herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Customer pays high price in ESB rip-off

An ESB customer was hit with an additional 'low usage standing charge' after an estimated reading on her bill.

The consumer said that her December bill was greatly overestimated -- but the balance on her next bill was so low that she incurred the extra fee.

ESB, now known as Electric Ireland, has introduced the controversial new charge for those who use an average of two units or less per day.

Those who have not used enough electricity will be charged an additional 15.5c per day which can add up to an extra €56.70 a year.

The company defended the charge saying it would mainly affect holiday homes -- but a customer has now told how she was stung through no fault of her own.







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The bill, which was issued in December, came to €226 -- as meter-readers estimated that 727 units were used.

However, the following bill in February said that the unit usage came to just 33. And Electric Ireland automatically slapped on a 'low usage charge'.

"After I read the article in the Herald, I checked my bill today, which had been read by a meter reader," she said.

"There was the standing charge and the 'low usage charge' which for 21 days stood at €8.95."

She was furious. "They are forcing people into low usage. They are hitting the ordinary consumer."

Electric Ireland said: "Where a customer receives a bill based on an estimated meter reading that will be clearly stated on the bill, the customer can provide us with an actual reading and we will adjust the bill accordingly," he said.

"If the Low User Standing Charge has been applied incorrectly we will adjust the bill."

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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