ASK TONY: Eon hiked my energy bill by 600% in one month and is threatening me with fines if I don’t pay up
My electricity bill from Eon suggested that my monthly usage rose by 600 per cent in October.
The previous quarter had been £95 but the bill suggested in one month I had used £295 worth.
I have tried to make contact many times to sort this out.
I sent a message to question it but it was ignored. I phoned and waited over 30 minutes to speak with someone.
Electric shock: A reader was offered no explanation and threatened with fines if she didn’t when Eon hiked her bill 600%
A letter on October 13 said my complaint would be addressed. I missed one phone call (I have a baby) then I received an email which did not answer my query.
I emailed three times in December but have only received warnings of a £20 late payment charge. On January 19, I paid £100 but I am not going to pay the rest.
Now I have recieved a letter saying a debt collection agency has been appointed.
A. S., High Peak, Cheshire.
Tony Hazell replies: It seems your October bill was an estimate based on the usage of a previous occupant who lived in your property.
When you tried to resolve the issue Eon ignored you and went down the debt recovery route.
Eon has now used actual readings and says your usage has remained constant. The late payment fee will be credited back to your bill.
An Eon spokesman says: ‘We’ve contacted Mrs S to apologise for the concern caused by what appeared to be a large increase in usage on her online account.
‘This was an estimate based on energy use from the previous year, before Mrs S lived at the property and we are sorry this wasn’t made clear when she first contacted us.’
Eon has also paid £85 in compensation.
Anger at power giant is mounting over billing farce
Two weeks ago, Money Mail reported that energy giant Eon was hitting customers with big bills based on out-of-date meter readings.
Since then, our postbag has been flooded with emails from Eon customers coming forward to share their experiences.
One woman was asked for more than £9,000 from bills she had accrued in 2019. Others told us they have been left terrified they will be cut-off or be chased by debt collectors.
Money Mail has since approached Eon with these complaints and has asked for them to be investigated.
And many of these debts have now been cleared after the supplier admitted its back-billing team has made an error.
Allan Weaire, 75, was told he owed Eon £1964.39. After our intervention, Eon realised this was down to a ‘miscommunication’ meaning his bills were based on incorrect, estimated readings.
An Eon spokesman says: ‘We strive to provide good levels of service and any customer who experiences issues is one too many.
‘We have investigated and resolved the individual complaints that have been shared with us and would encourage any customer who is concerned to contact us directly to see how we can help.’
Tesco insurance left my home a danger zone
I had a leak in my bathroom in November 2019 which damaged the kitchen, hallway and fuse board.
My electrics failed. Tesco Home Emergency fixed the leak and got my electricity back on.
I was advised to get quotes to repair the damage. We then entered the pandemic.
My electrics failed again, leaving me with just three working sockets in the house.
Tesco Insurance advised no one could come out due to Covid. An electrician advised my house was dangerous. I have a four-year old child.
I called Tesco Insurance begging them to sort this out. They then finally agreed to replace my fuse box. Tesco suggested I could stay in a hotel but they were closed.
C. Y., Winchester.
Tony Hazell replies: I was shocked when I read of your ordeal. Living in those conditions with a young child must have been so hard.
I spent considerable time trying to unpick your case and have come to the conclusion you became entangled in a mesh of companies and were influenced by others to your detriment.
I suspect you were confused over the roles of Tesco’s home insurance and its attached Axa Home Emergency cover.
Axa Home Emergency made the electrics safe and advised you would need an electrician to do remedial work.
Tesco said it could obtain costings via its own system once it had both photos and measurements.
You rejected Tesco’s own suppliers in favour of those suggested by your mother.
You brought in a second builder before calling Tesco again on February 24 last year.
You contacted Axa again on April 13, 2020 to advise about your lack of sockets but this is not covered by the Home Emergency so the electrician again suggested you needed to progress your claim with Tesco.
You provided quotes to Tesco’s surveyor but it says these included substantial private work not related to the incident. Tesco has now settled your claim for £9,562.24 which you have accepted.
A Tesco spokesman says: ‘We believe the main cause of delay has been the time taken by the policyholder’s own trades people to complete the necessary work, and the subsequent high claim amount supplied by those trades people, which also added time to the resolution.’
While I have considerable sympathy for the mess you have lived in, my gut feeling is that you, your mother and the trades people have brought some of this on yourselves.
Where’s my winter fuel payment?
You are my last resort. I have tried phoning, emailing and written a recorded letter to find out why I haven’t received my winter fuel payment.
J. M., Kent.
Tony Hazell replies: Your winter fuel payment was paid on December 10. DWP has contacted you to confirm this.
Perhaps more time checking bank statements might be more productive?