Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Seasonal Sparks Of Ill Will
So much for Christmas joy and good will; our electricity company, EDF, has done a Scrooge possibly on a good many of its customers.
And guess what, they have stuck us with a bill that bears no relation to our past payments and has come a month after we paid off our last quarterly bill both on time and in full. The bill has to be paid by 27th December, if I am right the day of St. John the Evangelist, a nice choice.
It is lucky we keep an annotated copy of past bills and the rest, the result of a bitter row over their misuse of direct debits several years ago. So any estimate or costing can be disputed on the basis of their own figures.
The essence of the problem, as you may guess, is the introduction of a new online system embodied in an “improved” computer service. This has taken a long while and has caused a lot of grief, notably to all those people with either little time to spare or who lack the obsessive capacity to pursue a disagreement relentlessly.
Sadly, this all new computer system, which has required new customer numbers does not have access to any previous bills or payments. It does have the last meter readings, although the listing of those does not match the actual readings on many of the meters installed.
However, our meters were actually read by a man from EDF who came a couple of weeks ago checking all the local meters. These readings do not appear on their website and apparently it is not the practice to use them for billing.
Are you still with me? So just before Christmas I and many others are being asked to fork out another quarterly bill at a level of about 50% more than the actual use costs around a month after than the last quarterly bill.
These figures are fixed by EDF with apparently no appeal and have the effect of a direct debit even although I have made it clear that this kind of billing system has been a cause of dispute in the past.
Which rules are they trying to get round by forcing this on customers?
Why are they doing this? Well, for one it would mean a huge cash flow free of interest into their accounts and one that would rack up in coming months. We would all be giving EDF a large free loan with no benefit whatsoever.
EDF is a French company, so are us poor Brit’s providing an indirect bail out to French banks in trouble?
I think we should be told.