We got into a debt nightmare after switch to Together Energy

It hit us with a huge demand and we daren’t turn on the heating

Together Energy supplied our rented flat when we moved in, and we were told that if we transferred the existing account into our names we could apply to switch provider. We did so, and then learned there was a debt of thousands of pounds. I’ve been trying to resolve the issue for the last three months. We are so terrified we’re going to get stuck with a monumental bill, we daren’t turn the heating on.
TF, London

This disgraceful inertia only ended when I raised a complaint with Together’s press team, whereupon it was discovered that the company had botched the change of tenancy procedure and left you with incorrect account details. It had been similarly “letting down” other new tenants, it told me, and so had set up a dedicated “home move team” which, you say, was useless. You’ve now been promised a seamless transfer.

Together Energy was highly rated when it launched in 2016. However, in 2019 its customer base increased by 60% overnight when it bid for the 36,000 customers of defunct supplier OneSelect. Its diminutive infrastructure seems unable to cope and it ranks 75th out of 77 energy suppliers on Trustpilot, with billing among the most frequently cited problems.

JW of Penrith, Cumbria was also prevented from switching from Together, which claimed she owed £756. When she queried the debt, it shrank mysteriously to £202. “Since then, I have been unable to get a bill, and I also noticed there seemed to be two different account numbers,” she writes. “I have started another attempt to switch and it now claims I owe £2,617 which I can’t pay.”

Together’s explanation does not instil confidence. “When the customer initially asked to transfer, her account was showing a debit as it was based on estimated usage,” it says. “Subsequently, when we moved to a new billing system, the customer received the second account number and she was provided with the wrong bill.”

It promised £75 in goodwill and requested you provide meter readings. Two weeks later, you received a new bill for £1,459, while the old billing portal displayed a debt of £8,539. The £1,459 is apparently based on the readings you supplied and is debt accrued since 2017.

Utilities companies are not allowed to charge customers for unbilled energy used more than 12 months previously. When asked why the company was disregarding this, it says it had “implemented the rules” and you would have to take it up with the ombudsman. The ombudsman has ruled that back-billing rules apply and identified numerous errors. Together has been ordered to pay an additional #75 but you’re still awaiting an accurate bill.

Email your.problems@observer.co.uk. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions.

*As ever, households should do an energy comparison to check the best deal in their area, for their consumption. Just remember to click on all available products – not just the deals that the site earns a commission for switching you to. You may want to stick to firms you have heard of or, at least, researched.

Contributor

Anna Tims

The GuardianTramp

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