On Bogus Bills

Posted on Tuesday 15th May 2007 at 00:00
Continuing on the subject of utility bills for the moment, I've just finished paying the quarterly electricity bill. This should have been dealt with a week ago, but unfortunately there were a few problems when I came to open the bill. Or rather one problem: It was for more than double what we were expecting.

We sat round, J, H and I and looked at it. Our previous two bills had been estimates, so we weren't surprised that this one was up on the last, but this was way up. Eventually we discovered the problem. We have two electricity meters in our house, one in use and one that is redundant. Normally when we receive our bills there is a page for the active meter and a page for the redundant one, the latter reading straight zeros. This time however there was a bill of over '60 on a meter that shouldn't be costing us anything.

This all seemed rather odd, especially since the electricity bloke had come to read the meter just a week or two before. According to his reading, we'd used about a million units of power since the meter had last been read. We checked the meter ourselves and surprise, surprise, the guy had misread it. In fact, he'd written down two of the numbers the wrong way round, thus increasing our usage many times over.

We immediately phoned EDF to point out their mistake and unfortunately they didn't believe us. We must have been on the phone a good 20 minutes before J managed to persuade the woman on the other end of the phone that a) the meter was redundant, b) it had not moved in all the time we'd been here, c) it still read what it had always read, not what was on the bill and therefore that d) the guy had made a mistake.

EDF lady then rather sheepishly told us that a correct bill would be on its way to us as soon as possible.

And so a warning to all my readers: Don't just assume that your utility bills are correct because someone came to read the meter. Despite appearances, electricity men are human too and they do make mistakes. Don't be afraid to complain if you think something is wrong.

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