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HomeOfgem warning after Sir Grayson Perry energy bill saga

Ofgem warning after Sir Grayson Perry energy bill saga

Energy regulator Ofgem said suppliers must calculate invoices accurately and deal with errors quickly, following a row involving artist Sir Grayson Perry.

The Turner Prize-winning artist has criticized EDF after receiving a stack of bills amounting to £39,000.

The company said billing issues can occur from time to time, but there are no broader, fundamental problems with how its system operates.

Ofgem said it will not hesitate to take action if any supplier breaches the rules.

In a statement to the BBC, the regulator said “We have spoken to EDF today and instructed them to check and confirm this is not a wider systemic issue and report back to We urgently asked them what steps they would take to prevent it.” any errors of this type in the future.”

Ofgem went on to say that it is important that suppliers do not make mistakes of this type, admitting that an invoice of this size, although clearly an error, can be upsetting to customers.

Direct debit payments must normally be based on the “best and latest information available”, according to the provider’s licensing conditions.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Grayson said he had “unexpectedly” received around 15 invoices from EDF and was told they would deduct money by direct debit from all invoices. order on the same day.

“I just thought it was weird. I spent at least about three hours trying to figure out the call center, but you’re actually talking to a computer so it was very annoying,” he said. speak.

“They’ll say, ‘well, it says £39,000 – that’s how much we’ll get.'”

He said the story was an “interesting parable of the technological age”, with a smart meter installed at his country studio several years ago despite his warnings that address has no phone signal.

Apology

EDF said “unusual” direct debit changes can occur when incorrect meter readings are recorded on its system.

On average, it answers customer service calls within four minutes, and the company says there are no broader, systemic issues.

“We know problems can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons and we apologize to customers who experience difficulties,” a company spokesperson said.

“When this happens, we will look to resolve things as quickly as possible. There are no further issues with our systems and our direct debit process continues to operate as normal often.”

The company, which has 3.5 million customers, said it is in the process of migrating residential and small business customers to a new customer service system that is working well.

Some customers responded to Sir Grayson’s plight by raising their own issues on social media.

Customers said their energy usage was miscalculated after switching to Ovo or after installing smart meters.

In an earlier statement, an Ofgem spokesperson said the regulator had taken action over incorrect direct debits.

He said: “We have strengthened the rules around direct debits and earlier this year we asked providers to review the processes around them, which resulted in 900,000 customers having to look review their payments and make adjustments for miscalculations.”

In recent years, millions of people have struggled to pay real, accurately calculated bills due to rising prices. Charities say many people have been forced to borrow money to pay essential bills.

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What can I do if I can’t afford my energy bill?

  • Check your direct debit: Your monthly payment is based on your estimated energy usage for the year. Your provider may reduce your bill if your actual usage is less than estimated.
  • Pay what you can: If you can’t afford direct debits or quarterly payments, ask your supplier for a “payable plan” based on your means.
  • Claim what you are entitled to: Check you’re claiming all the benefits you can. Independence Money helper The site has a helpful guide.
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