Electric Shocks!!!


I received my first on line electricity bill from Southern Electric this week and yesterday was the first chance I had to check it over..

I was unprepared for the shock of seeing that my quarterly bill including VAT was for £448.49! Just for electricity! Well I know I like my fairy lights but how could it be that much? I read on….

My monthly direct debit had paid off £120 already so the final bill was £300 ish and at the bottom of the PDF file Southern Electric had the audacity to put the statement – ‘you’ve chosen our cheapest payment methods’. I don’t think so!!

Frantically I went back to my email – this is a dual fuel account and I wanted to see the gas bill. It wasn’t there, it hadn’t been set up!

I printed the PDF and made coffee – this just couldn’t be right..

Looking at the bill it showed that they had estimated my electricity reading – goodness knows why, I haven’t been with them long enough for them to know my usage over the winter and a meter reader hadn’t even tried to call…

I read my meter – my reading was a world away from theirs… I read my gas meter too and got in touch with Southern Electric.

I can’t fault their customer service guy – he was wonderful, he looked at my bill and took my readings. then he said I would receive a new bill in a few days. I asked him about the gas bill – he said that hadn’t been set up for online yet and was in the post to me, but that he could take my reading.

He looked at the account for gas – and literally gasped in amazement another £400 plus!!! He advised me not to open the bill when it comes!

When he had applied the actual meter readings for both accounts he told me what I really owe:  £30.92 Electric and £21.84 Gas!

Not nearly £1000 pounds like they had billed me for!

Today I will be looking for a new provider because, quite frankly I don’t need the hassle or the nasty shocks!

Any suggestions anyone?

13 thoughts on “Electric Shocks!!!”

  1. Argh, that’s horrible!
    DP has a point though. Maybe they’ll correct it all quickly… But I know the feeling. Have had the same thing happen in the past. You feel so…victimized!

  2. They do the same here for water rates. Rarely read the meter but I must admit, I’ve never checked with the electricity which seems to be more expensive each month. It comes directly out of my account too! Thanks for the heads up, I’m going to check the meter next time just to be sure. Trouble is, doesn’t matter who the provider is, they calculate your usage the same way. Pays to be vigilant I guess.

  3. That’s appalling!! How dare they try to fleece people like that? Think of the shock and distress a single pensioner might feel on opening that. And I believe they do it deliberately as an attempt to ‘borrow’ our money. They can make good interest on that £1000 in the time it takes you to get it back or catch up.

    OH regulary has fights with the service providers about how much they want to put our direct debit up.

  4. Daddy P- I can see what you’re saying but what I don’t understand is why I have to give them my readings every 3 months – which is what I’ve been asked to do….. what if I forget? Will they estimate again? I don’t feel comfortable with them now…

    Geri – That’s right – I did feel victimised and I really don’t trust them now..

    Baino – I always check my meter when I get a bill – but it was the size of this one that threw me….

    Jay – The shock and distress of this single mid-fifties person had was huge enough. But, strange you should mention it I went over to see my (soon to be 93 year old) Uncle in the afternoon and I was telling him about it – he showed me his bill, it too had been estimated but when I went to check the meter in his council bungalow for the elderly – it was in an outhouse at the top of a wall around 7 foot high. Neither my uncle or I were tall enough to read it – so how would he know if he was being fleeced? He can’t climb on things and neither can I!!!!!

  5. I wonder how they produce their estimates if they turn out to be about 15 times the actual reading. That’s not an estimate, it’s a computer malfunction. And as Jay said, a bill like that could kill a frail oldie stone dead. Perhaps you should tell them you “estimated” your bill at £1.09 so that’s what you’re paying!

  6. Our first gas bill was way off too – it had something to do with the fact that the gas company thought the neighbours meter was ours and vica versa. Apparently, our neighbours kept their house at 30 degrees celcius all winter and had three hot baths a day!?! Once the meters got switched, all was well.

  7. Help – I am with the same elec/gas company. Looks like I am going to have a BIG shock coming my way! Especially the amount of time we have had the heating on over the cold snap!
    Ever since we changed to Southern when the salesman knocked on the door, meter readers have tried to gain access to read the meter leaving a calling card but it is always during the day when I am at work. EDF used to come back and try again in the evening! Maybe I need to look at changing too!

  8. Oh! my goodness what a shock this must have been. So glad you got the right price in the end although I know you did not need the stress and the hassle.

  9. Woah. This is a good lesson to everybody about the value of checking utility bills carefully. Even when it’s not such a dramatic overcharge, it all adds up, and quickly!

  10. The devil you know versus the devil you don’t. I doubt any of them are that much different. Guess you simply have to check on them each time you get a bill. My opinion is that “it’s their meter, they should read the damn thing”. Still wouldn’t trust them though.

  11. Nick – It would be nice to try but you just know they would have no sense of humour if the roles were reversed. Yes I’d love to know how they reached that figure too!

    Don’t Bug Me – That must be it!!I must be paying for my neighbours too…. oh I better not be!!!

    Taffy’s Mum – That was what I thought at first – after all we have greyhounds to keep warm don’t we – but when I checked the meter reading estimate it was way out!!

    Barbara – It was a shock but I think it was so far away from what I thought it would be that it didn’t register for a few minutes – it was really quite a strange feeling! The new online bill came yesterday but the gas one has yet to arrive!

    Tattytiara – Welcome – oh yes always ,always, check and give a correct meter reading! It works both ways too – sometimes they don’t estimate enough – I’ve had that happen in the past – not often though!

    Cortes – I remember when I was a child we had prepayment meters and had some very dark moments while my parents searched for the appropriate coin – at least they always knew where they were and didn’t get a bill!!! No I don’t trust them – not one bit!

  12. Wow just a bit of a difference between what they billed you for and what you owe.
    I remember the coin meters too, at least you know where you stand with them.
    We only have electric and phone bills here, no mains gas so a bottle does the cooker which you pay for in advance. Oil heats the house which again is paid for in advance.
    Although I only got oil under a month ago and it cost 290 euro and it’s almost run out now.

    Sorry for the long ramble!

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