Solved

How do I challenge a meter reading dispute?

  • 18 December 2023
  • 18 replies
  • 626 views

Can I challenge a meter reading dispute result? OVO suggest that my meter readings don’t match up with their estimated readings. They opened up a ‘meter reading dispute’ to challenge my original meter reading when I switched from British Gas. The conclusion of the dispute it that they say my original meter reading must have been much lower than the one I gave which means I now owe them a large additional sum. However, despite this, I have photographic evidence of my meter reading that proves that my meter reading was much higher than they say at the time I switched. I have sent all these photos to OVO but they simply ignore my emails. How on earth can I challenge this incorrect finding? Please help

icon

Best answer by Jeffus 18 December 2023, 11:30

View original

18 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

One of the things you would need is your final bill from British Gas. What suppliers tend to do is go through an industry scheme to match end and start readings at hand over. If these are different to what is being proposed then you would have a chance. Conversely if the end reading from BG agrees with a lower start reading suggested then that would take precedence 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I agree, check your final bill with British gas and give this to ovo. They should have issued a final bill after 6 weeks.

However even with this there is the possibility that the new occupiers have given a very different starting reading which ovo are using.

Given that the meter reading dispute process has already been followed, it may now be best to do this via an official complaint 

https://www.ovoenergy.com/feedback

Then if you are still unhappy after 8 weeks you can go to the Enegy Ombudsman

https://www.energyombudsman.org/

Thank you for your replies. I have a final bill from British Gas which shows the correct meter readings. OVO however have suggested that they have been in contact with BG and have agreed to use a ‘new opening Gas read’. If the previous occupant had remotely similar readings to those that I sent in, it should prove my readings were correct. But then again I can’t see why BG would spend much time looking into the dispute as they have nothing to gain. 

 

I have raised a complaint with OVO so will see how that goes. In short however, can I expect my date/time stamped photos to be admissible as evidence? Furthermore, if I don’t get anywhere with a complaint, will I still be able to escalate things with the Energy Ombudsman. I’m unpleasantly surprised that OVO can be so cavalier with their billing policy. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thank you for your replies. I have a final bill from British Gas which shows the correct meter readings. OVO however have suggested that they have been in contact with BG and have agreed to use a ‘new opening Gas read’. If the previous occupant had remotely similar readings to those that I sent in, it should prove my readings were correct. But then again I can’t see why BG would spend much time looking into the dispute as they have nothing to gain. 

 

I have raised a complaint with OVO so will see how that goes. In short however, can I expect my date/time stamped photos to be admissible as evidence? Furthermore, if I don’t get anywhere with a complaint, will I still be able to escalate things with the Energy Ombudsman. I’m unpleasantly surprised that OVO can be so cavalier with their billing policy. 

After 8 weeks or a deadlock letter from OVO you can go to the Energy Ombudsman if you are not happy. You could try asking for a deadlock letter now if OVO say they won't look into it further. There is no reason for them not to issue a deadlock letter if they say they won't look into it any more.

In my humble opinion a final bill from Brtish Gas and a date/time stamped photo should be sufficient for OVO and the Energy Ombudsman. OVO should have used this in the industry  Meter Reading Dispute Process in my opinion  so they may have failed in their duties as it appears from what you have said that the dispute process has already been completed.

But obviously you don't know what the new occupiers have submitted or what British Gas has told OVO. So it is impossible to know exactly where the issue is.

OVO currently have the worst record for escalated company to the Energy Ombudsman and Citizens Advice, so be interesting to see if they settle this case before you get the Ombudsman involved. OVO are trying to improve their complaint statistics at the moment.

The average compensation awarded against OVO for billing mistakes is currently is £206. 96% of ovo complaints taken to the Ombudsman result in financial compensation.

It is worth keeping the thread updated as your complaint progresses. The OVO moderators here read all the posts and respond to some.

You can find some information on meter reading Disputes here. You may already have read this

The alternative is to try asking British Gas to reissue your final bill with a lower final reading that they are claiming and ask British Gas to refund the difference, but that may just complicate matters and obviously you think the higher reading was correct.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

If you already have a final bill from BG then that suggests to me that their side of the ‘agreed’ readings was completed. 
Aside from the complaints process and ultimately Ombudsman if necessary, you would also have the re-billing to visit if the new readings were to stick although I agree that dated photos (images include EXIF data which includes date and time) and your final BG bill should be sufficient. 
Have BG been in touch at all on the subject?

