When I moved into this house, one of the first things I did my first activities was renegotiate my fuel charges.
British Gas (for it was they) had based their estimate on the usage of the previous occupants usage – except that there were three of them and one of them stayed at home all day with a child. I was partially successful, but still found myself £90 in credit at the end of the first quarter. It was the same with Southern Electric – they were charging more for a house that was heated by gas than I’d paid when living in an all-electric flat.
Ever since then, I’ve not only switched suppliers, but always made sure that I get any outstanding credit refunded (allowing for seasonal fluctuations) and that my monthly reflect my current usage.
It’s the same with Thames Water. This mornings’s bill was in credit to the tune of about £50, the new charges were just under £90, which were to be paid at a rate of £19 pcm (£114 over 6 months). So I phoned them and asked for a refund and a payment reduction. The alternative would have been to let them just carry on collecting overpayments indefinitely.
Mind you, they have form. The person I spoke to today was helpful – the last time I did this, the “agent” tried to discourage me on the basis that the refund system was cumbersome, involved a lot of work and was generally inconvenient. NOT MY PROBLEM.
Marks and Spencer is the only utility company I’ve come across with systems that automatically triggered a refund beyond a certain level and automatically adjust your payments. It ought to be standard procedure.