meter for 3 months, well...... When you moved in and notified EDF that you were the new tenants and were taking over the account, they would have sent you either a letter or email confirming that you were now a customer and giving you the details of what you had signed up to. That's the law, they have to do that. You should have checked it and if you weren't happy with it, switch supplier. How did you pay the £380 - was it based on a quarterly in arrears bill or were you paying a fixed amount per month based on estimated usage?

    The first question I would ask would be how long ago does the 'alleged' debt date back to?
    The reason I ask is that we had a huge mess up on our supply (energy company error) and it was literally 3 years until it was resolved. I initially spent 5 months constantly chasing to get it resolved which I just hit brick walls so just kept documents and notes of all my contacts with everyone (a 10 page summary!).
    Anyway it finally got resolved and after a lot of digging I found that if an energy company has not charged you for energy used (and it's their fault they didn't charge you) they can't bill you for usage dating back more than 1 year!
    I would definitely contest it and query with the industry regulator.
    You can also argue the case that had you known they were billing you there is no way you would have selected such a high tariff and negotiate reduced costs.

    Just re-read your post and from the dates you have stated that means you moved away from EDF in December 2012?
    If so they should have charged for any energy used at the time of the transfer of supplier away from them. If they did not contact you or provide you with a bill at the time or at any time in the year immediately following they can't actually charge you now (2 years later).
    I've had a dig around for you and found that it's called the 'back billing code' - link here from citizens advice:…htm
    My advice would be to quote this code to them, and tell them to swing for it as in accordance with the code they cannot bill you for energy used over 1 year ago. Take it to the CEO team if needed as I had to in order to finally get somewhere.
    The key part to your case is that it is their fault they have not billed (the fact that it initially took you 3 months to start off with them is irrelevant as you paid all charges you were billed for)
    Any further queries just drop me a pm and I will help you out.
    Edited by: "Suzannzan" 19th Dec 2014

    Original Poster

    Thanks for all your answers.

    2012 was a very difficult year for me so I was a bit mismanaged and now it seems I am having gaps in my memory as well! However, I just dug out an old email where it seems I had emailed EDF with my meter readings .Yay! t was from an email address I hardly use any more. I can calculate my usage now as well as I distinctly remember giving the new supplier one.

    Suzannzan thats a very useful post, I will certainly look into it. Thats very true that the three months shouldn't matter because I paid up for whatever they billed me in October and then the consequent bills. Even though I was paying a lot more than I would have, I made peace with it after I thought I had paid all the dues and moved to a cheaper supplier. The £178 they asking NOW is a bit shocking to say the least.

    At this point of time, EDF has only sent me a letter threatening to pay up. There was no bill attached. So I can only assume that they think they sent out the bill and I didnt pay it ( and I checked my paper files and I certainly don't have a bill). I have asked EDF to send me all the bills for the time I was with them, so yeah hoping to check them thoroughly once they arrive.

    Is it possible there is a debt on the meter from a past tenant? Something similar happened when we first moved in I didn't get round to changing the details with Scottish Power and as a result we were paying an extra £15 a week for the previous tenants debt. I contacted them with our move in date and was refunded the extra money we paid.

    As others have said, you needed to give the opening meter reading to make sure you're not paying for the previous tenants usage. However whats happened has happened.

    Their estimated start bill "should" be accurate as they "should" of had a closing reading from the previous tenant. I would call EDF and ask what the closing reading of the previous tenant was and what your opening reading was. Or contact the letting agent, they should if they are any good have this recorded.

    after you got the keys to the cupboard did you start taking readings? If so you should be able to work out your average usage. If you have this you can estimate the usage for those 3 months and guesstimate the opening figure. Check this against what EDF estimate it as

    Original Poster

    called edf again. they say it might have been an error resulting from not closing the account properly. I am waiting for them to send the bills so I can work it out. they said I was on green tariff but its only a little bit more expensive than their standard rate.

    I have to say I honestly would quote the back billing code and tell them they cannot make you pay. The code and therefore regulator will almost certainly side with you.
    It took 3 years to resolve ours, the whole time we put the money we should be paying to one side in a savings account in anticipation of a big bill. When it finally got resolved it was agreed (because of the back billing code) that we were legally only liable to pay the past 1 years charges.
    Make sure you tell EDF you are aware of the code and your rights, I think they are pulling a fast one as not many people know about the code so just trying their luck.

    Edited by: "Suzannzan" 19th Dec 2014
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