JUST a simple knock on the door makes Adam Rock’s heart race – he’s worried a bailiff has come to chase him for a £9,200 energy bill.
Adam has received countless texts, letters, and calls from Scottish Power telling him he owes thousands, but he doesn’t.
Instead, it’s down to a billing blunder that started in 2018, which surveyor Adam, 46, from Worcestershire, has spent years trying to resolve.
“It’s been daily torture getting emails texts and phone calls every day from Scottish Power,” Adam told The Sun.
“I’m paranoid bailiffs are going to start knocking on my door.
“We’ve had to make sure all our gates and doors are all locked, we’ve been prisoners in our own home.”
In November 2018, a system error meant that Adam’s direct debit to Scottish Power stopped.
Before the payments were suddenly stopped, Adam’s bills varied as his direct debit was not fixed – they could vary from between £70 to £180 each month.
Customers should always be checking their bank accounts to make sure transactions like direct debits are in order, but Adam admits he didn’t monitor his payments.
His direct debit came out of his joint account set up with his wife, accounts manager Samantha, 46, meaning they instead paid a certain amount every month to cover bills.
He claims Scottish Power never contacted him to alert him about overdue payments.
He had a smart meter for his electricity, and sent gas meter readings periodically.
Adam only realised the error had occurred when Scottish Power sent him a mega back-bill of around £9,600 in October 2021.
This covered the period of time between November 2018 and October 2021 when the direct debits hadn’t been taken.
However, energy customers are protected by back-billing rules.
If you have not been correctly billed, then suppliers can only chase you for money owed within the last 12 months – and not before this.
After complaining to Scottish Power about the bill and reaching a deadlock, Adam went to the energy ombudsman, which handles issues between customers and suppliers.
The energy ombudsman told Scottish Power in October last year to re-calculate what Adam owed over the previous 12 months only.
It meant Scottish Power could only charge Adam between October 2021 and October 2022.
Adam received a bill from the supplier that same month, which appeared to be charging him £1,040 to clear the bill – so he paid up thinking that the issue had been resolved.
But since then, Adam has constantly got letters through the door, telling him he still owes thousands.
The amounts that the debt stood at usually varied each time – but at the end of last year, Adam received his biggest bill yet of nearly £9,200.
He has got debt collection letters, and has been threatened with being forced onto a prepayment meter if he didn’t pay.
Adam asked Scottish Power to explain why he is still being billed so much money, but got no response.
“I can’t get to the bottom of what I actually owe, and I get bombarded with bills,” Adam said.
“I’ve been hounded to pay with no explanation and no itemised bill.”
When The Sun approached Scottish Power, the supplier apologised for its mistake.
Following the £1,040 he paid, Adam owes nothing, and Scottish Power had recalculated that his account is now in credit.
“We apologise to Mr Rock for the issues he experienced, which have now been remedied,” a Scottish Power spokesperson said.
“We have implemented all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, leaving Mr Rock with a revised account balance of £495.30 in credit.”
What to do if you’ve been the victim of a billing error
If you’ve been sent an incorrect bill, then contact the energy supplier who sent it to you straight away.
It’s best to tackle the issue straight away, otherwise it can snowball and get even more expensive and complicated.
Anything from account mix-ups, faulty meters and IT errors could mean you’re being overcharged.
You’re protected by backbilling rules, so you can’t be charged for gas or electricity used more than 12 months ago.
If you do receive a bill that’s from more than a year ago, contact your supplier.
If the problem is not corrected, then you should make a formal complaint to the company.
If this still doesn’t work, contact the Energy Ombudsman.
They handle issues between customers and suppliers and will look at your case to see if they can help you deal with the complaint.
You’ll get help with resolving issues on billing, installations and delays, loss of service, customer service, and switching suppliers.