Emmanuel was stuck owing almost £1000, the Crusader helped him out
Now a solution we have worked on with him and his supplier is set to save him paying off a massive debt… but it wasn’t easy.
And for more than a year things didn’t bode well for the hospital worker, who soldiered on seeking justice despite facing rejection from all sides.
Although he had complained to the energy services Ombudsman about the demands made by his supplier Green Star Energy, Emmanuel felt the remedy offered fell short of what he was due.
By the time he came to us last November he was in dire trouble. Demands to settle the debt were arriving, yet he still hadn’t received an accurate bill – just an estimate.
The problems, which multiplied later, began the moment Emmanuel and his wife moved into a rented flat in July 2016.
Despite sending in a meter reading, the energy account was not properly switched to Emmanuel
The gas and electricity account had been switched to the landlord’s name after the previous tenant left.
He supplied a meter reading from that time and also told Green Star by email that Emmanuel would be taking over a few days later.
But that formal registration never went through. The initial bill was then sent to the landlord and from that point on Emmanuel’s efforts to get the account switched faced hurdle after hurdle. Confusion deepened in December when he made another attempt to sort matters out and slipped up with his move-in date, explaining it was September.
“It was the pressure, I was so worried,” he explains.
But the consequences triggered security concerns and more delays as he was then asked to send in proof of tenancy.
“But as I still wasn’t a customer I asked the landlord to do that. I’d had enough at that point and tried to switch suppliers.”
The chaos continued, although in December Emmanuel did learn that the gas account had transferred into his name.
The electricity one finally happened in April last year and his bid to switch provider took place in May, although he says he was not made aware until after it happened.
While Emmanuel always accepted he must pay for the energy he had used – and indeed had paid £202 on account – he challenged the amount of the backdated estimated final bill from Green Star.
The case also had a rocky ride with the Ombudsman.
A timed photo of his energy meter gave Emmanuel some solid evidence
When Emmanuel called about making a claim he explained his problems over the phone.
But flaws in evidence-taking led the Ombudsman to conclude that Emmanuel had failed to let the supplier know about his tenancy.
However a further challenge from him prompted the Ombudsman to rule there had been a shortfall in service leading to the delays.
Emmanuel was awarded £125, with the recommendation that he should have his account credited with the £202 and have a payment plan to settle the debit balance.
“But this has failed to solve my biggest problem, that is getting an accurate bill, not an estimate which is bigger,” he told Crusader.
Then we combed over it again and it emerged he did have one precious piece of evidence – a timed picture of his meter that was taken last September.
We reckoned that using this it would be possible to calculate a more accurate bill, as now there was a reading right from the beginning of the tenancy, plus the figure in September and also a date in May when Emmanuel left Green Star.
The energy supplier then accepted that evidence and revised its offer to £400, including the credit, goodwill gestures and a payment plan. This appeared a lot fairer to Emmanuel who thanked Crusader for sticking with him.
The Ombudsman also offered to look again at the matter if needs be.
How to ensure you avoid an energy bill mix-up
- ALWAYS be sure you register for a new energy account and get the email evidence it has been done, even if a landlord says they have done it.
- Submit regular readings and take time dated pictures at the start and end of an account.
- If you submit a verbal complaint to the Ombudsman double check all the key facts have been recorded.