A HUNTINGDON woman who lives in a one-bedroom bungalow was sent an electricity bill for more than £5,000 – 100 times her usual payment. Although Berryl Collins, of Wellsfield Road, realised it must have been a mistake, she was so concerned British Gas wou
A HUNTINGDON woman who lives in a one-bedroom bungalow was sent an electricity bill for more than £5,000 - 100 times her usual payment.
Although Berryl Collins, of Wellsfield Road, realised it must have been a mistake, she was so concerned British Gas would make her pay the bill, she contacted her son to ask if she could borrow the money.
The 73-year-old told The Hunts Post the bill which arrived through her letterbox was a final reminder from British Gas to pay £5,148.89.
"I just couldn't believe it. I was completely shocked when I opened the letter and saw the amount," she said.
"I knew immediately that they had made a mistake as my bill is usually always around the £50 mark and never more than £100."
Berryl, who is recovering from a breast cancer operation, said: "I was really worried as I don't have that sort of money but when I spoke to my son he said 'Whatever you do, mum, don't pay it'."
She has since received an apology from British Gas after The Hunts Post intervened - but only after the firm had got her bill wrong again.
When she contacted British Gas she was told the company had made a mistake and she should ignore the bill for £5,148.89 and her correct bill would be sent out in a few days.
A couple of days later, a bill for £61.60 arrived.
"I was relieved to see a smaller bill but I've since found out that that bill was also wrong as another bill arrived saying I owed £45.42 but I had already paid the previous bill so now I'm in credit to British Gas for £16.18."
Berryl, a retired catering assistant at Huntingdonshire Regional College, said: "What made me most angry was that I have never received a final warning letter before as I always pay all my bills promptly.
"I now dread opening letters from British Gas. Even though I knew they had made a mistake, I wasn't sure if they could take me to court to get the money."
Berryl said the first time she rang British Gas to notify them of the mistake she was told bills had generally gone up but the member of staff could not understand why the bill was so high.
She was also told her meter reading must have been written down incorrectly.
In a statement, the company told The Hunts Post: "British Gas apologises to Mrs Collins for any distress caused by the high bill which was sent.
"This happened after her old meter was exchanged for a new one. Because we did not update our meter reading records it caused an inaccurate bill to be generated.
"We have now corrected the meter readings and cancelled the bill with immediate effect."
Berryl said: "I'm glad I have finally got an apology as I think I deserved one.