Thirteen-and-a-half grand may be just a blip on the balance sheet for energy firm EDF, but it was one helluva back bill for Jas Dhesi when he switched to EON.
He had had numerous meter readings over the years at his business, Dhesi Store in Tamworth, so he was shocked to get a whacking great backdated bill from EDF following three years of incorrect readings.
“One person could be wrong,” he allows, “two people could be wrong. But ALL of them?”
When Jas first rang me, in July, he said he had told EDF he would see them in court. He reminded me that he had been in court previously with RTA (those rather notorious business transfer agents) for a similar demand, and had won. “Thirteen is my lucky number,” he said.
I suggested he speak to the regulator Ofgem. When I caught up with him recently he said that Ofgem had confirmed the company’s entitlement to backdate bills up to six years. (This is something the government is looking at, but hasn’t made any positive moves on yet. There have been many calls from various trade associations, most recently from the Forum of Private Business, for a code of conduct, for a cap on back billing and for more transparent contracts to prevent ‘rollovers’.)
But there was hope for Jas. His accountant put him in touch with Business Energy Direct, an independent energy consultant in the North-east that has agreed to negotiate with EDF on Jas’ behalf. Its clients range from major blue chips to individual businesses. It works on a no-win, no-fee basis and takes 20% of whatever reduction it achieves.
Managing director Simon Askew told me that the Subway chain was its biggest client. “In the past four years we’ve pulled back £1.1m for them from energy companies.”