Today my Dad came over and seen a card asking me for my meter reading. I let him go out and read my meters for me - I submit them online. I do this because when I do get the meter readers turning up I let them in to read the electricity meter, then they ask where my gas box is and I tell them they've to go round to the front of my house and where it is there. I then see them walk past my living room window to go to the meter. So you'd be well to think, okay they'll read the meter. I get my bills in, and the electricity one states its an actual read, and ho hum I get an ESTIMATE for my gas one. This has been annoying me for years. I've NEVER had an actual gas meter read despite them going to go read it.
So Dad goes outside to read the meter and comes back to me. It turns out I have been giving British Gas the LAST 5 numbers of the meter reading instead of the FIRST 5. Oops! My bad! You can't change that meter reading online as because it's LESS than the estimates by quite a bit it won't let you. So I call them and Dad takes over to explain the situation.
Should be easy to sort - easy mistake to make! Wrong!
Well... it then turns rather tricky... British Gas tell my dad that the reference number he gave them for my gas box is NOT my gas box - when I know full well it is. They tell us it must be a neighbours box! So we end up going out and looking at my next door neighbours boxes and serial numbers. One of them matches what British Gas has as mine! They proceed to insist that this one IS mine. The one that is in my next door neighbours garden which is fenced. This is definately his box - besides, it's on HIS property not mine!
British Gas make me turn on my gas cooker and had my Dad turn off my gas at the box I know is mine but that they don't believe is. You guessed it - the gas went off! So eventually they believe us. It turns out what they think has happened is the builders that built this house told the national database my box number as what my NEIGHBOURS was. So on a national database all the gas companies use - my gas box number is stated as what my neighbours is.
I was with Scottish Hydro Electric when I first moved in here as a new build house, and about 2 years later I moved to British Gas. This complicates matters further.
What box did Scottish Hydro look at to give me my first ever meter read as a new customer!? What box did British Gas look at to give Scottish Hydro a final meter read to take over from me!?
When I left Scottish Hydro I got a pretty big bill in as a final bill - about £300 about the cost to me for a quarterly bill! Did they look at next door neighbours box (the one with the serial number that "matches" mine)? If so then I could have been given the wrong final bill... Scottish Gas therefore owing me cash they took for gas I never used. Or did Scottish Hydro do ACTUAL meter reads - from neighbours box all along??
Back then I never took heed of these bills - they confuse me with their "you've used 56 credits" etc. I just paid what they said I owed like a good little citizen. So I've no idea if Scottish Hydro ever read my meter or just gave me constant estimates - I never self read my meter in my time with them - which is why I could believe I had a final bill of £300 if was always estimates.
What I do know is since I started with British Gas they've never read my meter - it's always been estimates. I have tweeted about this before - about the meter readers arriving and coming in to read the electric box then watching them go outside to my gas box then me ending up getting a estimate read.
Now a few questions need to be answered here as you can see already, but also - all these times the gas meter readers have obviously went outside and noticed the reference numbers not whats on their computer box says it should be. They've obviously just stated they couldn't get a gas meter read. Why didn't ANY come back to me - they knew I was in my house - and tell me they couldn't find the box? Why didn't any tell their superiors that the meter box number I showed them to and the reference number they had didn't match?
British Gas have this issue now passed on to senior level and their legal team. As you can see it's an extremely messy situation - especially because I changed provider. They're going to have to inspect my account with a fine tooth comb going back to the start - to how they came to get the number they started my account with them with. No doubt Scottish Hydro will have to get involved too.
My neighbour started with Scottish Hydro too - it was standard in all these new builds when we moved in. However they are now with Utilities Warehouse or something for their gas - so they've also changed providor! But so far, it looks like next door are fine, that their companies have been using that meter reference number too.
I can finally see now why you should keep your bills!! I never keep ANY bills, so I've got nothing from Scottish Hydro anymore.
What a mess!! I'm trying not to stress out over it, as whatever the outcome this was never my fault, and the companies should also have recognised this massive mistake. Not to mention that the next door neighbours box has his number written inside it a couple of times - including "meter box for plot number ..." (his house number) in big letters. The gas companies if they went into this box would've noticed that! I sure did when I looked in his today!
Thank goodness for Dad's - mine is sorting this all out for me! They've got his telephone number now as the contact for this accounts issue. Thank you Dad!
I'll keep you posted on this!