How we got a £145 refund from British Gas

2 Oct 2005
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United Kingdom
The bottom line is that we have had a refund from British Gas of £145 for successfully challenging our faulty electricity meter. The story is a bit convoluted, but if you are interested in the details – read on.

We suspected that our meter was over-reading and decided to check it. We bought an energy meter from Maplins

We pulled all the fuses in the house bar the one that supplied the tumble dryer and ran it for two hours which we thought would give us enough accuracy. Comparing before and after readings with the house meter suggested it was over reading by 15.25%. You need to be sure of your ground as you will be charged £60 if they check your meter and it turns out to be within limits( +2.5%, -3.5%)

We were eventually, via Ofgem and Energywatch, given a special number to phone BG on (0845 607 0870 option 1). BG arranged for somebody to come round to check the meter. He didn’t and they sent us £20 as an apology. They made another appointment, another no show, another £20!

Third time lucky. The chap turned up and tested our meter with the most rough and ready test you can imagine. He pulled all the fuses bar one, as we had, plugged in an old fan heater which he had brought with him and timed it over, I think, 25 revs of the meter. He looked the times up on a chart which confirmed that the meter was outside acceptable limits. He was surprised as this was apparently the first one he’d ever checked which had turned out to be a valid claim.

He replaced the meter there and then and said we’d get a refund. Being concerned that our old meter might then disappear and be lost as evidence, we made it clear that we wanted the meter preserved in case of later dispute as to the scale of the inaccuracy. The chap promised to look after it for 3 months and later phoned back to say that he had in fact sent it off to be checked in a lab somewhere.

Two months passed, and no news. On phoning them, they were unable to locate either the meter, or the results of any test. They instantly offered to accept my figure of 15.25%, rounded it up to 16% and threw in yet another £20 for my trouble 

It’s a shame that we’d only been with them for a year. Had it been the full twenty years we’ve been in the house it could have been an even more substantial amount, but as regular switchers of supplier we’ll have to be grateful for the year’s worth. BG inherited us when Zest went bust and up until now they were OK, but they have now come to the end of our fixed price period and, would you believe it, we can now get 6% cheaper elsewhere, so we’re off yet again

Hope this helps somebody somewhere. :cry:
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