British Gas apologises to family for ‘shocking’ £8,000 electricity bill after smart meter error

Man confused at British Gas bills

Rebekah Watson and her family were shocked after receiving an energy bill for £8,000

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 24/04/2024

- 18:28

Updated: 25/04/2024

- 10:07

The family-of-three were shocked to see their quarterly bill had shot up

A family of three were surprised when their bill for quarter one was seven times more than their average annual bill.

Watson believed the error was caused due to her smart meter not matching the one that was registered with British Gas.

Since the beginning of the year, the mum-of-two has been chasing British Gas for answers.

The energy provider has now apologised for their mistake and offered the family compensation.

The firm said the bill was "incorrect and has been cancelled".

Usually, her quarterly bill is around £200 to £300 so she insisted that the bill as “obviously wrong”.

British Gas store

The energy provider has now apologised for their mistake and offered the family compensation


Watson told BBC: "Our bills have always been low so this one was a bit of a shock. Previously they'd always been manageable, fair and reasonable.

"It was Christmas time and it was just like, look at this bill, how have we spent that much electricity? I laughed and thought well, it's obviously wrong, isn't it?"

After having smart meters fitted in July 2021, the family said they had experienced problems because the serial numbers did not match the ones registered with British Gas.

Watson continued: "It's like our meter is going backwards. We've even had someone from British Gas come round and change the system.

"We submitted readings manually, but the bill was still high, we logged our use for seven days and even sent them pictures.

"You do wonder at which point do you end up in a court situation? We mounted up debt and it stressed us out".

According to government figures, there were almost 35 million smart meters in homes and businesses across Britain at the end of 2023.

Last month, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero estimated that almost four million smart meters are not working properly, due to not entering ‘smart mode’.

Smart mode allows a meter to automatically send meter readings to their energy company.

Energy UK, the trade association for the energy industry, says suppliers must replace faulty meters.

Watson said the situation also had an impact on her nine-year-old son and her 12-year-old daughter who had been "worried".

She said: "We work really hard so that our children can have a good quality of life.

"I don't want them to worry about money. There's a cost of living crisis, they know about food banks and I don't want them to think that we're in that position."

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