A couple have been sent an astonishing gas bill of almost £11,000 after being told they owe 18 years worth of energy.
Lee Haynes, 44, and partner Jo Woodley, 45, said they did ‘everything’ to try and pay after they moved into their home in Tamworth, Staffordshire in 2005.
The pair said they immediately tried to sort out the maintenance bills when they moved in – but hit a block when it came to the gas. Now, almost two decades on, the pair are facing a bill of £10,824.87.
Mr Haynes, a school site worker, said: ‘It’s unbelievable – my worst fears about this have now come true.’
Letters from the National Grid and their housing association, both dated in 2006, confirm struggles to establish the source of the gas.
The couple said they are still none the wiser as to who supplied the gas over the 18-year period – but they have since signed up with a major energy firm.
Lee Haynes, 44, and partner Jo Woodley, 45, have been sent an astonishing gas bill of almost £11,000, after being told they owe 18 years worth of energy
The pair claim they contacted the ombudsman who said they should wait to hear.
Mr Haynes said: ‘It was very strange. After a few months we had bills for everything but not gas.
‘I was worried about suddenly getting a big bill – so I tried really hard to find out who was supplying our gas.
‘The guy from the housing association tried all the suppliers they work with and said he didn’t know what to do.
‘When the ombudsman said just to keep the paperwork and leave it, that’s exactly what we did.’
The pair then got a letter from gas distributors Cadent in March 2023, which requested a visit so they could look at the supply to the property.
Three months later, they received a follow-up letter from Cadent which said the couple owed nearly £11,000 for gas usage between 2005 and 2023.
They were served with the official invoice last month – which states they have 30 days to pay.
Lee Haynes, pictured with his partner Jo Woodley and their cat, Ernie at their home in Tamworth
Mr Haynes said: ‘I just don’t understand. The 1986 Gas Act says they can recover costs if I’m at fault but I’m not.
‘Who would write in their calendar every year to try and find out who’s providing gas to their home?
‘We just got on with living there – like we were told to.
‘I did everything I could. I didn’t want to just let the problem go.
‘After two years of trying really hard to find our supplier and trying to pay British Gas, we were told there was nothing we could do.
The couple said they are still none the wiser as to who supplied the gas over the 18-year period – but they have since signed up with a major energy firm
‘It would be fair enough to bill us if I hadn’t tried, but they can’t really expect me to keep trying for 18 years.
‘There has to be shared responsibility for this.’
A spokesperson from Cadent said: ‘Whilst Cadent are not a gas supplier, as part of our gas transportation licence we have an obligation to investigate and use our reasonable endeavours to recover the cost of any gas used outside of a supplier contract.
‘Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we must stress we have a specialist team who are on hand to offer help and support to customers who are required to make a repayment.’