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Shell’s Latest Magic Trick: Turning a Modest Energy Bill into a Financial Nightmare!

Posted by John Donovan: 7 Dec 2023

In a stunning display of numerical acrobatics, Shell Energy recently decided to play fast and loose with the concept of estimated meter readings, leaving one customer absolutely floored. Debbie Abbott, a 53-year-old who practically tiptoes around her gas usage, got the shock of her life when Shell handed her an energy bill almost 8,000% higher than her usual. Talk about inflation!

Debbie, who only cranks up her heating when her home turns into an igloo (14 degrees Celsius, to be precise), was used to seeing bills like £10.66 and £15.12. So, you can imagine her disbelief when Shell casually slid her a final gas bill of £1,197 as she switched to Octopus Energy. That’s not a bill; that’s a ransom note!

This financial fiasco, a 7,818% jump from her previous bill, turned what should have been a £650 credit into a nearly £550 debt. The culprit? A wild estimated meter reading of 10,061, completely ignoring Debbie’s actual reading of 8,596. Shell’s response? “Oh, that number looks fine, let’s go with it.”

Debbie, not one to be trifled with, stopped her direct debits to Shell and provided photographic evidence of her actual meter reading. She pointed out that if she were elderly or vulnerable, this kind of error could’ve spelled disaster.

When she raised the issue with Shell, the response was slower than a snail on a leisurely Sunday stroll. It took contacting ‘This is Money’ to get the wheels turning. Shell initially played the blame game, pointing fingers at Octopus Energy, but eventually, they caved and agreed to refund Debbie’s £650 credit. Octopus, having recently acquired Shell Energy, also chipped in £50 as a goodwill gesture.

A Shell Energy spokesperson, probably sweating under the collar, said, “When a customer switches supplier, the closing and opening reads are checked against an industry-held estimate. In Ms Abbott’s case this industry estimate was quite wrong but was incorrectly used during the switch.” Oops!

So, Debbie’s ordeal ends with Shell admitting to the blunder and promising a refund. It’s a classic Shell story: a mix of overestimation, undercommunication, and a dash of “Sorry, our bad.” Let’s hope this is the last time someone nearly falls through the floor over an energy bill.

Disclaimer: We aim to hit the nail on the head with our portrayal of Shell’s shenanigans. If we’ve gotten something wrong, do let us know. In the world of energy giants vs. the little guy, getting the facts straight is more than just important – it’s crucial.

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