I can't remember when I last updated you about our ongoing battle with Extra Energy, the suppliers of electricity and gas in the penthouse. Let me recap. We started a contract with them in January 2014 and for two years, despite many meter readings mostly by us but some by them and much contact they failed to produce an accurate bill. In fact over the 24 months they produced 2 bills both of which they cancelled within a few days. We were paying a monthly direct debit and did manage to get over £700 back from them last year as we had so much credit though I had to beg and plead for this.
Early last year we contacted the Energy Ombudsman who eventually in August 2016 produced a list of remedies for Extra Energy to complete within 28 days, produce an accurate account, credit any over payment, provide an apology and compensation of £100. When EE failed to comply with any of these recommendations the Ombudsman simply extended the deadline every 28 days. At one stage EE advised the Ombudsman that they had completed the remedies and the Ombudsman taking them at their word closed our case. Since nothing at all had been done we had our case restarted and the 28 day deadlines began again.
At the end of December 2016 we terminated our contract with EE and asked for a first and final account, providing readings which EE said had been rejected 'by the industry' whatever that means. EE then produced their own estimated account and had the cheek to add about £250 work of extra units to the gas bill, a reading which we have still not reached 7 weeks after leaving them. Fortunately Mr FF had had the forethought to photograph the meter readings at the end of the year which were eventually accepted.
I have been at my wits end, I have chased EE regularly for over a year, and the Ombudsman for 6 months, every time speaking to a different person and explaining our case the beginning. In desperation I contacted my local MP, who passed the matter to some PR company that took on board EE's continuing untruths and told me everything was sorted when it certainly was not. That correspondence is still ongoing and I have asked who is paying this useless PR company, hopefully not the tax payer
A couple of weeks ago we received a correct final account, once more EE made promises they did not keep but today we received the £250 or so they owed us. We have badgered them for more compensation because we need to hit them financially to get our point over and they have offered us £400 which they say will be paid in about 14 days. Since they have failed to keep to any other deadline I have no idea if this money will be forthcoming but we do have the offer and our acceptance in writing.
Throughout this debacle I have felt helpless, frustrated and so very angry that a company can operated in such an unregulated way. I did naively imagine that the Ombudsman was some independent body looking to support consumers and provide justice, in fact it is an organisation funded by the energy companies themselves with no clout at all.
I have begged our MP to do something about this situation, I am fortunate that I have time and a lot of determination, imagine what it is like for people who have neither or are unable to manage such a situation. There are many forums on line that detail similarly horrendous complaints, lots of people still waiting for resolution and wondering if it's worth the bother. I recently explained to one EE operator who used that irritating phrase 'I can only apologise' that he could and should do much more than apologise, he could make a difference by feeding back to his manager that the policy of providing wrong information and downright lies to customers is despicable, that there is no job satisfaction in treating clients so badly and that the least he could do was keep his promise to look into things and phone me back, to be fair he did.
A friend once told me that repeating your point of view is like throwing mud at a wall, most of it makes no difference but a little bit sticks and that has an effect. I've thrown plenty at Extra Energy over the last two years but I don't feel I've got very far.