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Our electric shock... the bill is £61,000
9:30am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in Echo News
BAILIFFS moved in to cut off a family’s electricity after they racked upawhopping £61,000 bill.
The men arrived at Terry and Tracey Rust’s home at Smilers Farm, in North Benfleet, on Friday, to cut off the electricity as the staggering bill has still to be settled.
Electricity supplier npower said the bill had accumulated over four years, but the Rusts claim they were only toldabout it last year.
The family claim they had been making monthly payments by direct debit and received letters saying they were in credit.
Tracey, 38, fears she and husband Terry, 61, won’t have the money to provide for their children Sophia, 12, Natalie, 14, and Terry-Joe, 16.
Tracey said: “I seriously don’t know how I will feed my children. I can’t do washing and we can’t have a bath. You just wouldn’t think this sort of thing would happen in England.
“We are farmers and spend all our time outdoors and we teach our children to be careful with electricity.
“I am sick of crying and want to get back to normal, but there is no possible way in this world we can raise £61,000.
“We are happy-go-lucky people, but it has made us miserable and the children suffer because of the bad atmosphere.”
A warrant to enter the Rusts’ home was granted at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, August 6. Despite already paying £25,000 and offering to pay £5,000 a month, npower won’t reconnect the family until the debt is paid.
Tracey added: “We are not saying we haven’t used any electricity, but there is no explanation.
We were getting letters saying we were in credit. If you are decent and hard working in this world you get picked on.
“We trusted the system anddid everything correct. I want people to know about what npower has done."
ELECTRICITY firm npower said Mr Rust hadn’t paid anything towards his electricity between July 2009 and October 2012.
The energy giant admitted it had conflicting information about which meter was on its records, adding that the details it had were for a warehouse which Mr Rust rents to the public.
Mr Rust said he took on the second meter under his name when a tenant moved out of the warehouse, and this seems to have led to npower’s mistakes.
A spokesman for npower said: “When it was discovered that it was not a pre-payment meter, we updated our records to showacredit meter and amended his account in line with this, which created the large bill.
“This meter is running Mr Rust's house, stables, two caravans/mobile homes and an office.
“There has also been some difficulty in confirming the commercial/domestic use on the property, as we've received two conflicting VAT declarations from Mr Rust.
“The payment arrangement was only made at the time the warrant was issued, butafull payment is required to re-connect the supply.
“The annexe is still being supplied with power.
“We have provided the customer with a full statement of his account on many occasions and sent copies of bills when requested by him and the account has been billed correctly.
“The Ombudsman has also ruled in our favour and agrees we have done everything we can.”
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