Meter errors sorted at last

PUBLISHED: 10:27 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 May 2010

A delighted Janet Coulson will now be able to finally throw away her electricity bills and look forward to a brighter future.  Photo: HELEN DRAKE

A delighted Janet Coulson will now be able to finally throw away her electricity bills and look forward to a brighter future. Photo: HELEN DRAKE

DISABLED widow Janet Coulson has saved hundreds of pounds on her electricity bill - thanks to the Ely Standard. Mrs Coulson turned to the Ely Standard for help after a two-year battle with British Gas over the electricity supplied to her one-bedroom flat

DISABLED widow Janet Coulson has saved hundreds of pounds on her electricity bill - thanks to the Ely Standard.

Mrs Coulson turned to the Ely Standard for help after a two-year battle with British Gas over the electricity supplied to her one-bedroom flat in Ely's Windmill Close.

The company had been billing her for power used in a three-bedroom bungalow with the same number in Soham's Windmill Close.

Mrs Coulson, 58, had become so distraught over the error, she was afraid to open her post in case she got a letter threatening to cut off her supply.

But after the Ely Standard took up her case and featured her story exclusively on its front page in July, the mistake was finally rectified.

And a delighted Mrs Coulson received a new year gift from British Gas - the news that it was going to write-off her outstanding debt for the last 12 months.

"This is the best new year present I have ever had," she said, "I can't thank the Ely Standard enough.

"No-one seemed to be able to get this sorted out until you took up my case. It was making my life miserable. Now I can look forward to a new start without this debt hanging over my head."

The error happened despite British Gas having the correct address for Mrs Coulson for her gas supply.

She set up direct debit payments for both bills. But the company had failed to take money for the electricity, instead sending her a demand for around £300 each quarter.

After Mrs Coulson sent a photograph of the electricity meter to the company it discovered the wrong meter serial number was logged against her address.

No sooner had the error been corrected, however, than a member of staff altered the information again - reinstating the original error.

The Ely Standard stepped in and an engineer was sent to Mrs Coulson's home to make a note of the meter serial number again. But the number was written down wrongly and the bills kept coming.

Finally, after numerous phone calls to British Gas and another visit from an engineer, the company has replaced Mrs Coulson's meter.

But as it had incorrect readings it has waived all charges from November 2006 to December 2007.

A British Gas spokesperson said: "We apologise for the inconvenience experienced by Mrs Coulson. Mrs Coulson will not be billed for energy consumed.

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