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Help - gas meter taking £7 out of every £10 I top up, I don't know what to do

(26 Posts)
theneverendedpeppapigepisode Tue 08-Nov-16 18:24:39

I owe npower a lot of money, long story short the bill was in my name but ex set it up, I thought he was paying it but he didn't, there is several years worth of gas and electricity owed, its thousands.
The electricity meter was fitted while he was still here he claimed it was his choice as it was a better deal, I didn't have a clue.
it takes 10% of every top up towards the debt which is fine.

I found out about the gas debt when they turned up at my house and broke in (with a warrent to) to fit a prepayment meter, I had no clue it was that bad.
I then found out about all of the other debts in my name and ex walked out and didn't come back.

The whole thing has been a nightmare.
Npower will not discuss anything with me because even though the account is in my name I don't know the email address it was set up with (I've tried to guess it but haven't managed to get it right yet) and the date of birth they have on file is wrong, so I fail the 'security' questions and they say they can't talk to me and literally hang up on me.

As a result I had to save up and get a private gas engineer to come and reconnect the gas (meaning we were without heat or hot water for over two months) npower didn't care.

I've finally had it reconnected and it had £10 on the meter, it lasted a couple of weeks and after I used that up I went and topped up the card £10, when I put it in the meter it said £5.99 debt charge - £1.01 meter charge.
So I was left with £3.
With it being so cold this only lasted me a few days, I managed to scrape together another £10 and topped up again and it's done the same.

I tried to call npower but they refused to talk to me.

I don't know what to do, there is no way I can afford to top up £20-30 a week.
I'm a single mum, I'm currently claiming benefits although I'm desperately looking for a job.

I spoke to CAB when they first fitted the meter but they weren't very helpful and said there wasn't much they could do, I needed to contact exp and get the info from him but I don't know how when I have no idea where he is.
They said the charges on the meter would be low due to my being on benefits, but I couldn't see what it was until I had it reconnected. But surely 7 out of every £10 isn't a low charge.

I just don't know what to do.

insan1tyscartching Tue 08-Nov-16 18:39:44

Can you change suppliers and make a payment plan with Npower that you can realistically afford?

RebootYourEngine Tue 08-Nov-16 18:43:23

If you cant get through to npower by phoning, emailing, tweeting, facebooking, i would try the CAB again. If they cant help i would change suppliers.

theneverendedpeppapigepisode Tue 08-Nov-16 18:48:28

I tried that after they refused to deal with me, thinking there's no way I can be expected to deal with them if they won't even talk to me about the account, but npower blocked the switch and said the won't let me switch unless I pay off the money owed, which I don't have.

I spoke to CAB about it at the time, they said you can switch with a debt if the debt is less than a certain about (a few hundred) but above that they are within their rights to block the switch.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 08-Nov-16 18:53:02

GeT in touch with your local constituency office, the MP will have a case workers based there who should be able to help you if you get no joy with the CAB

AliceInHinterland Tue 08-Nov-16 18:54:01

Will they deal with you in writing?

Onthesofa1 Tue 08-Nov-16 18:58:34

Try asking CAB to help you to negotiate getting the deductions reduced - and ask them to help you with dealing with your other debts too. Npower need to know you are a single mum on benefits at the moment - I think the max they should take is around £3.75 per week for someone in your situation. If you don't get anywhere with Cab try asking your MP to intervene. Good luck

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 08-Nov-16 19:04:13

Have you tried advising Npower when you first get through that due to your ex setting up the account the date of birth and email are wrong. They can then ask you different security questions. If you get nowhere with that ask to speak to a manager. They will try and put you off doing this but if you insist then they will do it, it's part of their procedure.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 08-Nov-16 19:06:59

If you owe thousands, they are unlikely to let you change suppliers - they don't have to if the debt is over £500.

If you're running out of gas/electric, is there any chance some of it is repaying the emergency? That is expensive.

You are going to need to call npower, explain that ex is gone and has been for years and argue with them until they talk to you.

theneverendedpeppapigepisode Tue 08-Nov-16 19:17:25

There is no emergency credit on the gas meter, the electricity meter has emergency credit but not the gas one, when the credit runs out it just turns off the gas supply.

I've tried everything possible to get them to talk to me. I've argued, begged, pleaded and cried.
I've told them the whole situation but they don't care.
I've spoken to managers and special people but they all say that they can't discuss anything with me if I can't answer the security questions.

I've written and emailed them but either not received a reply or been told to phone them.

I went around in circles for weeks before I just gave up.

I was incredibly disappointed with CAB they basically told me that there was nothing they could do, but I'll try calling them again tomorrow and hope they might be more helpful with this problem.

