My downside is with Ovo Energy. I was with SSE which was nice – I’d provide meter readings for fuel and electrical energy each couple of months, and it could ship me a invoice and take the cash from my checking account.

But when Ovo took over SSE, it insisted that I begin paying a month-to-month direct debit, and it could determine the determine.

I wished to maneuver provider. But earlier than I might achieve this, Ovo despatched me an e-mail in December 2022 saying that I owed it £32,975.25. Yes, you learn that proper.

I personal a two bed room flat which is empty most of the time as I’m abroad a lot. My daughter was staying there for a whereas as she job-hunted in London, however she stored her energy utilization to a minimal.

We usually pay about £150 a month for fuel and electrical energy, so it could take us 18 years to run up a invoice of £32,975.

Taken as read: Estimated meter readings have lead to a £33,000 energy bill for our reader - and despite the clear error the huge debt is still showing on his account

Taken as learn: Estimated meter readings have result in a £33,000 energy invoice for our reader – and regardless of the clear error the massive debt continues to be displaying on his account

I believe it is likely to be as a result of my meter has solely 4 digits, slightly than the same old 5. Ovo’s newest estimated studying was over the 9999 mark and into the ten,000s. At that time my meter would return to 0000.

After this estimate was taken, however earlier than I realised, I submitted a handbook studying decrease than Ovo’s 10105 estimate, of 9882. I believe Ovo’s estimate was learn as 0105, and this prompted the Ovo system to suppose I went from there to my meter studying of 9882 in a few days.

I assumed it could be simple to type this as soon as Ovo noticed the plain mistake, however I can not get by means of on the telephone and after I messaged somebody through its Facebook web page they stated it was SSE’s error and will take three months to appropriate.

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The £30,000 debt continues to be on my account. While I do know it is a mistake, it’s so simple for a easy pc error to result in a court docket case and the bailiffs going in, ruining my credit score document for ever. 

This virtually occurred to me years in the past when the council made an error calculating my council tax, so you’ll be able to perceive why I’m confused. S.L, London.

Helen Crane of This is Money replies:  Energy firms, at it once more. Hardly a day goes by when I haven’t got a reader e-mail to inform me they’ve been billed incorrectly for their fuel or electrical energy, and I’m nonetheless no nearer to understanding why corporations discover it so onerous to easily get it proper. 

Ovo’s error in your case would possibly seem foolish and even barely amusing at first. It’s clearly utterly barmy that you have been billed £33,000 for a month of fuel and electrical in your modest flat – much more so when you think about that nobody was staying there for some of that point. 

But I believe many individuals would view it a bit in another way in the event that they had been the one logging into their energy account day-after-day and nonetheless seeing that whacking nice sum with a minus signal in entrance of it.

You’re additionally proper to say that it’s all too simple for a foolish mistake to show into a letter or go to from a debt collector, and I’ve beforehand heard from readers who’ve skilled simply that.


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You informed me it was much more irritating to see your energy payments calculated in such a wildly incorrect vogue since you – like many individuals – have been making a actual effort to chop down what you use.

While you say you did not observe Ovo boss Stephen Fitzpatrick’s earlier suggestion to cuddle pets and do star jumps, you probably did flip off your central heating and swap utilizing the fuel oven for the microwave when energy costs went sky excessive.

Mistakes occur. But this could have been a simple one to appropriate, as Ovo had all the knowledge it wanted about your property and your earlier utilization.

Energy payments are excessive proper now, however I do not suppose it could be attainable to rack up £33,000 in a month in a two-bed flat until you had been doing one thing extremely unlawful. 

But it proved to be something however a easy repair, as you had been unable to get by means of to Ovo on the telephone and had some irritating experiences when making an attempt to type issues out through on-line messaging. 

Whoever you spoke to, you had been merely informed that it could take three months to appropriate, and never a lot else. 

You suppose the problem was all the way down to your energy meter. It is an older mannequin with out a digital display screen – and in contrast to most elderly meters it solely has 4 digits, not 5.

Your concept, which made sense to me, was that Ovo’s earlier estimated meter studying was due to this fact recorded on its pc system as 0105, not 10105 – which means than while you later recorded your precise 9886 studying a few days later, that was calculated as a big quantity of energy utilization. 

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You suppose the energy agency determined you had gone from 0105 to 9886 on the meter.

From what you informed me, the numbers appeared so as to add up for that to be a potential clarification.

Facebook frustration: S.L turned to Ovo's Facebook page to try and resolve the issue, but was simply told that he would have to wait up to three months

Facebook frustration: S.L turned to Ovo’s Facebook web page to attempt to resolve the problem, however was merely informed that he must wait as much as three months

But Ovo informed me that your meter wasn’t really the issue. It insisted to me, because it did to you beforehand, that you just acquired this big invoice as a result of the ‘business agreed’ fuel meter studying taken when your account was transferred over from SSE was vastly incorrect.

It stated it raised a dispute about this with the related events, however didn’t say when.

However, a few days after I bought in contact with Ovo, that three-month wait appeared to shrink fairly quickly. 

Ovo stated the dispute had ‘now been actioned’ which implies that the studying has been corrected and your account is now totally settled up between SSE and Ovo.

Instead of being £33,000 in debt, you at the moment are £27 in credit score – and Ovo has additionally paid you £100 as a goodwill gesture.

It has additionally assured me, and also you, that this may not occur once more when your meter does lastly tick over that 9999 mark and goes again to zero.

Here’s to hoping.  

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