Scratby family’s shock at �10,000 E.on electric bill

A SCRATBY family had a shock when an electricity bill for almost �10,000 landed on their mat.

Denise and Alan Charter had previously paid quarterly bills of between �82 and �279 since moving into their home on the Esplanade three years ago.

Energy supplier E.on has told the couple that the previous bills were too low because the company had not read the meter correctly.

The bill has since been halved because charges cannot be backdated more than a year but the Charters still face a pay demand of almost �5,500.

Denise and Alan share their home with daughters Melissa and Lauretta, their partners David and Martin and Denise’s mum Audrey, 85, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

The couple have asked the Energy Ombudsman to investigate the massive bill, which they say they cannot afford to pay.

“When I got the big bill I felt sick, we have run this up through no fault of our own,” said Denise. “I think it is disgusting. Eon have done nothing to say sorry for something that is their fault.

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“We are a big family so would have been using a lot of electricity, but how would we know if the meter was not being read properly.

“I have never been in debt in my life; my attitude is if I cannot afford something I don’t have it.

“Mum has to sit with a hot water bottle, because we are frightened of having the heating on. The company told me that some meter readers cannot take accurate recordings – then why are they in the job?”

She added: “My dad Dennis passed away in February so this is adding to what has been a very stressful time.

“I want to warn people that an electricity company can do something like this. A vulnerable or elderly person could be in the same position as us.”

An engineer was sent out to inspect the meter last May after E.on informed Denise and Alan that incorrect readings has been taken.

However, they continued to receive standard charges until the bill for �9,994.82 arrived in January.

E.on has told Denise that the bill can be paid in instalments over 36 months. The family’s current electricity consumption would result in an annual charge of �7,700 but this could be cut to under �4,000 by switching to another tariff.

Before moving to Scratby, Denise and Alan ran a coach company in Hertfordshire.

Denise has been caring for her mum and Alan works as a driver for Great Yarmouth-based disability charity Centre 81.

The Mercury contacted E.on but no one from the company was available to comment at the time of going to press.