A 90-year-old pensioner was charged three times the cost of her monthly energy usage without knowing, which saw her bill rise from £250 to £704 in one month.
Left “shocked and worried”, June Jones lives alone in a small terraced house in Blackwood, Wales, and didn’t realise she had been overcharged until her son, Brian, came round to submit new meter readings for her in April, ITV Wales reports.
To Brian’s “astonishment”, he saw Mrs Jones’ bill was “massively higher” than it had been in years.
He told ITV Wales: “To give you an idea, she was initially paying £76 per month before the latest increases, the latest increases trebled her amount to £250 – which we more-or-less were expecting because everyone’s bills were rising and what I found was that they had decided to change that monthly amount to £704.
“They’d trebled it initially to allow for the increase in the gas and electricity prices, and then they’d trebled it again.”
Mrs Jones told ITV Wales: “When [Brian] told me I couldn’t believe it. It is a worry because most of us older people don’t like debts and just want to carry on.”
After contacting EDF Energy to enquire about the staggering rise, Brian was told an investigation was underway and he’d be informed of an update “as soon as possible”. Four phone calls later, he said he still felt progress was not being made.
Brian said: “I’ve now had two phone calls from the complaints department at EDF assuring me that the situation is being put right and that a refund will be made.
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“I shudder to think if my mother hadn’t had this support, how she would have dealt with the situation. In fact, she wouldn’t have known about it until noticing her bank account was empty presumably.”
He added that he was “worried” that the issue was “clearly” caused by a misreading of the meter, but “there was nothing” about EDF’s system that warned them about the significant change.
Brian said Mrs Jones’ issue has recently been resolved but the worry had been with the family “for this month” and fears for other older people at risk of experiencing the same problem.
A spokesperson for EDF said: “We’re sorry to hear about the challenges Mrs Jones has been facing with the cost increases on her energy bills and that an incorrect meter reading wasn’t picked up sooner. Having investigated Mrs Jones’ account, we can see an incorrect meter reading supplied by the customer in August 2022 led to the Direct Debit increasing.
“Having liaised with Mr Jones on behalf of Mrs Jones to rectify this, we have now corrected the charges and have agreed to credit the account, so that Mrs Jones is not financially impacted by the correction of the readings. We’re also installing a new smart meter for the customer which should reduce the need for manual meter readings in the future.
“Unfortunately, the cost of energy to households has increased significantly over the past year due to increases in global wholesale costs. We remain committed to helping as many customers as possible, including providing debt relief and installing energy efficiency for those in fuel poverty.”
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