Scottish Power plans to install a prepayment meter – but we are not customers

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We are desperate. Scottish Power is about to force its way in to install a prepayment meter in our north London home – despite the fact that we are not even customers – and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to stop it.

It appears that, at some point, our gas account was erroneously switched to Scottish Power by a neighbour who was trying to change her supplier. She somehow selected the wrong address from a drop-down menu, inputting ours instead.

We have been paying our gas bills by direct debit as usual but started getting bills to an unknown person so sent them back thinking they had the wrong address. Having finally opened the most recent one last week, we were shocked to discover the company has gone to court for nonpayment and is about to break down our door and install a new meter.

We have been on the phone for the past three days but keep getting passed from department to department, with no one willing, or able, to halt this.

We don’t owe this company any money. Please, please help.

SS, London

This is a great example of why you should always open letters sent to your address, even if you have never heard of the person named. Clearly this was in no way your fault – but it could have been dealt with much earlier had you opened the mail.

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Equally, this was not of Scottish Power’s making. The supplier to which your neighbour was trying to switch, Entice Energy, later collapsed and Scottish Power inherited its customers and debts.

  Tell us: are you on a prepayment meter after falling into arrears in the UK?

However, the company could have acted better and halted proceedings after you got in touch. Telling you, as it did, that there was nothing that could be done to stop the warrant from being carried out was cavalier, to say the least.

Fortunately, after I contacted the firm, someone in the press office was able to halt the action at the 11th hour, and your front door remains intact. Had we not got involved, and had the meter change gone ahead, it would have been an expensive nightmare to sort out.

Scottish Power has apologised for the “distress and frustration you experienced due to the previous supplier’s failures”.

It says: “We will remove all debt and late payment fees from the account, as well as making a payment to their account as a gesture of goodwill.”

You are just hugely relieved, and, I suspect, will be opening any future letters that turn up.

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