Guernsey Electricity bills leave customers angry and confused

GUERNSEY Electricity customers have been left confused and angry at their latest bills – claiming they are too high and have missed vital information.

Guernsey Electricity. (29779973)
Guernsey Electricity. (29779973)

More than 100 customers appealed for clarity on social media with many claiming their direct debits, standing orders and monthly credits had not been included.

GEL phone lines have been jammed with customers seeking clarification.

Some said they had bills even though they pay for electricity by topping up. One customer had a bill for more than £1,000 for a two-bedroom bungalow.

New business owner Sally Neath said her bill last quarter showed she was more than £300 in credit. By the end of June she apparently owed more than £200 and payment was demanded.

‘We are pretty confused. I have emailed them and had a response but it doesn’t really clear up what our balance is. As far as we are concerned we are in credit.

‘We have decided we are not paying the latest bill until we know what’s going on. Guernsey Electricity is quick to take the money when it is owed and slow to pay back any credit. We’ve just started a new business and, if we pay the amount they are saying we owe but it’s wrong, we cannot afford to wait for money owed to us.’

Steven Parks, head of customer experience at Guernsey Electricity, apologised for frustrations and concerns that the transition to a new billing system was causing customers.

‘The migration... to the new system is complex and, while the first statements – based on actual, not estimated, readings – are correct, they do not display all the past transactions to allow customers to completely reconcile between statements.

‘The first statement does look different as it has information from two systems. Sometimes automatic meter readings may not reach us, and an estimated statement will be generated but this is marked clearly.

‘The next statement will return to a format that is more familiar as the new system fully takes over, and future statements will itemise all payments and charges separately which we hope will be understandable for customers.’

Mr Parks said some islanders may have also received a statement that is higher than expected and this was due to a cold winter and spring, a 4.8% tariff rise last September and changes of usage due to lockdown.

He said all customers, including pay-as-you-go, receive a statement and any pay-as-you-go customers with outstanding debt will see the debt gradually reduce using credit top ups. which may be the cause of a debit balance on their statement. This is an arrangement that has to be agreed with the customer.

n Anyone with an estimated statement is encouraged to provide a meter reading online at www.electricity.gg.

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