Meter versus heater nightmare – The Crusader | The Crusader | Finance

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Although seven new storage heaters were installed seven months ago, they became mired in meter mayhem technicalities so could not be used by electricity customer Cathy Jones and her disabled husband.

When all her efforts to escape the nightmare failed, it seemed to Cathy the only solution would be to spend a huge sum on further replacements to suit her smart meter, so effectively back to square one.

Quotes for this have been around £4,000. 

In desperation she came to Crusader and there is real cause for hope now that this will be sorted. 

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on ++;

The energy offer they got in May 2022, part of a government-backed energy efficiency initiative that included vulnerable and lower income households, depended on the Joneses changing from their smart meter and having a night and day rate Economy 7 meter fitted.

“We were delighted as we knew it would save on our bills, with the heat stored overnight at the cheaper rate keeping our home warm during the day when it’s most beneficial for my husband,” said Cathy.

“We did not have an Economy 7 meter so I first checked if I could get one with our supplier British Gas. It was confirmed in writing that this was possible.

‘All our heaters were renewed, everything very professional.  But organising meter installation became impossible. Several appointments were made then cancelled or no one showed up which cost me lost work time.

“Our tariff ended and our payment plan was updated several times. I received about £40 in goodwill gestures, then in late November I rang British Gas and was advised there was no new tariff.”

Last month she was told no new meter would be fitted. “I have tried every other company possible and no one will fit one,” Cathy added.

“Since May we’ve had no heaters and used our existing meter for hot water and cooking.

“At one point I was told a new electricity meter, which is outside our flat and in the property’s common area, had been fitted. I’m not a technician, so could not confirm but accepted that.

“Then when I called again customer services asked me to check and said there was no new meter. I was so confused. There’s been no saving for us, it’s been such a waste.”

Cathy’s written record of events helped when we put the matter to British Gas which then immediately contacted her.

Its engineers tried a remote solution but it didn’t work and the company then sent an £80 credit for her to buy a fan heater to help tide them over.

Upgrades to account payment software and meter operator rules have also made resolving the issue difficult.

However efforts are now being made to get the new meter installed and Cathy will get a backdated credit for the night rate usage so won’t miss out on savings.

Thanking Crusader Cathy said: “We realise this has been very difficult for everyone involved, but we don’t feel abandoned any more.” 

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