We received our electricity bill this week. Not the most exciting thing to write about, you may think, but what followed from that was, let's say... interesting.
Some background information:
I find reading the electricity bill boring and incredibly complicated. Therefore, I normally rely on it being correct and file it away. We are regularly asked to submit our readings (if we are not home when they come to do the reading) or the company does an estimated calculation of how much they think we have used. We pay via direct debit a regular monthly amount and this more than covers the consumption throughout the year. In fact, we have increasingly been in credit and I remember thinking before the winter started that it is ok since I am sure we will use more electricity over the cold period so it is good to be in credit.
Two weeks ago the electricity company came to do a reading after the winter, so I knew it was up to date.
When the bill came through this week I noticed our account was now much over a thousand pounds in credit. I therefore called the company to ask for a refund and to adjust the monthly payment which clearly is set too high. No point in paying too much and have so much money sitting with the electricity company. It is not like they give interest on your credit...
To my surprise - and theirs - it turns out our electricity meter is faulty. There has been no registration of daytime consumption since November 2009! The night time consumption has been done, so we have paid correctly for the nights, but the daytime meter shows the same number today as it did in November 2009!
The (very nice) young man explained that this was their fault for not spotting that (thanks for that!) and they would have to come and change the meter and do an assessment of what they think we have used for the last year and charge us for that. That is fair enough, I thought. But being an honest person, I couldn't avoid pointing out that we actually owe them day time electricity consumption for 3.5 years. "Oh, no. We can't go back that far", he said. "We can only charge you for the last year. So you will not be charged for the other 2.5 years of day time electricity. It is our fault for not having discovered the meter is not working correctly."
I could hardly believe what I was hearing...
The credit we hold with the company more than covers what they estimated we have used this last year and the rest will be a very nice amount repaid to us.
Now, I said I was an honest person, but somewhere inside me a little voice is whispering -
WHY did you call them and let them know...?