New shock for victims of energy back-billing

When the elderly parents of the Independent reader Stewart Graham had a surprise and distressing demand for £1,200 from the energy supplier EDF, he turned to us. The Birmingham couple, who are in their late seventies, had been left fearful of turning on their heating because of the cost.

They had been sent the bill to cover supposed past underpayments, but the problem appeared to have been caused by a faulty meter that EDF installed.

Despite his best efforts to resolve the situation – there was no way that his elderly parents could afford the steep bill – Stewart got nowhere with EDF, which continued to bombard the couple with aggressive demands for the cash. We passed on the problem to the company in November, and it appeared to be sorting things out for the couple.

EDF said back then: "We will reimburse the customer without delay if there is a fault and we will not send any bills to the couple until the results are confirmed."

Almost five months on, Stewart felt compelled to come back to us.

"EDF would not have responded in the way it did without The Independent highlighting the story," he said. "But once the publicity passed EDF simply returned to the bad attitude they displayed in the first place."

His anger flared last week when EDF wrote to say it had credited his parents' account with £100 "in recognition of any confusion or upset caused by the incorrect bills that they had received [but] we will not be increasing this amount".

"The offer of a £100 gesture 'as a matter of goodwill' is derisory," Stewart said. "This is not a case of 'offering gestures of goodwill' this is about EDF understanding that it needs to rectify a very bad customer experience caused by it not bothering to ensure it was charging the correct amount and then sending out inappropriate and aggressive letters."

Back we went to EDF. It had another look at the case and calculated there could be a further reduction of £172.58 on Stewart's parents' account.

In a statement, the firm said: "We are sorry that Mr Graham feels the matter is unresolved. We previously reduced the outstanding balance on his parent's account by £100 as a gesture of goodwill in recognition of the delay in removing the check meter and also for the inconvenience caused.

"We have now reviewed the account and the balance has been reduced by a further £172.58, the amount that would have been removed in line with the Code of Conduct as a further gesture of goodwill.

"This is very much above and beyond usual process and we hope that this will now bring the matter to a close."

The story is far from rare. Last week we reported that a quarter of households have been billed incorrectly by their energy company in the last two years. According to uSwitch, the number of customers who ended up owing money to an energy supplier following a discrepancy between an estimated bill and a "real" bill, increased to almost 10 million last year.

Stewart Graham's experience shows that energy firms are still failing to put things right when they make mistakes but it shouldn't need the press to get involved.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Life and Style
Kissing
life
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test