Millions of families across the UK may be overpaying their energy bill by hundreds of pounds due to defective clocks on their electricity meters, according to a leading consumer organisation.
Which?, identified that as many as 3.9 million households across the UK that utilise energy tariffs which have different price brackets for energy usage during different times of the day, may be overpaying substantially due to the internal clocks in their meters being prone to fault.
Many energy providers offer their customers Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs that enable users to pay a lower rate for energy during night time hours, and then a higher unit rate during times of the day. With Economy 7, the 7 hours of lower cost energy fall into a period typically between 11pm and 7am, whilst with Economy 10, consumers are given a further 3 hours during the daytime to enjoy a lower unit rate on their energy.
The tariffs are intended to financially benefit households that typically spend the majority of their time in their home during night time hours, and who possess an electric storage heater than can be charged up over the evening hours, in order to provide for the households energy requirements the following day.
However, Whichís? identification that a multitude of its members have cited that their meter clocks are inaccurate will thrust the effectiveness of these tariffs for purpose into the spotlight, with the consumer group warning that millions could be overpaying currently on their energy bill.
One such disgruntled consumer is Gary Day, a retired engineer residing from Wales, who told Which? that he had checked out four separate meters in different households and found them all to be faulty.
Mr Day told Which? magazine: “I have only checked four meters and every single one of them was wrong.
Due to Mr Dayís proactive conduct, he managed to acquire £2,300 of compensation on his energy bill, and he urged all people to regularly check their meters in order to ascertain whether they are functioning properly.
“The problem is most consumers don’t go around checking, and we are at a disadvantage because of that,” he said.
Know our meter, check it out!
Mr Dayís comments have been reiterated by Which?, Ofgem and SSE, who have all urged customers to regularly check their meters in order to always be certain that they are receiving fair billing on their energy.
A Which? spokesperson said: “Having a faulty clock on your energy meter could leave you hundreds of pounds out of pocket. It’s the supplier’s responsibility to ensure they are correct so if you suspect there might be a fault then contact your energy company.”
A spokesman for SSE said: “For anyone whose meter clock is incorrect we will recalculate their charges accordingly and either fix their meter clock or, if necessary, replace their meter.
“We will always make sure our customers are not left out of pocket. If anyone suspects their meter clock may be incorrect, or would like us to check, please give us a call on 08000 727 222.î
Industry regulator Ofgem identified that it is the suppliers obligation to fix any technical difficulties that a customer may be experiencing, and urged more people to be proactive and monitor the condition of their meters more regularly, so that they do not fall victim of overcharged bills.
A spokesman for energy regulator Ofgem said: ìIf consumerís suspect that their electricity meter is faulty their supplier is required to investigate and make best efforts to resolve the problem. If necessary, as a final option the supplier will make arrangements for the meter to be verified by a meter examiner appointed by National Measurement Office.î
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