This will be my public consumer awareness post. Just for those who don’t know me, I have not lived in the UK for many years so I had no real idea how much utilities cost. Sure you can compare prices between different companies but its difficult to know, how much you spend.

However I always thought I was paying a bit to much for gas but was delaying the time to actually call up the gas copmany and ask for some help. I also had a guy come in and inspect the gas heater as part of my landlord’s annual obligation.

The company I am with is Swalec and recently they changed their website and, by chance, I received a recent gas bill which was as usual very high. i forgot to mention this company sends bills every trimester, so I did sometimes think that I just felt the bills were so high because of that. Well, the new website enabled you to report gas meter readings on-line. When I did that I noticed there were instructions on how to do that. Although I had reported meter readings on the phone before that I thought it might clarify a few things for me. i ws surprised to see that you were supposed to read the meter only to the decimal point and no more than that. The meter reading I had on my previous bills seem to always include an extra digit after the decimal point!

How could this be possible?

My best answer is – I have no idea. The initial meter reading must have been done by someone from Swalec and although some bills come based on estimated readings some come from actual meter readings and these were all done with an extra digit. First I thought I was mistaken but I re-checked the instructions and there was no doubt – they have been overcharging me (via meter readings) ten times (10x). If you look closer at the bill it says the unit us “cu meters” which is cubic meters or m3. That corresponds to the values before the comma.

I received a delayed re-vised bill where they re-calculated all bills payed after I moved in over a year ago. I had been overcharged by about five hundred pounds.

don’t let this happen to you, check you meter yourself and check the instructions – see how you broadband connection can repay dividends.

Insert from the instructions page:

Read the numbers from left to right, including all ‘zeros’ but ignoring the red number(s) or any number(s) after a decimal point.

So if you think your gas bill is to high it might not be all down to the increasing oil prices. Check.

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