Wednesday, 21 January 2009

E.ON - Power Crazy

E.ON - Power Crazy

I'm staying with my partner. She lives in one of 4 flats converted from former offices. This morning 2 letters arrived addressed to 'the occupier' at Number 2. No flat number, no name. The E.ON logo on both envelopes.

Last time I was here a representative from E.ON turned up to disconnect the electricity. E.ON are not the suppliers and had no authority to enter so I turned them away. Intrigued to discover the latest E.ON error I opened both envelopes. The first letter reads:

'We are sorry you are leaving us - your account is £221.48 in credit'

The next letter is less pleasant:

'We have estimated your reading - please pay £8,105.87.'

I thought I better telephone E.ON before the bailiffs arrived.

E.ON are less than friendly. I eliminated the first line of customer dis-service by phoning their complaints number. I explain they are writing to and billing 'nobody' at No.2 as the building is divided into 4 flats each with its own separate number.

I thought E.ON might be grateful for my call, pointing out their mistake. But I'm in for a surprise, as I expect you know if you're an E.ON customer.

After 20 minutes I manage to get E.ON to reveal that they have visited the property again in December and on 6th January to cut off the electricity. On 6th January E.ON finally discovered the meter they were billing against was no longer installed at the property.

In fact E.ON have now discovered the meter they have been issuing huge bills against since at least 2005 (and even claim to have taken a reading from on 29th November 2005!) was removed from the property when it was converted into flats way back in 2001 - 8 years ago.

"So if you knew on the 6th January that the meter no longer existed, and that you aren't the energy supplier to the property, why have issued a bill for over £8,000 on the 10th of January?

'That's just systems generated'

"Do you have any idea how distressing it is, having E.ON call at the door threatening to disconnect the electricity, or to receive letters claiming you owe £8,000?"

'We had to find out about the supply'

"Your bill arrived today - the 21st of January - you had plenty of opportunity to write and admit your mistake, cancel the bills, and apologise for your intimidating behaviour."

'We don't write those sorts of letters.'

"What about the account that is in credit. Do you plan to refund that?"

'I can't discuss it, you aren't the account holder'

"Don't hide behind Data Protection. As you've admitted no one is the account holder."


"Who could you discuss the account with? There's no one who could possibly telephone who you can discuss it with. You don't even have a meter at the property. You couldn't even discuss the billing with Gordon Brown if he called!'

This wouldn't be fun if E.ON really had forced entry, cut off the power, or sent in the bailiffs.
E.ON is power crazy.

"E.ON is a strictly regulated company, your behaviour has been so serious that I'm going to report your failure to the regulator. You should have been notified by the National Grid when they removed the meter in 2001, but you have been harassing law abiding residents for 8 years without good reason."

'I'll put your call through to my manager'.

After around 5 minutes on hold a manager comes on the line. I explain again that E.ON has had plenty of opportunity to correct its mistake - which it has known about since at least 6th January. I have gone out of my way to contact them today, but they have been unhelpful, rude and obstructive. Their errors have caused distress, cost money and time and we require compensation. I insist the manager reviews the way my first telephone call has been handled this morning and calls me back to explain whether this is an acceptable standard of service. She says she will. I also explain I will write about and publish an account of my experience with E.ON today.

The manager is about to end the call when I ask 'would you like my contact details?'

You'll be surprised to learn I haven't heard back from E.ON. They are possibly too busy over-billing and harassing other innocent non-customers. In 2005 UK customers made 11,780 complaints to Energywatch about E.ON's billing mistakes, a huge number. Complaints are falling now but in 2007 still numbered 1,741 - almost 5 complaints for every single day of the year. That's not 5 complaints to E.ON, that's 5 complaints which E.ON has failed to resolve to the customer's satisfaction and were escalated to the energy regulator.

Let's see what E.ON has to say when they investigate further. Watch this space...

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