Retired pensioners Pat and Bernard Hampson (69 and 70) have lived in their modest semi-detached property in Liverpool for 34 years. Around 6 years ago, however, the energy bills for the property took a skyward leap, leaving the pair worrying each time they needed to put the heating on.
“We expected our bills to be quite high because my mother was living with us. She was in her 90s and always had the heating turned on. […] when she died in October 2021 the bills didn’t go down, they started to go up.” – Pat
Their bills continued to climb until the couple were eventually paying £1,200 each month with no sign of lowering. Despite asking Ovo Energy to look into their incredibly high bills, the provider continued to ignore their issue and to imply that it must be down to user error when Bernard would input his readings manually.
“We tried to speak to OVO Energy to ask them to look into it but every month another expensive bill would come. We’d be on the phone for hours trying to sort it but wouldn’t get anywhere.
“Overnight our meter showed we were £2,000 in arrears when we’d always been in credit.
“I’d send them the readings, but it was like they didn’t think I was doing it right. [..] They started sending someone out to do it and we were told it would be looked into, but nothing got done.” – Bernard
It was only when Pat and Bernard spoke with their neighbours that they realised they were paying significantly more despite using their heating less.
Seeking legal help for overcharged energy bills
After months of back-and-forth with OVO and with no help in sight, Pat and Bernard turned to CEL Solicitors for advice.
At CEL we were able to identify that there had been multiple errors on the part of OVO Energy, however the provider continued to deny wrongdoing.
It was only once legal proceedings had been issued that the energy provider began cooperating. Once they did so it was quickly agreed that Pat and Bernard had been grossly overcharged on their energy bills for years, and that full remunerations were in order.
“It turns out they had been taking our metric readings as imperial and then converting it to metric – so we were being charged triple the amount we should have been.
“We went on holiday for two weeks and the bill that month was still more than £500 – we hadn’t even been there a full month!” – Bernard
For more than half a decade the retired couple saw their pensions dramatically chipped away at just so they could keep themselves warm.
When CEL Solicitors were instructed the total amount overcharged was £10,478.25.
We were able to recover the full amount overcharged, along with an additional £6,000 in interest and compensation for the years of stress inflicted due to OVO Energy’s error.
Gavin Spruin, Litigation Team Manager and Trainee Solicitor at CEL Solicitors, said: “The situation of Mr and Mrs Hampson is appalling but unfortunately is not uncommon. There are likely thousands of people in a similar position.
“Individuals may think that their energy bills are high because of current global events but in the majority of cases the reasons for such high bills are the energy provider making the wrong assumption”.
Mr Spruin advises that any issues should be reported to your energy provider directly and a complaint made, but you can contact solicitors if your energy provider fails to respond.
“At a time where people are having to decide between heating and eating, it is disappointing to see the lack of urgency to act by the energy firms, but we are here to assist.”