Disputed meter reading despite reading with picture in inventory agreed with tenant

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I bought a flat to let early last year, with a void period of two months before the first tenancy. I called the existing energy companies with meter readings at the start and end of the void period (the latter taken by an inventory clerk), partly to ensure that the bills came to my home address, not the rented property. The gas provider dealt with it quickly and efficiently. The electricity provider (Scottish Power),however, would not take my readings but said they would bill me when the readings came in via the new occupier. They finally sent me a bill in June 2016 based on estimated readings which were more or less correct, so I paid it and the account was closed.

A year later, to my surprise I have been getting successive retrospective bills for this account with Scottish Power, mainly telling me the account was in credit for varying amounts, so no action seemed necessary. More recently, however, an "actual" reading allegedly taken at the end of the void period suddenly emerged that is wildly at variance with that in the inventory, which was supported by a picture of the meter on the day the tenant moved in.

On the basis of this erroneous "actual" reading (claiming usage ten times more than was actually consumed during the void period) Scottish Power has put the account in significant debit with a demand for payment. This is despite my having received an unsolicited letter of apology from Scottish Power earlier in the year with a refund cheque, because according to their Code of Practice energy consumed over a year ago should not be charged.

So far, nothing I have repeatedly said or written to Scottish Power, backed up with evidence, has stopped them sending demands for payment based on fantasy. They are now saying that the tenant disputed the meter reading in the inventory. My lettings agent assures me that that the tenant, now departed, did not dispute any part of inventory at the time.

Have other landlords experienced anything like this? Any ideas how to resolve it with Scottish Power? I'm amazed that they are so intransigent, when the facts surely speak for themselves.

08/06/2017 12:22

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