Grayson Perry, an artist who has won the Turner Prize, has expressed his disapproval of EDF, stating that the energy company attempted to increase his monthly electricity cost from £300 to almost £39,000.
In his post on X, Sir Grayson mentioned that the corporation had attempted to deduct the inflated sum from his account in the form of a direct debit transfer.
The reactions of other customers, including the journalist Jon Sopel, were identical to the ones described above.
It was reported by EDF that “unusual” modifications to direct debit could take place in the event that inaccurate meter readings were logged on its system.
Sir Grayson Perry anger over £39,000 EDF energy bill error https://t.co/UWjvHDNPty
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 18, 2023
After making his maiden post on X, which was formerly known as Twitter, Sir Grayson stated that he had “out of the blue” received approximately 15 bills that totaled £39,000. He made this statement when speaking on the Today show on BBC Radio 4.
The artist, who was born in Essex and is famous for his tapestries and ceramics, stated that he was informed that the money would be deducted from his account on the same day for all of those payments using direct debit processing.
“All I could think was that it was so strange. I spent at least three hours trying to get some sense out of a call center on Friday, but it was incredibly irritating because you are talking to a computer. I spent that time attempting to get some sense out of the call center.
“They just would sort of say, ‘well it says £39,000 – that’s how much we’re going to take.'”
He described the situation as a “interesting fable of the technological age,” referring to the fact that a smart meter was installed at his country studio several years ago, despite the fact that he had warned that there was no phone coverage at the site.
“The final chapter of the technological saga is I use Twitter to get a response out of them.”
Furthermore, the artist mentioned that he brought up the matter because he observed that other people on the internet were having the same problem. “What is it like if you’re some vulnerable person and this happens to you?” asked the man.
During the interview, which Sir Grayson conducted remotely from his bed, he stated, “I’ve got the central heating turned down right now.”
In response, Sopel, a former journalist for the BBC who now hosts a podcast called The News Agents, shared his own personal tale of how he was informed that his monthly fee would be increasing from £152 to £18,000.
This is “ridiculous,” he wrote. “We’ve now sorted.”
However, he expressed his doubts about the circumstances surrounding the incident, a viewpoint that was shared by a number of other customers, either present or past, on social media.
Ofgem, the regulatory body that oversees the energy industry, has criticized the manner in which energy providers establish direct debits. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) stated that the watchdog had awarded it a pretty clean sheet of health regarding the manner in which it administers its direct debit computations.
According to a spokesperson, other consumers “do not need to worry” about the situation.
“These are not related to a wider issue with our billing system and we’ve not made any changes to how we process direct debit changes for customers,” said the spokesperson.
“Unusual changes to direct debit amounts can sometimes occur when there is an erroneous meter reading recorded on the system.”
According to him, the EDF has “robust interventions” in place to guarantee that any significant increases in direct debits were checked by a human being when they occurred.
“In almost all such cases, system errors are rectified and prevented, without customers being impacted,” stated the researcher.
Inaccuracies on customers’ energy bills do not typically have a negative impact on their financial situation; rather, they can be both time-consuming and uncomfortable. Anyone who is dissatisfied with an answer has the ability to file a complaint with an ombudsman.
As a result of the skyrocketing costs, particularly in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concerns regarding direct debits have been more prevalent.
The payment of genuine, accurately calculated expenses has been a challenge for millions of people, and charities have reported that many of these individuals have been forced to borrow money in order to pay their critical payments.
On Friday, Ofgem announced that consumers who were unable to pay or refused to pay owed a total of £2.9 billion to their suppliers. In order to provide providers with the finances necessary to create payment plans or wipe off some of this debt, it is proposing that the energy price cap be raised by sixteen pounds for a household that uses an average amount of energy between April of the following year and March of the following year.