Business

EDF didn’t send my business energy bills – and then cut me off. Can I refuse payment?

Last summer I bought a laundry shop in my town. The previous tenant’s energy was supplied by EDF, so I reached out to have it transferred to my name.

I was told that I could not sign a new contract at this time because the market was too volatile so I would be charged more expensive “out of contract” rates.

I had no contact from them or an invoice for months. Eventually I received my February-March invoice from EDF which said I owed them £3,500. That seems way too high for just two months of energy.

I refused to pay the expensive fees and tried to dispute them but to no avail.

Laundromats tend to have more expensive bills than regular businesses due to the energy-draining equipment they run throughout the day (stock image, not from actual premises)

EDF has now cut my electricity which means I can no longer run my business and I am slowly losing money.

I’ve just paid EDF £2,500 but when I asked him to turn my power back on he said he couldn’t send anyone out. I have since agreed to switch to another supplier but the transfer has not yet taken place.

Am I right to dispute these charges? Will I be charged special rates? And how can I recharge my energy and keep my business running? AS, via email.

Emilia Shovelin, This is Money, responds: Energy bills continue to skyrocket and nobody wants to be caught out by a shock bill demanding thousands of pounds.

Your troubles with EDF have caused too much concern at a time when you should be focused on growing your new business.

However, our investigations revealed a dispute between what you originally told us was the problem and what EDF says happened.

EDF says it learned in August that you took over the business lease in July and opened an account for you – but you claimed you hadn’t been in contact with your bill for five months and said you had no way of switching contracts were offered.

You said you said you couldn’t pay your bills or didn’t even know what they were as you didn’t get any contact from EDF.

EDF contacted you in November to agree on a repayment schedule and direct debit, but you say you couldn’t come to an agreement.

In March, you contacted EDF again, even though your energy bill was in the thousands at the time, and you contested the charges.

By May your balance had grown to over £5,600. EDF said because it hasn’t received any payments since taking over the business lease, it has shut off your electricity.

I can understand why this process has been frustrating for you if you have not received any communication from EDF.

However when I got in touch with EDF it turned out that the £3,500 bill was correct and was the sum you had to pay for the energy used from July 2021 and not just February to March 2022 That total has since gone up to £5,600.

Unfortunately for business energy customers, Ofgem’s energy price cap of just under £2,000 a year for the average household does not apply, meaning providers can charge companies higher rates.

There's nothing worse than an expensive energy bill, especially when your provider is chasing thousands of pounds, but keeping track of your bills is the best way to avoid shock bills

There’s nothing worse than an expensive energy bill, especially when your provider is chasing thousands of pounds, but keeping track of your bills is the best way to avoid shock bills

And since you run a laundromat that typically has a lot of large, energy-guzzling appliances, your electricity bill is probably higher than most other businesses in your area.

While energy bills may be higher than you expected, EDF took multiple meter readings and confirmed that you paid the correct amount to the business account, which matches what the previous owner paid.

An EDF spokesman said: “In July 2021 an account was opened for AS and although we have sent several reminders we have not received any payments for the energy they have used.

“In May 2022, this led to the supply of the AS premises being switched off.

“To ensure we keep bills down for all of our customers, it is only right that we demand payment for energy used and seek to collect debt for unpaid bills.”

After paying almost £2,500 to EDF, it agreed to set up a repayment plan for the rest.

EDF urges business customers to reach out to them when they are concerned about energy debt for a repayment solution that works for everyone

EDF urges business customers to reach out to them when they are concerned about energy debt for a repayment solution that works for everyone

Within a week of you making the payment, EDF dispatched a technician to reconnect your power.

Unfortunately, this is a reminder that if someone does not get contact from their energy supplier, it is still their responsibility to pay for the energy used.

Had you contacted EDF when you realized you weren’t receiving your bills, you could have avoided thousands in energy debt.

You could have turned to another supplier when you were told you couldn’t get a cheaper deal with EDF.

Anyone starting a new business is also well advised to check out business energy comparison sites and get an idea of ​​their bills so there aren’t any surprise costs.

It’s nice to hear you’re energized and business up and running again, but we should all be aware that things don’t get out of hand when it comes to paying our bills.

It can come as a huge shock to receive a bill worth thousands of pounds, but the best way to deal with this is to contact your utility as soon as you notice a problem.

The EDF spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to support our customers and we would urge all our customers who are concerned about debt to get in touch with us as soon as possible, so that we can discuss the support available to you.

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EDF didn’t send my business energy bills – and then cut me off. Can I refuse payment?

Source link EDF didn’t send my business energy bills – and then cut me off. Can I refuse payment?

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