Dangerous electricity supply problems, but I've vacated

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  • Dangerous electricity supply problems, but I've vacated

    This is a little long winded so please bare with me. I'll try not to waffle and keep it to the bare facts.

    Began our AST in February 2008.

    LL claimed in around June of 2008 to have corrected a problem that was causing us to be billed not only for our own electricity usage, but also for the usage in the flat above us i.e. the two flats were both connected to the same meter.

    Next quarters bill was considerably lower, but then this was based on our electricity usage throughout the summer.

    As the days begin getting colder and the nights longer, obviously our electricity usage increases. With this increase, we begin to notice some strange things going on.

    Light bulbs are literally exploding every two or three weeks, laptops are overheating and dying, fuse panels are actually becoming too hot to touch, and on more than one occasion I was given an electric shock from the switch on one of the electric heaters. Once, the heater blew as it was turned on causing a black scorch mark to shoot up the wall.

    These strange goings on coincided with some truly colossal electricity bills. I won’t break it down in to too much detail but the amount I have outstanding for the period of September 2008 to February 2009 is £884.

    This is for a small two bedroom flat with two wall mounted electric heaters and a power shower.

    We were both working full time throughout this period, elsewhere on weekends and regularly away with work or on holiday.

    I have raised the issue that something is wrong with the electricity supply in the flat to the LL, the council, and EDF (electricity supplier) making sure to mention the fact that I have actually been electrocuted on more than occasion.

    The response is always the same “hire your own electrician”. Now, given that the best quote I have had so far is £120, this really isn’t and option. I must concede there is a slim possibility that nothing is wrong, and if this proves to be the case I will simply have thrown the money away.

    We have moved out of the property now, but I can’t help but feel it is irresponsible to leave it with a potentially dangerous electricity supply in it. Not to mention the fact that I cannot begin to think about how I will pay the huge outstanding electricity bill.

    Do I have anyone I can take the issue to? (I have tried the EICNIC who also gave the same advice.)

    It seems incredible given that the equipment on the property is very likely dangerous, that there is nobody who is willing to step in and perform the appropriate tests. More to the point I don’t want to pay an astronomical electricity bill that is based on readings that for whatever reason are inaccurate.

    Any advice what so ever on what I can do would be very greatly appreciated!

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Well obviously something is wrong. Possibly a serious earthing fault. You must get a qualified sparks to isolate the fault(s). Since you know there is a problem, if you do nothing about it, you could very well be held liable if someone is injured, or worse, as a result of it.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


    • #3
      I really doubt that you can employ an electrician to assess a property that you no longer have access to.

      If you wish to report a problem, all you can now do is contact the local authority environmental health department where the property is located and tell them about your concerns.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Poppy View Post
        a property that you no longer have access to
        Sorry, I didn't spot that bit.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


        • #5
          From some of the symptoms you are describing, it would appear that the voltage being applied to your appliances was too great. The only way that, IMHO this could happen is if, somehow, your landlord had taken two live wires, probably one for each flat and mis-connected them so that your electricity supply was connected across two phases giving you a terminal voltage of something like 400 volts. This is because he had little idea as to what he was doing and had thus left the electrical installation in a highly dangerous state. You have now moved out so that there is little you can now do. However, all gas appliances in rented properties require an annual safety certificate issued by an appropriately certified gan engineer. (I'm saying it that way as I am still unfamiliar with the name of the new organisation that has replaced Corgi). Landlords are expected, in law to certify that their own electrical installations are safe. They can do this by using a qualified electrician, but it is not law to do so. Regrettably this is one the very few cases where, perhaps, it should be.

          P.P.
          Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

          Comment


          • #6
            With regards to being held liable for not informing anyone, I have informed the LL, the local council, and the electricity supplier. To be perfectly honest I don't feel that I can do any more in this respect, and my hopes now turn to the possibility of having grounds to challenge this bill, or rather challenge the idea that the bill is my responsibility given the circumstances.

            If the problem is, as you say, possibly an earthing fault. Would this be likely to contribute towards a huge electricity bill?

            I know this is made an almost impossible scenario for the fact that I am no longer living there. But I have been discussing the issue with the appropriate parties since last year.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't see what you can do to prove it now that you have left. How will you persuade your ex-landlord to allow you bring an electrician to the property to assess the circuit and possibly dig into the walls?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by djjm View Post
                With regards to being held liable for not informing anyone, I have informed the LL, the local council, and the electricity supplier. To be perfectly honest I don't feel that I can do any more in this respect, and my hopes now turn to the possibility of having grounds to challenge this bill, or rather challenge the idea that the bill is my responsibility given the circumstances.

                If the problem is, as you say, possibly an earthing fault. Would this be likely to contribute towards a huge electricity bill?

                I know this is made an almost impossible scenario for the fact that I am no longer living there. But I have been discussing the issue with the appropriate parties since last year.
                I agree, you seem to have done as much as you can. I'm not too sure about the 2 phase possibility put forward by P.Pilcher, that would be likely to blow bulbs instantly and fry computers within seconds. Did the lights come on extra bright before they blew, they would have if the voltage was too high! I guess at it's being an Earthing fault because those sorts of faults can cause all sorts of weird symptons.
                I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well this is the problem!

                  I have subsequently vacated the property, but these issues were taken up with the LL long before that was the case. Her advice was that her own electrician had assesed the flat when the meters were 'corrected' and that any future assesment would need to be funded by myself.

                  Given that I had explained to her the situation, surely this is considered grossly irresponsible?

                  Not only this but the electricity supply wasn't setup correctly when we moved in, the LL conceeded this (eventually) and had her 'man' look at the meters.
                  What do I have to prove that anything was sufficiently corrected?

                  And yes, bulbs were dazzlingly bright throughout this period. I actually got a tan if I stayed in the shower room too long.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Horrible though it sounds, this problem should've been addressed whilst you were in residence. Now you are gone, there isn't much you can do. Regarding the bill.... perhaps sue the landlord, but proving this is going to be a long slow battle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Like I already said, persuade you ex-landlord to let you and an electrician rummage around. I wouldn't hold my breath tho'.

                      I'm sorry, but there isn't a lot you can do - now that you have left.

                      Looks like you are going to have to pay that bill.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I take your point thevaliant, but surely the fact that I was in residence when I first raised the issue (and have evidence of this) should count for something?

                        I mean I only recieved my final electricity bill on Monday (over a week after we vacated). Obviously there's no way I could have acted on that whilst still in tenancy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How about you speaking to the resident in the other flat, they might well be having the same sort of problems. In any case, if your old flat went up in flames they would be in danger. If they could get a Sparks around to inspect the system it might solve your problems as well.
                          I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                            Like I already said, persuade you ex-landlord to let you and an electrician rummage around. I wouldn't hold my breath tho'.

                            I'm sorry, but there isn't a lot you can do - now that you have left.

                            Looks like you are going to have to pay that bill.
                            I am more or less resigned to paying the bill I have to admit. Can't describe how angry that makes me though .

                            I mean when does the issue get addressed? When some poor soul goes to turn a heater on and gets 400 volts straight through them?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You can try tentatively bringing your concerns to the attention of both flats' occupants. Tread carefully.

                              In addition contact environmental health.

                              That's all you can do.

                              Comment

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