Scotland Times

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Energy websites crash in meter readings rush

Energy websites crash in meter readings rush

Energy websites have been crashing as customers rush to submit meter readings ahead of bills rising on Friday.

A number of major suppliers said they were working to resolve issues with their websites.

Experts have encouraged people to submit readings so their usage is covered by the current cheaper rates.

On Friday, the energy price cap - the maximum price suppliers in England, Wales and Scotland can charge households - is being raised.

It means the energy bill of a typical household will increase by 54%.

Recording a meter reading prevents suppliers estimating usage and potentially charging for energy used before 1 April at the higher rate.

Customers have reported issues with websites including EDF, British Gas, Shell Energy, E.On, SSE, Scottish Power, So Energy and Octopus Energy.

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy, said the company was currently receiving around 40,000 meter readings an hour, whereas a normal day would be a couple of thousand.

However, he urged people not to panic about submitting a reading before 1 April.

"I think with most companies, certainly with Octopus, you can give it any time in the next week and... we'll apply it to the day when you took it," he told the BBC's World at One programme.

Mr Jackson added that he was "pretty sure that'll apply universally".

What should I do if I'm struggling to submit a meter reading?

*  Take a photo of the reading alongside something that shows the time and date

*  Try submitting it online later when websites may be less busy - some websites allow you to say when you took the reading

*  Many suppliers also offer alternative ways of submitting readings, such as automated phone lines and apps

*  Customers with smart meters don't need to worry as readings are automatically sent to their supplier

One British Gas customer, Izmir Smajlaj from Streatham, said he had tried for almost two hours to submit a meter reading online.

"Every time it pops up as an error. The system is probably overloaded with people trying to do the same," he told the BBC.

"I tried a laptop, phone, my partner's phone. Tried to reach the British Gas helpline for half an hour then gave up [because] I'm at work."

Graham Ruddock, a retired civil engineer from Bracknell in Berkshire, said he had been trying to log into his account with E.On Next all morning to enter his meter readings.

He told the BBC he had been unable to access his account, instead getting a message advising him to try again later because of "higher than usual levels of traffic".

Graham said his gas and electricity bill was rising from £80 a month to £200 a month from April, adding that energy price rises would be "the biggest single change in my finances".

In response to one customer who complained they were unable to submit a meter reading online, E.On Next, in a now deleted tweet, blamed consumer expert Martin Lewis for creating "unprecedented demand bringing down Britain". Mr Lewis had urged his social media followers to submit meter readings ahead of 1 April when prices will rise.

E.On later apologised for the tweet, saying it was "an ill-considered and off-the-cuff remark made by one of our energy specialists and in no way reflects our position".

"We can confirm to our customers that any meter readings they take today can be updated to their account online in the coming days," a spokeswoman said.

Citizens Advice said firms should have been better prepared for a surge of customers submitting readings.

The charity's head of energy policy, Gillian Cooper, said the situation was "frustrating" for customers worried about how they will cope with rising bills.

However, energy companies said they were seeing unprecedented traffic to their websites.

A message on the British Gas website said it was facing "some technical issues we're trying to resolve as quickly as possible".

It said customers could still submit readings, but warned it could take "a little time to update your account with the meter reading you provided today".

A Scottish Power spokesman said: "We are aware of an issue some of our customers are facing trying to log their meter readings on our website and are working to have the issue resolved as quickly as possible."

He added that customers could still log meter readings on the company's app, which was still working.

A spokesman for EDF said it was aware of technical issues affecting its website and app when customers tried to submit meter readings.

"We are working hard to try and resolve this and would encourage customers to try again later and apologise for the inconvenience this is causing," he said.

A spokesman for Shell Energy said: "Our website is experiencing disruption as we deal with a surge in the number of customers trying to access their account."


Related Articles

Scotland Times
UK Island Orkney council to look at proposals to become territory of Norway
Woman Awarded Over £100,000 After Being Fired for Transgender Tweet
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
A Real woman
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Democracy? Not for UK. UK PM rejects Scottish independence referendum, cancel democracy in BVI
UK urged to brace for economic storm
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Prince William To Move Family Into Cottage Near Queen Elizabeth II
BOOOOOOS: Tony Blair receives royal honour
Captured Britons sentenced to death in Ukraine
Barbados PM Mia A. Mottley among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
Today's headlines
"Just One Of the Boys In School:" Years That Shaped Prince Charles
BVI Premier Rubbishes Claim Of Causing COI Delay
Comments on "Human Intelligence in a Digital Age" - A brilliant Speech by MI6 Chief Richard Moore, and the elephants neglected in the room
Bitcoin: BoE Deputy Gov wants to cancel democracy and protect the banks with regulations which infringe on people’s freedom, independence and benefits they get from their own money.
What are the Pandora Papers?
Taiwan-China relations at their 'worst in 40 years'
The attempt to hold accountable for the content of its clients' websites is like blaming Gutenberg for the NYT's fake news that dragged the US into the pointless war against the nuclear weapons Iraq never had