SSE overcharges 16,000 customers for energy
SSE is the energy company we all love to hate. Or one of them. In the same week that another independent provider breaches the £1,000 floor (First Utility), SSE admits that its faulty equipment has overcharged around 16,000 customers for their energy use.
Faulty electricity meters have caused the problem, with incorrectly calibrated meter clocks failing to correctly identify ‘Economy 10’ energy usage. This means that cost-conscious consumers who had tried to schedule their energy usage for the off-peak times were still being charged at the peak rate, which is currently 74% higher. The off-peak rate is 9.45p/KWh and the peak rate is 16.4p/KWh.
SSE said a "manufacturing fault" with one batch of electricity meters meant they were incorrectly switching back an hour after a power cut in winter. It also admitted a separate issue where meters had been "installed with the off-peak times set incorrectly for the customer’s supply distribution area". Which suggests human, rather than mechanical error. The problems are estimated to have affected around 8,000 customers each.
SSE will now write to all customers who may have been affected to inspect their meters, but said it said it was impossible to tell exactly how much money customers had been overcharged. By way of redress, SSE has said it will attempt to approximate the loss and compensate customers by recalculating bills as though 70% of usage had been at off-peak times, rather than the average 50%.
"This recalculation method should work out favourably for the vast majority of customers who are affected by the fault," said SSE, sticking two fingers up at the minority of customers who are still losing money owing to errors by the multi-million pound company.
EDF, British Gas and npower said they were “not aware” of any issues with their own meters