Thank you all for the replies.

SueDunome Tue 08-Nov-16 19:19:53

Phone them again and explain that you don't know the security details, but you can prove your correct identity. Ask them to send some one out to your home to resolve this if they won't speak to you on the phone.

kshaw Tue 08-Nov-16 19:22:08

I used to work in debt collection for gas and elec suppliers. You need to prove you are responsible for the debt - send a copy of your tenancy agreement (or land registry if own the house) showing dates covered and a copy of your ID to show your correct date of birth. Explain in writing that the birthday wrong and don't know the email address-providing your current email with it. Also you need the CAB to draw up an income and expenditure form (you can do it yourself but not obliged to accept it) while proposing what your debt repayment is and they should be able to change the meter. If have other debts the CCCS is also free - I have not worked there for about 5 years so I hope all this is correct but it's certainly will help!

SeasideBay Tue 08-Nov-16 19:23:31

I feel so sorry for you what a pain. When I bought my house (repossession) we had a meter which clearly had a lot of debt on it. We were renovating the house so not using gas at the time, but when we moved in I topped up and it immediately swallowed all the credit and switched off the gas again. I rang eon, engineer came out, topped up meter, came home from work-no credit gas switched off. Repeat x 5 days engineer out every day. We got a bill/credit meter fitted then after 3 months got a bill for £3k! Eon were adamant the bill was correct and it took me about a month to sort it. We were going round and round in circles and eventually I rang up a call centre, apologised profusely for what was coming to the call handler as I knew it wasn't directly her fault and then I went batshit crazy. I totally lost it on the phone, shouting swearing and finally burst into tears. Surprisingly she got a manager (that previously I couldn't speak to!) and eventually it was sorted and we got a massive refund and compensation from eon. It's awful situation to be in but sometimes you have just got to politely lose your shit to get things fixed!!

JemIsMyNameNooneElseIsTheSame Tue 08-Nov-16 19:25:14

Is there some sort of Ombudsman for power firms that you could contact?

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:28:04

Have you tried writing/emailing them with a copy of your ID attached (so they can't dispute you are the bill payer) and explaining the situation? You can email the head of customer services directly -

Hope you get it sorted soon op.

JemIsMyNameNooneElseIsTheSame Tue 08-Nov-16 19:28:35

Number here to call to try and resolve it long term, but long wait unfortunately. Still worth a try and hopefully they could fastback your case if you explain the situation.

RavioliOnToast Tue 08-Nov-16 19:28:35

Yes there is an ombudsman, contact ofgem about them.

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:29:12

Here's the page with the full complaints procedure:

Richardhun Tue 08-Nov-16 19:29:28

You need to complain to the ombudsman.
You will go round and round in circles with them, the ombudsman will help.

We had a problem with Eon owing US money, it took the ombudsman to resolve it.

Energy companies loose almost all complaints against them ( due to them being shit)

princessconsuelabannahammock Tue 08-Nov-16 19:35:53

I had a similar thing but with a phone contract set up in my exes name. I explained and asked them to make changes but they would only deal with him. In the end I got a make work friend to ring up and pretend to be him. Not sure it would work in your case but might be worth a shot? Sounds utterly frustrating what a shot your ex is. Good luck with getting this sorted

princessconsuelabannahammock Tue 08-Nov-16 19:36:36

Sorry your ex is not a shot, he is a shit!

lougle Tue 08-Nov-16 19:42:18

Your other option is to apply for a relief order ink{\]]r}

theneverendedpeppapigepisode Tue 08-Nov-16 20:32:02

Thanks for all the great advice, I'll definitely get on with those tomorrow.

It's all been such a nightmare, when I finally think I'm getting on top of it it just gets even worse. It's so exhausting.

listsandbudgets Tue 08-Nov-16 20:33:39

It may well be worth contacting your local MP.

I used to be a local councillor (years ago) and was approached by a man who owed over £2000 to Npower - his circumstances were different from yours but at the core of it it was not his fault.

Npower turned out to have a liaison department who worked with elected members and eventually I got them to agree to write off over £1500 of the debt. It did take some effort but he was a lot happier so do try your MP. it may have all changed now but they will often have contacts you can't easily access.

Really hope it works out for you

starving Sun 13-Nov-16 22:27:20

npower are c**p. Over a 6 month period they threatened my dad with debt collectors over an alleged £100+ bill. We kept contacting them asking them to check & recalculate as we were convinced he had overpaid. They ignored us and kept sending out nasty letters. We had to get the ombudsman involved and they finally agreed that they owed my dad money! He also got some compensation too.

Looks like you may have to go down the ombudsman route if they will not even talk to you.

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