Energy companies have been in this slot before. That’s because they keep on miss-selling their stuff to customers. Hitendra Patel, who runs a Costcutter in East London’s Harold Hill, signed a contract in January with SSC. Obviously, he switched suppliers on the understanding that his bills would go down. They did at first.

He gets a monthly bill and in the first three months SSC read the meter. The first bill was £400, the second £600. By August it was £800 and September £2,041. How’s that for escalation?

He rang SSC for an explanation and they asked if he could read the meter. He could not – it’s too complicated and he’s a shopkeeper, not a meter reader. He rang his broker and she talked him through it, concluding that the bill should have been a lot less. She sent the reading to SSC and got a replacement invoice for £1,029. Hitendra has a ‘smart’ meter but, because it is in a basement, there’s no signal so SSC can’t take readings remotely. He told the broker when he signed up that he wanted regular readings… but admits he didn’t get it in writing.

SSC has now agreed to regular meter readings and Hitendra is going to make a study of it so that he can make comparisons.

There is one suggestion I can make to others in dispute with their supplier: raise a standing order for a regular amount – a sum you can afford – and cancel the direct debit the same day. They won’t be able to cut you off and you will have got their attention.