Energy bills row as SSE entered gran’s house to install meter

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SSE, one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers, has come under fire after it sent a representative to a grandmother’s home to replace her electricity meter with a more expensive one while she wasn’t in. The company got into a dispute over an unpaid energy bill, prompting fears that similar actions could be taken against thousands of Britons currently struggling with the skyrocketing costs of gas and electricity. On October 1st, Ofgem raised the price cap on bills on household energy to an unprecedented £2,500 a year, as Europe is gripped by a major fossil fuel energy crisis. While this figure is significantly lower than the £3,549 that was set to take hold prior to Prime Minister Liz Truss’ emergency intervention freezing the bills, millions of families face fuel poverty this winter. 

Tracey Miller, 48, owed SSE £690 for an unpaid bill and believed that she had reached an agreement with the utility company to pay the sum in weekly chunks.

However, while she was staying with a friend, representatives from SSE went inside her house and replaced her meter with a more expensive prepayment one, according to the Daily Record. 

While there was no obvious sign of a break-in, the gran was told by the company that it had a court order to enter her home in East Lothian, Scotland. 

She said: “It has been a terrible experience knowing that someone has been in your house. I feel violated. I do not have a clue how they managed to get in without breaking the lock or damaging the door.”

According to the National Debtline, if you don’t come to an agreement to pay your debt on energy bills, your supplier can apply for a warrant from the magistrates’ court, making it legal for them to enter your home to disconnect your energy supply.

However, they added: “They will usually tell you when the magistrates’ court hearing will take place. You should contact a local advice agency to see if you can get support at the hearing if you want to stop the warrant.”

Ms Miller, who is on a low income and helps look after her grandchildren, noted that the SSE officials who secretly entered her home had switched off her electricity – ruining all the food in her freezer.

On July 27, she received a warning letter from the company about the unpaid bill, adding that it could forcible enter her home. SSE later halted the action, after the woman agreed to have a smart meter installed, and pay back her bills in weekly instalments of £4.80.

However, on August 12, the company visited her home while she was living with a friend after the water tank in her house burst. She returned on September 21.

Ms Miller, who suffers from the lung condition emphysema, contacted SSE. She added: “They told me that the employee I had spoken to in July had no right to cancel the planned entry to my property.

“I was offered £20 as a goodwill gesture which I haven’t received. SSE claimed they had no record of me making arrangements to repay the bill, which I had. I have been treated abysmally and the whole experience has been very stressful.”

Peter Kelly, director of Poverty Alliance, said: “Prepayment meters must only be installed by force using a warrant obtained by a court order as a last resort. If customers have a payment plan, there can be no excuse for installing a prepayment meter.”

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SSE referred all comments to energy firm OVO, which has taken over the electricity supply side of its business but still uses its brand. OVO confirmed a warrant was issued to enter Tracey’s property and change the meter to Pay As You Go.

A spokeswoman said: “As Ms Miller hadn’t made any payments since May 2021 our team tried to reach out multiple times ahead of changing her meters to PAYG. We will continue to try to reach Miss Miller next week to discuss her case and support available.”

Meanwhile, Citizen’s Advice has said that “if you’re struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.

“Your supplier has to help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you. If you don’t try to negotiate with your supplier, they might threaten to disconnect you.” has contacted SSE for comment. 

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