@Npowerhelp npower – extremely faulty meter – what do i do gas and water

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I have been with Npower for several years now, I live in a three bedroom ex council terraced house with no gas supply so everything runs on electric. I have 2 meters, a standard rate meter and a low rate meter – this goes through a timeswitch.

Since then the monthly direct debit charge has increased exponentially, unfortunately I dont have old bills to hand but I am currently paying £240 per month for my usage and according to Npower I have a debt of £600+ and rising. I have been negotiating for several years now every 3-6 months as the Npower computer sends me direct debit increases that have at times been over £400 a month – and I have to call and get them manually reduced to the measured usage (with no debt repayment) – and even whilst paying £240 a month my debt is steadily increasing.

Several years ago I complained that the meter must be faulty, Npower customer services informed me that they are hardly ever faulty and said I would have to pay to have the meter checked. As I couldnt afford it at the time (with the bills and debt) I never got it done, I sort of buried my head in the sand and just paid the direct debit, of course this affected my normal lifestyle quite dramatically but as the only energy supply I had I couldnt risk disconnection – my child is disabled and I dont think I would hear the end of it if she lost her pc for example. I always thought the usage was crazy as my mortgage is less than that per month (I live in a cheap area!) – but I have had a debt in the past at a previous address that Npower almost disconnected so I just paid up.

After the most recent letter telling me my monthly direct debit would be increasing to £378 a month I again negotiated with customer services back down the "normal" monthly amount of £240 – and I demanded a meter test – I explained with my bills what have I got to lose. The most recent Npower advisor I dealt with was very amiable and I think went the extra mile to help me out – but still couldnt see the plain fact the meter was broken – but at least this time there was no talk about repaying the debt – just about controlling it a little.

I have been taking my own readings semi regularly for the past three years – but they all seemed to show the same details too. I also got the advisor to send me previous readings – put these in my spreadsheet and tried to interpret the graph – looking for a spike or some thing that marked the change (we had a surge a few years ago – set fire to my shed blew up a lot of my white goods) and I also have a small substation next to my house in a garage block (its an odd thing – has my address on it!). But the readings all matched; I sort of set myself thinking I must be using the power somehow and began rationing it, every white good that was destroyed was replaced with AAA rated appliances – our shower blew up and I never replaced, the heating has been switched off for several years now and we have been living like energy nomads – even using candles in the bathroom. I thought somehow there must be a big hole for electricity under my house and it just kept eating it. And of course Npower advised me that must be the case (not literally) but they didnt think that my usage was odd and blamed it on the current price increases.

The meter test happened, initially they couldnt fit a meter but they sent a portable tester – another extra callout so another charge that would be applied if the meter wasn’t faulty. But it appears I have been right all along. The technician who performed the test told me he had never seen a meter as faulty, he quoted a 2% tolerance fast/slow was allowed on the meter – but he then explained that at times our meter was running approximately 300-500% quicker than normal, but then dropping down to -20 to -30% slower than normal.

So over recent years I have paid in the region of £6-8,000 to Npower (no exact figures to hand!) and I dont think I can determine what has been used or not – can the meter be tested to find out how much has been used – or if the meter is that screwed up what will happen next?

Well Npower Executive Complaints are now stating that there was nothing wrong with the meter based on usage over September (although the meter readings supplied were from beginning of September to midpoint this month as they forgot to actually contact me after the agreed 1 month period) – they have stated that according to their figures the meter readings are similar to a period last year and they will not need to test the meter. They have also claimed that due to us missing a few (3) payments over the now 8 year period this would explain the usage/cost and to cap things off we actually owe them £400 approx. This figure itself changed overnight as the previous day we owed them £600 approx. They also claimed we missed several payments last year – although their bills/statements and our bank statements indicate we paid them almost £3000 last year and was only charged for £2000, somehow we have accrued a debt based on this figure. What they havent explained is the numerous "amendments" to the bills we have recieved over the years, sometimes in our favour, sometimes in theirs – for example I apparently paid them over £1000 in one month in one payment, and they just added £1500 at the end of one billing period " amendment ". They havent explained why the Meter Engineer who performed the MAT test agreed the meter was faulty and replaced the unit, which was then verified by the "Testing" deparment at Npower and therefore was free of charge (with a replacement meter) if it wasnt faulty it was going to apparently cost £100. And they havent explained how our current approximate usage of 20 units a day equates to the 60-80 units a day we were charged prior to the meter being exchanged. They have failed to communicate via letter – although I have recieved an email, they claimed the Meter Engineer was lying to us when he stated the meter was faulty as it was running slow and fast (he said he had never seen one do this before), because the complaints department was aware the meters only ever go slow or fast – never both and that they knew more than the field technician about electricity meters.

Hmm as I currently only owe £400 ish (may be £200 now you never know!) can I switch provider – I am sure they would like my millions. And would it be innapropriate to ask for a plaque to be placed on the nearest power station to me in my honor. I am sure I have paid for it by now. They havent even offered me free loft insulation…