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AuditelDavid Powell

If it’s the same as last month it must be right – think again! (To the tune of £210k refunded)

By 24th October 2011April 17th, 2019No Comments

A question for all those responsible for the payment of an organisations energy invoices:

Are you sure that you are only paying for the energy that you consume?

The reason I’m highlighting this is because we recently discovered that a new client of ours had been paying 900% over their actual consumption level for over 6 years on a gas supply! Despite the huge ongoing additional cost that this added to their overheads, the spend had seemingly not been so much as questioned, never mind investigated in that time. A new FD spotted something was wrong and managed to get £80k back themselves, however he recognised that he needed expert help to check if £80k was correct or not and at this stage brought us in, in much the same way that you would bring in a Tax Specialist

As it is the total refund came to over £210,000. This on an energy supply that should – on a competitive tariff at today’s rates – be costing in the region of £7,000 to £8,000 per year (and much less in previous years). A huge additional cost for an SME to bear, particularly in today’s financial climate.

The error in this case was due to a meter displaying incorrect reads which, as above, had continued for years without being picked up. However, even when the error was acknowledged by the supplier, they still attempted to avoid full return of overpaid costs. It was only when we presented them conclusive evidence (for which they provided the data!) that they accepted that a full refund was required.

Once they acknowledged that something was owed, they tried to fob off the client and us with a 50% refund to start with, but using a clause in their own T&C’s we showed that they were contractually liable for the full refund.

This isn’t an isolated case – many UK companies are likely to be paying over the odds for their energy. This isn’t simply due to being on an uncompetitive tariff, which of course is a very important factor in its own right, but due to one of a several possible errors that can occur in the supply and invoicing of utilities.

Some of the common reasons we come across for overbilling are:

  • Faulty meters
  • Meters being misread
  • Customers being invoiced for supplies which aren’t theirs.
  • Incorrect reads used on invoices
  • Incorrect dates used on invoices
  • Incorrect rates being applied (e.g on the unit costs, standing charges, CCL or any of the other multitude of charges that can come with an energy invoice).
  • kWh calculated incorrectly

Can you be sure that you aren’t paying for such an error?

One of the big problems is that many companies go with the theory that:

“Our energy has always cost X amount a month – as long as this doesn’t change too much we’ll continue to pay it.”

Because of this mindset there are likely to be very many similar cases throughout the UK that, without action, won’t be noticed anytime soon.

Also, because of The Limitations Act 1980, any overcharges can only be claimed back within 6 years; hence, if you want to get all of your money back you need to act sooner rather than later.

Please contact us for a free business health check so we can ensure that you are on a competitive tariff and haven’t been overbilled on your energy supplies.