Hail Weston man billed for gas he never had

A RETIRED farmer has been left exasperated by a five-year dispute with British Gas as the utility company keeps billing for using gas and threatening court action - despite living in a village which has no mains connection.

Gordon Buchanan has even had British Gas engineers turn up at his property in Hail Weston to read the meter.

The 68-year-old told The Hunts Post he had been receiving gas bills from British Gas since 2006, regardless of there being no gas supply in the village.

Despite letters and phone calls to the energy giant explaining the situation, Mr Buchanan received a final notice from British Gas on March 10.

This time the letters threatened him with a warrant of entry, charges of �116 and court action unless he paid the company �1,812.

“I’ve been getting bills for various amounts since January 2006,” he said. “Since then I’ve made numerous phone calls to British Gas explaining that not only do I not have a gas meter in my property and that there is no supply to the village.

“After each phone call I’ve been told that it’ll be sorted out and I won’t receive any more bills, but they keep on coming.”

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The last straw was when Mr Buchanan received the final notice demand and with it the prospect of his credit rating being downgraded.

“It’s all become very silly,” he added, “We’ve had a British Gas engineer actually come to the house to read the non-existent meter. He told us when he arrived that he was surprised to be asked to read a meter in Hail Weston because he knew there was no gas supply to the village.”

But even after that visit the British Gas demands continued.

“We then had a debt collecting agency contact us,” Mr Buchanan said. “They wanted to discuss the outstanding amount we apparently owed British Gas.

“Again, we rang the number on the letter and told them there was no gas supply to either the village or this house, and we were assured the matter would be resolved.”

On Monday, after a few phone calls from The Hunts Post, there seemed to finally breakthrough.

Leonie Edwards of British Gas apologised for “any inconvenience caused to Mr Buchanan” and said the error - caused by a change in the company’s billing system, would be rectified.

“When Mr Buchanan was first supplied by British Gas, this was for a brand new property and all bills were sent to a forwarding address. When we changed our billing system the forwarding address became the supply address in error.

“We have spoken to Mr Buchanan today to rectify this error and we will apply the correct meter number to this account.”