Pensioner's gas bill blitz wins apology

PUBLISHED: 06:09 30 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:03 24 May 2010

Gerald Stratford with some of his gas bills.

Gerald Stratford with some of his gas bills.

A FRAIL pensioner has been bombarded with gas bills for the past 16 years - even though he only uses electricity in his home. Gerald Stratford, of Windermere Avenue, Weston, has been battling with British Gas since 1990. The firm says he owes money for fu

A FRAIL pensioner has been bombarded with gas bills for the past 16 years - even though he only uses electricity in his home.Gerald Stratford, of Windermere Avenue, Weston, has been battling with British Gas since 1990. The firm says he owes money for fuel he has never used.The 85-year-old former sales analyst says the giant energy company has told him it sends a bill every quarter because there is a redundant gas meter attached to his home. The latest demand was for £162.Gerald and his 83-year-old wife Murdae say they told British Gas dozens of times the bills are nothing but hot air, but they keep on coming.Mr Stratford said: "It is absolutely ridiculous. There is no gas in the house at all but they keep sending us bills."When I ring up, the staff always blame the computers but computers only put out what people tell them to."A British Gas spokesman said: "If a meter reader is unable to access a customer's property or we don't receive a meter reading from the customer, an estimated bill will always be issued based on average consumption for a property that size. "We apologise to Mr Stratford for this situation and he will not be charged for any usage."Ownership of the property has recently been transferred to a housing association, North Somerset Housing, which has agreed to arrange for the meter to be removed.A housing spokesman said: "This is not something we would normally do in case a future tenant wants to reconnect to the gas supply. But we felt these circumstances were exceptional and want to ensure Mr and Mrs Stratford's peace of mind.

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