Very high final electricity bill

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Kikki21, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    My mum paid all her bills via direct debit - her bank accounts were closed in April & I presume that the executor advised the gas & electric companies that the property was empty & going to be sold. Obviously that was his job & not mine to do as executor. Only it seems he hasn’t.

    We have received a refund for the gas since nothing was used but the electricity bill is very high considering that no electrical items were used during this time apart from using lights - maximum of 2 with energy saving light bulbs in them in the earlier months & then no lights used during the summer months & then the property was empty. The electricity bill is £500 which seems very, very high. I have told the executor to ring them & he is saying can you ring them & I have said to him nope - you’re the executor, they don’t want to speak to me, do your job. Oh dear!
     
  2. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,332
    If the bank account was closed but no one informed the electric company then the current bill may be based on the 'missing' monthly direct payments between April and now rather than actual usage. Alternatively your Mum may have been in debit with her electricity prior to the bank account being closed. My debit payments for electric are calculated on a yearly basis - if I use more electric than the previous year my account is in debit and the direct debit payments are increased the following year. If I use less then the account goes into credit and monthly payments are reduced the following year.

    I can understand it being the executors role to pay any outstanding debts but I'm not sure it's their responsibility to inform utility companies that a house is empty and up for sale? Either way a quick call to the electric company should clarify the position.
     
  3. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    This is what I have advised the executor to do. I’m not being deliberately petty here but it is his role to sort these things out. I have helped him so much with gathering info & held his hand & he has been nothing but a hindrance to me & downright obstructive.
    He did inform the gas company that the property was empty & on the market so he should have done the same with the electricity company.
     
  4. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    4,442
    Kent
    Who took final meter readings on completion day, I would have thought would have confirmed those to the supplier? I always made a note myself as the buyer on completion day when I moved in so if it hasn't been recorded your buyer may help with that being a starting point to know exactly how much electricity has been used under your mum's ownership. I can't remember when your mum went into hospital and onwards to care home but the final bill as has been suggested may be an adjustment in excess of the direct debit amounts for last winter/Spring months when more is used.

    Maybe in order to move towards finalising what outstanding amounts need to be paid by the estate a call by you with this information to the electric supplier is simpler and quicker without getting wound up by what the executor is or isn't prepared to do. I once gave this info on behalf of an executor and they happily spoke to me, frankly all they are interested in is getting their final bill paid from somewhere or someone.
     
  5. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,303
    Female
    Chester
    I agree that this will hinge on meter readings. At one stage my estimated reading was way too low, so I had a big catch up, and at one stage, way too high and then I was owed money.
     
  6. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    The buyer took the meter reading on completion day so that is ok but I’m not happy with what the executor thinks is acceptable.
    Her last meter reading was some time in 2017. She was then in hospital & then was admitted to the care home in March 2018. Her electricity usage would have been normal but not excessive at that time but of course it would fall dramatically with her not being in the property. We kept alternating between 2 lights all the time & that was it, nothing else was used. I asked the executor to let them know this so to estimate the bills to be the same as before is ludicrous. Then
    when the property was emptied, we were not using any electricity at all. I would say it’s a definite overpayment for sure.
     
  7. DianeW

    DianeW Registered User

    Sep 10, 2013
    533
    Lytham St Annes
    I am wondering if the meters have only been estimated for a while, and maybe all it will take is the final meter readings to get an accurate final bill.

    If you haven’t got the final readings yourself you may struggle, I personally always just photograph the meters for my records.

    Even though you shouldn’t have to I would be inclined to ring them yourself and explain fully, at least it will get done and may mean a faster conclusion?

    Have you got past bills of Mums to look through??
     
  8. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    #8 Jessbow, Nov 14, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
    Standing charge?

    She may well have had a debit on the account when the meter was read, 2 years ago.

    £500/ 24 months is only C £21 a month
     
  9. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    This is a £500 bill from April to now - standing charge granted but not when only 2 lights are in use & no other electric. I would have to say that they should review her bills from Jan 2018 onwards as all of them would have been estimated.
     
  10. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,332
    So the recent £500 bill is estimated rather than based on the final meter reading when the house was sold? In that case surely all that is needed then is to let the electricity company know what the final meter reading was?
     
  11. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    204
    Is the meter a smart meter or one you have to actually read ? If so are you sure correct numbers were taken?
    Mum once got a huge bill before she had smart meters installed which was because the wrong numbers had been given by meter reader. He'd put one number down wrong so it looked like mum had used way more than she had. Luckily when they came to read meters mum always told us and hubby would take a reading too so we could let utility company know what should have been and they reissued her bill.
     
  12. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    The electricity company have the final meter reading taken on the day the property was sold & have issued a final bill from April 2019 but the rest of that bill is based on previous estimated use - it’s the estimated use that is wrong as the property has not been lived in since Jan 2018 - they should work out what electricity has actually been used between the last time the meter was read in 2017 & the meter reading now & then that should be accurate. This is what I am trying to get the executor to do.
     
  13. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,332
    I think in your position I'd ring them myself as the query relates to matters going back to 2017, well before the executor got involved. If you've got your Mum's bills going back to that date that will be useful when you call.
     
  14. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,137
    Toronto, Canada
    @Kikki21 I realize it must be frustrating for you to get the executor to sort things, but if I were you, I would simply do it myself, in order to save myself the aggravation. Yes, the executor is supposed to do it but I'm assuming the sooner this can be sorted, the sooner the will can be settled.
     
  15. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    We are still waiting for the DWP investigation to finish. The executor has just sent the required bank statements to them. I’m rather busy at the moment as I am renovating the property I have bought & packing up to move house in less than 2 weeks so yes the executor could actually help me out for a change!
     
  16. DianeW

    DianeW Registered User

    Sep 10, 2013
    533
    Lytham St Annes
    Kikki I may be wrong here but to me it doesn’t matter that all the other readings were estimated as long as the final one is correct and corresponds with your reading.

    At some point your Mum will have had her meters read, I think you said 2017??
    Then as time has gone on they have just been estimated based on past usage, but the final correct readings should correct that and ensure she pays for her usage only, plus standing changes etc.

    Obviously usage when the property was empty should be quite low, but without regular meter readings it is going to be difficult to establish a problem.

    How much was her monthly direct debit??
     
  17. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    1,658
    Hi Kikki
    Did you see the final meter readings yourself. If not try asking the new owners to confirm the readings are correct . The final readings are just that ...final. it sounds like your past estimates were too low and also the standing charges have built up. Sorry it's not what you want to hear .
     
  18. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Can you find the Bill relating to the last time that you now the meter was read? 2017?

    That will will surely tell you the balence - was she in credit, or debit then? Its very rare that its spot on- she may at that point have owed some money.

    The fact that the bills since have been estimates really doesn't matter, what matters is the final reading minus the 2017 reading multiplied by the unit price (+ any standing charge) is what is owed.
     
  19. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    2,092
    Female
    East Midlands
    My mum’s balance was in credit. She was very careful about things like that & she would save up any correspondence for me to look at but all the bills would have been paid via direct debit until her death so she was up to date paying the bills but they were always estimated usage based on her previous bills when the property was occupied.
     
  20. Melles Belles

    Melles Belles Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    369
    Female
    South east
    Don’t forget you have to pay the standing charge even when the house is empty. It can be approx 26p a day each for gas and electricity. It soon mounts up. That may explain some of the bill.
     

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