Energy bill horror that saw man pay £244,00 direct debit sparks urgent Ofgem warning | Personal Finance | Finance

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Regulator Ofgem warns that energy providers must act promptly to correct billing errors after a spate of wild inaccuracies – including one man’s staggering bill of £240,000 for a single month.

Holiday park owner Patrick Langmaid was shocked after seeing hundreds of thousands drained via direct debit from his business account.

As the cost of living crisis continues, Britons across the UK have experienced higher energy bills but not to this extent.

At a time when finances are stretched, energy companies are urged to be as precise as possible to stop customers worrying about false bills.

Dhara Vyas, deputy chief executive of Energy UK – which represents suppliers, said that millions of bills were sent out on a rolling basis, so mistakes were inevitable.

She said: “Sometimes they are a human error. Sometimes they are an automation or a machine error.

“It is really important that a supplier acts quickly to put it right, communicates well and tells the customer what they are doing, and also offers compensation where it is appropriate.”

The BBC reported the demand for nearly £250,000 from Mr Langmaid was about 100 times greater than his normal monthly bill.

Mr Langmaid said his mammoth bill came from a “not very smart meter”.

Normally, he pays £2,500 a month but he meter generated the invoice automatically, and payment of £244,000 was collected from the business’s account.

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The funds had been earmarked to buy new caravans and pay suppliers.

He said: “That’s the frightening thing. I have an issue with the energy company for doing it, the bank for allowing it to happen, and the whole direct debit system for allowing the payment to be taken without any safeguard.”

The supplier, Total Energies, admitted that human error meant the hugely inflated invoice was not cancelled.

Les Roberts, the Business Comparison Expert at Bionic explained what to do if someone thinks their energy bill is wrong.

What Should I Do If I Think My Energy Bill Is wrong?

  • If you’re on an estimated bill – “If you find that your estimated bill is excessively high, take a meter reading and send this to your supplier so they can re-estimate your bill. To ensure that your bills stay accurate, submit a meter reading to your supplier every month.”
  • Contact your energy supplier’s customer service or complaints department – “You can locate their contact details on their official website and communicate your concerns via letter or email.”
  • Keep all copies of all correspondence sent to your supplier, including your energy bills – “By keeping a record of when each communication was dispatched, this will be helpful in tracking the progress of your complaint.”
  • Keep supporting evidence for your case at hand – “This includes bills, photographs of faulty meters or boilers, and records of previous interactions with your energy provider.”
  • Reach a deadlock – “This signifies that you’ve exhausted your energy company’s internal complaints procedure without achieving a resolution. Energy suppliers typically have a maximum time limit of eight weeks to resolve most complaints. If your complaint reaches a deadlock situation, you can escalate it to the Energy Ombudsman.”
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