Electric shock of �21,689 invoice
AN 84-year-old Suffolk woman received a bit of a shock when she opened her electricity bill from EDF Energy last week.
As Margaret Tolputt, from Sudbury, scanned down the bill she spotted the total – an electrifying quarterly bill of �21,689.67.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” said Mrs Tolputt. “I mean, it is obviously a mistake but I know from experience how difficult it can be trying to sort out a bill when you have been overcharged, even for such a ridiculous amount as this.”
The “bill breakdown” for the payment period from April to July clearly states that her last quarterly bill was �287, which means the following three months saw an increased electricity use equating to �21,402.54.
She said the bill was not for her home in Nonsuch Meadow – it was for a few electric items inside apartments she owns in Middleton Road, Sudbury.
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She said: “To be precise the charge is for two washing machines, two driers and the lights in the hallway. Even if they were on 24-hours-a-day, you couldn’t use that much electricity.
“They [EDF] rang me up to tell me that I was using a lot of electricity and I had a big bill but wouldn’t give me the figure so I insisted on seeing it. If I was running a company and a ridiculous bill like this came up I’d have the sense to send someone round to check the meter before I made a complete fool of myself.”
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Mrs Tolputt said she was hoping to avoid a similar problem she had with Powergen a few years ago when she received an incorrect bill for �614.
“By the time that one was sorted I was left with a mountain of paperwork. I really hope this isn’t going to be a similar headache,” she added.
A spokesman from EDF Energy apologised for the inconvenience caused to Mrs Tolputt and said they would now be sending her a bouquet of flowers as a goodwill gesture.
She said: “As soon as you [the EADT] contacted us, a senior customer services advisor looked into the matter and has spoken to Mrs Tolputt directly. We have now updated our records and are in the process of rebilling the account.”
She said that the meter readings for the account had been recorded incorrectly on their systems when the supply was transferred to EDF in 2007 because a digit was missing.
The spokesman added that Mrs Tolputt was warned on August 4 that the bill “appeared to be erroneous” but the customer insisted on seeing the incorrect bill for �21,689.