Faulty Electric Meter

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    Faulty Electric Meter

    I have a letting agent who takes meter readings etc between new tenancies. He contacts the supplier himself to update billing.There was a 3/4 week vacant period in summer 2017 so I was liable for energy usage for which I received a bill. I noticed the electric readings on the bill were exactly the same as when the last tenants moved in, in summer 2016. Letting agent had a look at the meter - power going through (horizontal wheel turning) but the numbers aren't. We think the meter's been there since 1967.
    I've done some research - (1) am I correct in that the new tenants (moved in late summer 2017) contact the supplier, who then test the meter? (2) If they confirm that it is faulty, the supplier then contacts the electricity board. If they confirm it is faulty, is it correct that there should be no charge for the initial test and subsequent new meter? (3) I don't want a pre-payment meter, can they install that without my permission?
    Energy bills are always paid by tenants, other than vacant periods. Any advice would be appreciated.

    #2
    Electricity boards were abolished when the pseudo-market for electricity was introduced.

    There are typically four organisations involved in the supply of electricity:

    1) the generating company;
    2) the local network operator (e.g. UK Power Networks);
    3) the meter reading company;
    4) the retailer (e.g British Gas).

    I'm not sure which or the last three are responsible for the meter, and how they would interact in your case.

    I would have expected them to have already scheduled an inspection and a new meter when two successive readings fell short of expectations.

    I would not expect a meter to have been there since 1967, as they are routinely replaced more frequently than that. Are you sure it is not a secondary meter installed by a superior landlord?

    Unless there is a contra-indication, you will get a smart meter and smart meters are software configurable to run in either credit or pre-pay mode. It will be up to company number (4) as to in which mode it should be configured for each account holder. Unless you arranged to pay the bills yourself, I can't see you would have any choice about the installation of a pre-pay mode meter.

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      #3
      It may be that a "bad person" has disabled the meter workings but, when they left, forgot to make it work properly again. (I'm told - but obviously don't know - that it's quite easy to do)> I would ask your agent to inform electric company/police of possible fraud & "abstraction of electricity" - see s13 of Theft Act 1968.
      https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/section/13

      (You can't "steal" something as insubstantial as electricity)

      One way or another you're getting a new meter: Sadly probably one of those "smart meters" !
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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        #4
        it's likely that you have a "stopped meter". Ironically, I found your post just as I was about to post my own topic about stopped meters at our place. This came to light when readings on the last inventory and readings on this one turned out to be identical. Two sets of tenants did not raise this issue with nPower. We're now awaiting the next set of tenants and once they're in, an engineer will come out to investigate but there's no sign of tampering at all.

        They'll likely replace the meter/s (we have four) and possibly do estimates for the backdated use. Tenants might get a shock at being chased for bills that might be a year old. We shall see.

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