Pay up or else threats over unexplained Extra Energy bills

The figures couldn’t be substantiated but I still received demands

I have just received a final demand for £1,258.66 from the administrators for Extra Energy – my former gas and electricity provider, which went into administration in November 2018. They provide no evidence for this sum. One of their agents explained that this was an estimate which could have ranged from £0 to £10,000. I had lived in the property since August 2018 and have paid for my gas and electricity each month.

The agent instructed me to seek my initial meter readings when my account was taken over by transfer to Scottish Power, but the latter did not have this information.

Extra Energy has refused to put the process on hold until the figures can be confirmed and has issued an ultimatum for me to pay within seven days. It has been very difficult to contact Extra Energy as I work full time and the lines are always busy when I call and not open in the evenings or weekends.

More generally, I am concerned about the tone of the letters as they threaten legal action, bailiffs etc. NL, Cardiff

In October I reported the case of another former Extra customer who was sent an unexplained bill of nearly £3,000, a year after the energy company ceased trading. The administrator, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), blamed Extra Energy’s haphazard record keeping, which meant that customers had not been correctly billed and meter readings had not been recorded. In response, PwC appears to have been firing off unsubstantiated demands, accompanied by threats. It has ignored rules that forbid customers being charged for unbilled energy used more than 12 months previously and has ignored customers’ attempts to verify alleged debts.

The utilities regulator Ofgem told me that it has received a high level of complaints about PwC’s handling of customer accounts but it is powerless to act since PwC is not an energy company.

Once again, it was only after the Observer intervened, that PwC obtained meter readings from Scottish Power and discovered that you owe £327, not £1,258. It failed to respond to a request for a comment on why customers are being pursued over inaccurate shock bills.

The depressing fact is that many customers, cowed by the threat of bailiffs, may have paid up because of this disgraceful behaviour.

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions

Contributor

Anna Tims

The GuardianTramp

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