An energy firm has accused consumer finance expert Martin Lewis of “bringing down Britain” after he urged customers to submit energy meter readings on Thursday to avoid being stung by the rising price cap.
A deleted tweet from E.ON blamed the Money Saving Expert founder for technical issues on the firm’s website after he proclaimed Thursday to be Meter Reading Day ahead of Friday’s 54 per cent energy price cap rise.
E.ON is among a number of energy firms who have experienced technical difficulties with Scottish Power, British Gas, SSE sites all struggling under a surge of traffic, according to Down Detector.
A deleted tweet from E.ON’s E.ON Next Twitter account said outages were down to Lewis.
The tweet, which was replying to a customer query, read: “Unfortunately the website and phone lines of every supplier are being hammered today. Martin has one again created unprecedented demand bringing down Britain.”
Lewis respond by retweeting a screenshot of the tweet alongside the caption: “The cheek of them blaming it on you!”.
E.ON has apologised to the consumer finance guru for the tweet. An E.ON spokesperson said: “This was an ill-considered and off the cuff remark made by one of our Energy Specialists and in no way reflects our position. We have an excellent working relationship with Martin Lewis and his team, and we apologise for any offence caused. We ourselves have spent the past few weeks advising customers to submit accurate meter readings ahead of April 1.
“We are seeing unprecedented volumes of customer traffic to our website and app. While we work to resolve this, we can confirm to our customers that any meter readings they take today can be updated to their account online in the coming days. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. Smart meter customers do not need to do anything as their readings will automatically be shared with us.”
Lewis also posted a video on his Twitter account confirming he would be contacting regulator Ofgem about issues with energy firms’ websites and advising people what to do if their suppliers’ site has crashed.
Lewis said in the video: “Surprise, surprise, plenty of energy firms are struggling to cope with demand despite the fact they had plenty of notice that this was coming and lots of people are in panic.”
He explained that issuing a meter reading on Thursday “draws a line that says every unit of energy I have used at this point should be charged at the cheaper rate”.
Lewis advises that people on price cap tariffs that don’t have smart meters or pre-payment meters should submit a meter reading today. However people on a fixed tariff or based in Northern Ireland do not need to contact the firm to enter a reading.
He also added that people who are on smart meters or pre-payment meters should take a photo of their meter today in case of a future dispute.
SSE confirmed on social media that it was experiencing difficulties. SSE tweeted: “Our website is experiencing high traffic, meaning some customers are unable to log into their account.”
A message on British Gas’ website has told customers there are “some technical issues we’re trying to resolve as quickly as possible”.
A spokesman for Energy UK, the trade association for the industry, said: “We’re aware that some suppliers are experiencing issues with their websites due to the volume of customers submitting meter readings.
“Suppliers do offer alternative ways of doing this such as through automated phone lines and apps so we’d recommend customers try those. Customers with smart meters do not need to worry as their readings are automatically sent to their supplier.”
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