Thank you again for your replies. I will update the thread as and when. 

 

I’ve just spoken to BG who have now adopted OVO’s version of what the readings ‘should’ have been. It seems very unfair that British Gas would retrospectively amend previously confirmed readings without any due diligence or contact with me. Fortunately I have a paper copy of the final bill confirming what the readings were originally.

 

As I was with BG for a month (after moving but before switching to OVO) it makes absolutely no sense for me to have submitted a greatly inflated reading before switching, as I would have been financially liable for the usage anyway. Furthermore it wouldn't have tallied with the previous occupants final reading. BG are being unhelpful in the fact that they won't tell me what the previous occupant’s readings were.

 

In theory I could go back to BG for an amended final bill, however I’d probably end up going round in circles. Also, it is incorrect, and all I’d like is for them to adopt the correct (photographically documented) readings. 

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thank you again for your replies. I will update the thread as and when. 

 

I’ve just spoken to BG who have now adopted OVO’s version of what the readings ‘should’ have been. It seems very unfair that British Gas would retrospectively amend previously confirmed readings without any due diligence or contact with me. Fortunately I have a paper copy of the final bill confirming what the readings were originally.

 

As I was with BG for a month (after moving but before switching to OVO) it makes absolutely no sense for me to have submitted a greatly inflated reading before switching, as I would have been financially liable for the usage anyway. Furthermore it wouldn't have tallied with the previous occupants final reading. BG are being unhelpful in the fact that they won't tell me what the previous occupant’s readings were.

 

In theory I could go back to BG for an amended final bill, however I’d probably end up going round in circles. Also, it is incorrect, and all I’d like is for them to adopt the correct (photographically documented) readings. 

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

Good to hear you are making progress with British Gas @ajjarman 

Thank you for all the helpful comments.

 

Unfortunately I don’t seem to be making any progress with OVO. I have been allocated a ‘Specialist in Advanced Resolutions Team’, however she is quite slow on the uptake and I have spent hours trying to explain what should be a very straightforward situation. The cynical side of me suspects this is done on purpose to try to exhaust my efforts. I hope this isn’t the case!

 

OVO suggest that the meter readings I have submitted do not tally with their estimations of what I theoretically should have used. They have therefore disregarded my submitted opening reading on 26/5/2023 of 32477, in favour of an estimated reading of 31613. This inflates my gas usage in line with what they think my property should have used since switching to OVO. The problem is that I took a photo of my meter shortly before on 10/5/2023 and emailed it to OVO the very same day with a reading of 32437. I simply can’t see how this is not irrefutable proof that their estimated readings are incorrect and that my submitted reading is accurate. I have a copy of the original email (with meter reading photo attached) and have sent it to OVO 4 times now and still they fail to acknowledge it. Every time I forward a copy of the email I ask for confirmation of receipt but they never provide it. 

 

OVO are also very poor at providing information on what my options are. If it hadn’t been for the comments on here I wouldn’t know about a need for a deadlock letter or the Energy Ombudsman. I think these are my inevitable next steps. In addition I have also contacted Jill from the Sunday Times Money helper section. She seems adept at helping people being mistreated by large companies and I am interested to see whether she publishes details of OVO’s poor customer service. 

 

Thanks again. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

But on OVO’s side they have to be certain that you’re not pulling a fast one, nor trying to commit fraud. Unfortunately… There are some folks who would try those tricks.

The rejection might also have been from the industry rather than OVO. In those cases, sorting this out unfortunately takes quite a while.

I agree that they need to investigate properly. They are not doing this however, as this would include acknowledging the email I sent to OVO with a photo of my meter. The date of my email with photographic meter reading make it impossible for their estimated readings to be accurate. As I mentioned before, I have sent a copy of this email 4 times, accompanied by a request to confirm receipt, but they have not done so. 

At the top of this thread, it suggests that the topic is ‘Solved’. It is most definitely NOT solved and OVO continue to be extremely difficult to communicate with and refuse to even acknowledge the evidence for my correct meter reading (I have sent this to the 4 times).

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

The solved status here != solved status of any complaints or cases you have open. It’s intended to indicate to the wider community that there’s an answer that may help them, rather than being purely for the original asker of the question.

