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Extra Energy customer £700 out of pocket after company mixes up bills

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Jan 11, 2018

economy 7 meter energy bill error

A woman was forced to battle for months after her energy company mixed up her bills and started charging her twice as much as normal.

After she came to A Spokesman Said we managed to get her a refund of £689.

Tracey Walsh, from Carlisle, has an Economy 7 meter, and her problems began seven months ago in June when she noticed her bills creeping up.

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"From £65 per month, they went up to £110 - I knew something was wrong."

An Economy 7 meter is a special mater for electricity with day and night rates. It also offers a cheaper price for seven hours every night.

At first she just took it for granted, but when she went through her bills she realised there was a mistake.

Her energy supplier Extra Energy had mixed up the day rate and night rate on her Economy 7 meter.

"My day rate was always less than the night as I am not home during the day until 7pm and I'm not in weekends also. I have been careful in using electricity and really cutting down."

READ MORE: 
*Economy 7 tariff – what is it and is it right for you?
*What to do if you’re owed money by your energy supplier
*Why is my electricity bill so high?

She contacted Extra Energy, which told her it would refund the credit – but nothing happened.

After months of waiting and repeated phone calls and emails, Tracey still hadn't received her refund and was becoming increasingly stressed.

So, Tracey came to A Spokesman Said.

We took a look at her bill – which clearly stated she was in credit by hundreds of pounds – and we went to Extra Energy.

Within less than a week they fixed the problem.

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A "technical glitch"

An Extra Energy spokesperson said credit had built up on the account because of incorrect meter readings.

"The delay in refund was caused by an unfortunate technical glitch which prevented the full refund balance from being released."

After months of hassle, Tracey said she was glad to have the issue finally resolved.

"I think it came down to the weight of your company."

Tracey said it was lucky she checked her bills.

"I was shocked – how many other people might be in the same situation and not challenge it?"

 

What is an economy 7 meter?

An Economy 7 meter, sometimes termed E7, is a special meter for electricity that offers a cheaper price for seven hours every night.

The rate you pay during this period is worked out by charging you less per kWh and is calculated using an Economy 7 meter.

This calculates what you use night and day, but is able to tell what you use in that seven-hour window.

It was originally designed for households with storage heaters, that would charge themselves at the cheap overnight rate and then emit warmth later, during the daytime.

Electricity suppliers charge less for power at night because demand is far less.

The hours the cheap rate operates often vary according to the supplier, but are usually either from 11.00pm to 6.00am, 12.00am to 7.00am or 1.00am to 8.00am.

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How to tell if you have an economy 7 meter

If you don’t know whether you’re in a house with economy 7 meter you can tell by looking at your electricity bill where you can find your Meter Access Number (MPAN).

If it starts with 02, you have economy 7 meter.

Or you can look at the meter itself – if it’s an economy 7 it will have two sets of numbers one saying ‘low’ and one marked ‘normal’.

Or there may be one row of numbers marked ‘day rate’ and a button alongside, which you press to get the night reading.

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