Monday, December 3, 2012
A SIDMOUTH pensioner got a shock when he returned home from holiday to be told he’d racked up a £10,000 electricity and gas bill - despite being at the other side of the world. Perplexed granddad Baz Breadmore, 73, said he’d been left in the dark over the mammoth two-month tally – 100 times what he would expect to pay normally.
The whopping notification came weeks after utility firm npower wrote to him to explain why its prices were set to rise.
“I didn’t expect them to go up that much!” said Baz, who lives on his own in Water Lane. “My jaw hit the ground when I opened the letter.”
Baz was £34 in credit in September before he jetted off on a dream get-a-way to Hong Kong and New Zealand for four weeks.
He pays his bill every month by standing order and had never experienced any problems.
“It was quite a shock - especially considering I’d been away for half of that time,” said Baz. “There would have been no electric and very little gas. I’m pretty frugal and live by myself.”
Baz, a well-known charity fundraiser, said: “I’m not too worried, but it would frighten some people to death.”
A letter from the firm, titled ‘Your Bill’, told Baz of the £9,935 due: “It may be larger than expected, but we’d like to reassure you that we’ve checked your account carefully and the balance is correct using the latest information and meter reading we have.”
It even suggests he may find it ‘difficult’ to pay the amount in one go.
After a call from the Herald on Wednesday, an npower spokesman said an adviser had looked at Baz’s account and spoken to him.
He stressed the company had not billed Baz for £9,935 - but received an incorrect meter reading, tried to contact the pensioner to discuss this with him, and had been unable to do so.
“We’re currently calculating his account and have promised to ring him (today) with another update,” added the spokesman.