We do sometimes do answers that are highly customised to the point where they’re more useful to the original seeker of knowledge than anyone else, but the one for this thread doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Thank you for your reply Blastoise. As helpful as some of the replies have been, my frustrating situation is not solved. It it misleading to have a ‘solved’ status next to the title when my complaint regarding the dispute is ongoing. I wanted to make that clear to anyone else reading the thread who may be in a similar situation. 

Userlevel 7

Hey @ajjarman,

 

I’m sorry to hear of the issues you’re having, it sounds very frustrating.

 

I’ll ask Forum_Support to reach out, please keep an eye on your private messages. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@ajjarman keep an eye out here

https://forum.ovoenergy.com/inbox/overview

My complaint and meter reading issues have now been resolved. OVO have been consistently terrible regarding my complaint and the only way I was able to resolve the issue was by approaching a Sunday Times journalist. 

 

I had spent months trying to resolve the issue. I engaged with 8 different OVO agents who all failed to act on the information I gave them. ‘Suzie’ was particularly bad. 

 

After 1 email to the journalist, she immediately saw the problem and recognised that the photographic evidence I had provided was sufficient to prove that OVO had made a mistake that needed to be rectified. Within days of her contacting OVO, I received an apologetic email from OVO acknowledging their mistake and offering £250 compensation (later increased to £300). 

 

The Sunday Times journalist further helped resolve the issue with British Gas. In fairness to BG, they had difficulty dealing with my complaint as I never had an account set up with them. That said, I spent hours on the phone to various agents who did not explain this and were ultimately unhelpful with the situation. They finally offered to clear any debit amount from my account and recognised that I had paid a correct amount for a final bill the previous year.

 

My advice to those dealing with OVO’s complaints resolution centre, is to be prepared to be given the ‘run-around’. The agents I spoke to repeatedly misunderstood the points I made and ignored the photographic evidence I sent in. Contacting a journalist worked for me, however if that option is not available I would contact the Energy Ombudsman at the earliest opportunity. Furthermore I would thoroughly research my options for escalating/progressing my complaint, as OVO will do very little in this department. Jeffus was very helpful in this thread.

 

You don’t have to take my word for it. This is how the journalist described OVO and BG’s behaviour: “I think both have behaved disgracefully - you have put up with a lot.”

 

 

Sent from Outlook for iOS

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

My complaint and meter reading issues have now been resolved. OVO have been consistently terrible regarding my complaint and the only way I was able to resolve the issue was by approaching a Sunday Times journalist. 

 

I had spent months trying to resolve the issue. I engaged with 8 different OVO agents who all failed to act on the information I gave them. ‘Suzie’ was particularly bad. 

 

After 1 email to the journalist, she immediately saw the problem and recognised that the photographic evidence I had provided was sufficient to prove that OVO had made a mistake that needed to be rectified. Within days of her contacting OVO, I received an apologetic email from OVO acknowledging their mistake and offering £250 compensation (later increased to £300). 

 

The Sunday Times journalist further helped resolve the issue with British Gas. In fairness to BG, they had difficulty dealing with my complaint as I never had an account set up with them. That said, I spent hours on the phone to various agents who did not explain this and were ultimately unhelpful with the situation. They finally offered to clear any debit amount from my account and recognised that I had paid a correct amount for a final bill the previous year.

 

My advice to those dealing with OVO’s complaints resolution centre, is to be prepared to be given the ‘run-around’. The agents I spoke to repeatedly misunderstood the points I made and ignored the photographic evidence I sent in. Contacting a journalist worked for me, however if that option is not available I would contact the Energy Ombudsman at the earliest opportunity. Furthermore I would thoroughly research my options for escalating/progressing my complaint, as OVO will do very little in this department. Jeffus was very helpful in this thread.

 

You don’t have to take my word for it. This is how the journalist described OVO and BG’s behaviour: “I think both have behaved disgracefully - you have put up with a lot.”

 

 

Sent from Outlook for iOS

Good to hear you have sorted things out @ajjarman 

It is a shame some posters have to resort to 3rd parties for help including journalists, citizens advice and the Energy Ombudsman.

 

 

 

Userlevel 7

Hey @ajjarman,

 

I’m glad to hear you got your account issue sorted in the end, and I’m sorry it was such a frustrating process.

 

Please pop back if you have any other issues. 

Reply