A pensioner has narrated how he was harassed by an electricity company over an outstanding bill – even if it was with a different provider.
Terry Donnelly says he was accompanied by more than 50 hard letters demanding he cough up £566 before debt collectors came knocking.
66 years old, from liverpoolMoved to his apartment and immediately canceled existing account with Scottish Power.
He established himself with the octopus – but a month later he was told he had a huge Scottish power payoff.
Terry, a retired surveyor, contacted his local lawmaker and eventually managed to wipe out the debt.
And while the Scottish power has apologized to Labour’s Paula Barker, Terry himself says he doesn’t have a word.
He added: “It’s just been an absolute nightmare.
“They’ve stopped sending bills now but they still haven’t said sorry to me.”
Terry said that he received his first letter in December 2019 and then distributed them continuously for the next two years.
“I didn’t particularly want to stick with the Scottish Powers so I swapped the octopus, and that was fine as long as the Scottish Powers kept billing me,” he said.
“I kept calling them and telling them ‘Look, I’m with the octopus’.
“By March of 2020 it got so bad that I sent them a cease and desist letter asking them to stop sending me bills – but it kept going.
“I kept calling them saying ‘Stop it, stop it, stop it’.”
Terry said the stress almost led him to contemplate suicide.
“They just won’t stop,” he said. “They sent debt collectors and everything.
“I was begging them, absolutely begging them to stop.
“I suffer from PTSD and depression and I told them all that but they kept going – it was harassment.
“They completely ignored everyone including me and the Lokpal.
“They ended up saying I owed them £566 – but I didn’t owe them because I was paying the octopus.”
It’s just been an absolute nightmare.
Eventually, Scottish Power stopped contacting Terry after contacting its local MP, and it apologized for the “stress caused to the constituent”.
A spokesperson confirmed that the provider was billing “captured” correctly, and blamed Octopus for the mix-up.
They said: “We understand Mr Donnelly’s dismay and apologize for any distress, however, we have billed the property correctly.
“While Mr Donnelly understood that his energy supply had been transferred and an account was established with the octopus, the power supply remained with Scottish Power because the octopus did not register its electricity meter as it should have.
How to challenge your bill?
Before you dispute your bill, you need to know your rights.
If you pay by direct debit, this monthly amount must be “fair and reasonable.”
If you don’t think this is the case, you can complain to the company in the first place.
If you are not happy with the result you can take it to the Independent Energy Ombudsman for dispute, but there are a few steps you need to take before reaching that stage.
Your supplier should clearly explain why it has chosen that amount for your direct debit.
If you have credit in your account, you have every right to get it back – although some experts recommend keeping it in the summer so your bills don’t rise in the winter when you use up more energy.
Your supplier must refund you or clearly explain why not otherwise and the regulator, Offgame, may fine the suppliers if they do not.
If you are disputing the bill, taking a meter reading is a must.
You can usually contact your provider by email, letter or telephone, but keep a record of the contact you make so that you can refer to it later if needed.
like charity citizen advice There are template complaint letters that you can use to help with the process.
“Following contact with the MP from Mr Donnelly, we have worked behind the scenes with Octopus to resolve this.
“Octopus has now cleared the dues on Mr Donnelly’s Scottish Power account and has been asked to process the transfer of supplies correctly.
“Once completed, Mr Donnelly’s Scottish Power account will be closed.”
An Octopus spokesperson said: “We are aware of Mr Donnelly’s case – there was a technical error on his account, which we resolved as soon as we discovered Scottish Power was still billing him.
“At the time, our Head of Operations got in touch with them to explain what had happened and that we had refunded their charges, paid their bill with Scottish Power and completed our switch to Octopus Energy.
“He was very pleased with the service he received and it is now one of our cheapest fixed tariffs to take advantage of the lower energy prices than last year.”