Kathleen's red tape trap

ENERGY companies like to claim switching supplier is a simple business.

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 9:26 am
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2007, 2:41 pm

But Kathleen Stringer found herself trapped in an alarming web of red tape when she moved from Staywarm to British Gas, and then to Powergen in a short space of time.

Kathleen, of Southey Green Road, Southey Green, Sheffield, paid off the 48 she owed British Gas and settled down to life as a Powergen customer.

But she returned from holiday to find a Powergen bill for 530. Many phone calls later she thought she had sorted it out. Then British Gas sent her a bill for 419; more phone calls and she believed she was in the clear.

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Then Powergen sent her another bill - for 805 - and then another one saying she was 40 in credit!

Kathleen said: “I just don't know where to turn and it’s making me ill. I have phoned Powergen every day this week. Unfortunately I have been told by British Gas they will take approximately six weeks before they can sort out their problem.

“I am a widow as well as a pensioner. I have nothing in writing at this moment telling me I don't owe this money, which I don't.”

ACTION Desk has taken the heat off Kathleen. British Gas said it opened her account on an incorrect reading.

A spokesman added: “We have withdrawn the small outstanding balance therefore there is nothing left to pay. We have also reversed any reminders issued and ensured the customer’s credit rating has not been affected.”

Powergen said the massive bill was caused by an estimated reading. A spokesman added: “We have re-agreed the opening balance with British Gas and Mrs Stinger is now 40 in credit.”