Utility Bills and no POA

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I'm trying to lower the payments for utility bills on my nans house, she has been in a nursing home since May and prior to this a good 12 weeks in hospital.
She is currently paying £50 a month to British gas and £17 to Npower for an empty house...
My problem is that I don't have POA for her finances (I am her appointed person by the Social worker and the nursing home?) so they energy companies won't speak to me.
I have explained that my nan is nearly 100 years old, blind, deaf and very confused.. but still they won't budge.
The house is nearly ready to be sold so how am I supposed to get these bills stopped if they won't speak to me?
Things becoming a little desperate and any advice would be really appreciated.
Tracey, I feel your frustration!!!!

I had a slightly similar situation with my MIL as she developed dementia, and had to move out of her flat. Like your nan she'd earlier set up direct debits to utility companies (in her case luckily only one, electricity)(water came with the council rates!) (and no gas) (Can't remember about the phone, it's a year or two ago).

Anyway, like you I didn't have PoA (She wasn't capable by then of granting it to me, because of her dementia), but I did, luckily have access to an account of hers (she'd been just OK to set up a joint account with me, a new one, into which the proceeds of her eventual flat sale was paid, and I'm now using that money to pay her fees in the dementia care home).

However, with the electricity payments going out every month this is what I did. (No idea if it's legal, but it seemed to work, and it was her money I was protecting in the end, so that is my justification).

(1) I went on to Google and simply set up a new Googlemail email address (I have several for myself, as I keep separate ones for separate things - eg, the one I use for this forum is my 'forum-version-email' so I only get messages in relation to my forums activity, not in my 'real life' so to speak).

Setting up a Google email is really easy, you just follow the steps. (Tip - I never put in strictly accurate data - none of their damn business when my birthday is, so long as I am over 18!!!) (etc). (I don't put my postcode in either - but see below).

Instead of YOUR name, put in your Nan's (Yes, she's 100 etc, but Google doesn't know that and again, it's none of their business!).

Once it's active (and it will be, immediately, they provide the click through links)

(2) Then go to the utility companies' websites, and use their 'contact us by email' facility (I hope they have one, my MIL's electricity company did')

(3) Then you write to them as if you were indeed your nan. Again, the utility companies probably have no idea of her circumstances and it's not their business either - they just want the money, that's all they are interested in. You tell them that you are no longer living in the property, that it is for sale, and you want to close the accounts. You want the final bill to be sent to the following address (YOURS now). (I'm pretty sure that's what I did for MIL)

(4) If she's been paying £50 a month for an empty property for a while, with no use of the electricity etc, then she SHOULD be due a refund!

(5) If you can, and this is important if it's possible (and if the flat is being sold it has to be done anyway) go and read ALL the meters, and then phone them in (and send by email too if you want).

At some point a 'final reconciliation' of money she's paid in, vs electricity etc she's actually used, has to be done by the utility companies and it should be repaid into the account that was paying the bills.

As I say, I have no idea whether this is strictly legal, but since all it acehived for my MIL was that she got her money back and stopped paying out unnecessarily, it seems to me entirely moral if nothing else!

It's impossible for YOU to get the repayment, as it has to go back to the bank it was paid out of, so you are not taking anything from her.

Good luck with it. It's a pain in the neck when this happens, as the utility companies refuse to speak to anyone who is not the account holder. I guess there's a sensible reason for that (in case, say, you had a malign intent!), but it makes it so irritating in circumstances like this.

Let's see if others here have better ideas - they may well do.

Good luck with it all.
Hi Tracey

I can see that Jenny' suggestion has merit, but am equally uncertain as to whether this is 'legal' !

I suggest that you contact the Carers UK Adviceline team as they are the experts on all matters related to caring and benefits. I'm sure that your question has come up before and that they will be able to advise you.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org

Carers UK’s advice and information team based in London is undergoing staff changes. This means the Adviceline is closed on Thursdays and Fridays whilst we recruit and train new members of staff. We will be taking calls on Monday – Wednesday between 10am and 4pm. . You can email or write to the Adviceline and we will respond to your enquiries within five working days.

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10am to 4pm.

If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.
Thank you both of you....

I think I will have a crack at both ways...

Npower have now said that they will accept a letter from the nursing home stating that I'm her appointee so at least that is one step in the right direction.
Tracey, maybe you could ask your nan 'Nan, Can I write to the electricity company to sort out your bill for you?'

if she says 'yes' I'd say that gives you 'permission' to write that email!

But I agree, it's slightly murky......

(Ironically, I'm lucky as because it's my MIL, I have the same surname AND the same initial!)(so, strictly speaking there was no 'difference' in the email address - it could have been mine, or hers!)
Practical problems require practical solutions !

In CarerLand , most of our lives are spent operating in " Grey " areas when compared to the numerous Rules and Regulations out there.

A case of common sense and action overriding said rules and regs ?

Put another way , what " Harm " would it do when an urgent solution is needed ?

Common sense prevails ....
Could you not write (or type) a letter for Nan to sign that you then send to the utilities?
I've contacted the Carers Advice by email so hopefully they can point me in the right direction.

I'm also going to type a letter and get it signed by her if possible.

If all else fails then its going to be a case of trying to get her to on the phone to them but with her being practically deaf 'm not sure if they will accept this, but at least the energy companies may realise what I'm up against!