Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sticking It To The Man …

Utility bill
Are you sick of all the PPI adverts and the injury claims lawyers clammering at you every time you turn the telly on? So am I … but there is one such service that has really taken my eye recently and it looks to be hugely beneficial to pubs.

The opportunity to "stick it" to the big power companies is just too good to miss. It all comes down to their usual incompetence in carrying out certain duties following the deregulation process:
  • Customers being charged for the wrong meter
  • Customers  being charged for the wrong site address
  • Customers meters being charged at the wrong profile rate 
  • Customer bills having the wrong configuration
  • VAT being charged at incorrect rates result to incorrect Climate Change Levy (CCL)
  • Customers in debit due to profile alterations and resultant back dated billing

Publican Sam has teamed up with specialist auditors from Utility Refund who have over 8 years experience in getting significant results and refunds with the following companies:
  • Greene King (East Anglian Pub Project)
  • Scottish & Newcastle (Globe Project)
  • Sprite Group (Clear, VCT and Clover Projects).
  • Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham (Church of England).
  • Kingdom Halls (144 Nationally).
  • Age Concern (Nottingham City Office)

How far can they go back to try and help you?

  • If you have not changed supplier, they may go back up to 8 years
  • If you have changed supplier, they may go back up to 4 years

What do I need to do?

What information will I need for the auditors?

Electricity/Gas – 
  • You'll need to provide a full copy of a recent bill (including the backs if double sided, all sheets if more than one sheet)
  • You'll need to provide a standard Letter Of Authority; this states that it doesn’t affect any current arrangements that you have with any other broker/consultant - and a template for adding to your own headed paper is provided. (If you are an Eon client, you will also need the Eon letter of authority)
Water – 
  • You'll need to provide copies of 12 months bills (including the backs if double sided, all sheets if more than one sheet)
  • You’ll need to complete the checklist.
  • If a water refund is due the auditors will contact you to arrange a site survey

For either type of enquiry you'll need to complete, sign and return the auditors' Terms and Conditions.

How long does it all take?

In some cases the auditors can complete the process in 48 hours, but in most simple cases it is more likely to take 2 months from claim to refund. Complex multi-site cases take much longer, in some instances up to a year.

So what's the catch?

As with most things in life, there's no such thing as a free lunch, so the auditors charge 50% of the refund plus VAT

How Much?!?!

The auditors say you would be unlikely to do this yourself due to the highly technical nature and once the refund is sorted out, the issues leading to that refund will have been completely sorted out and you gain 100% of the savings going forward. Given just how complicated an ordinary energy bill is these days I can quite believe the reason why you need to use auditors … they know what they are doing and they know all the rules, regulations and pitfalls to avoid. They also know how to get any refunds due quickly, easily and with little fuss!

How much can I expect to get refunded?

The auditors reckon an average of £10,000 for a pub energy account, however, refund levels obviously depend on what was wrong with the account, how long the current supplier has been supplying the property, size of property, the energy usage and how long the bill payer has been resident. The auditors also reckon this is a conservative estimate.

So potentially you could be many thousands of pounds better off, in return for submitting some information. As grandma said "nothing ventured, nothing gained" … so what're you waiting for?

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