A SINGLE mother has been ordered to pay off power debts of £4000 on a pre-paid meter she says is not registered to her provider.

For the last six years, Lesley Hill claims that her top-up payments have been going straight to an unknown premises.

It means that Scottish Power hasn’t received a payment from the mum-of-one since 2016 despite her putting cash into the facility every week.

Hill, from Knightswood, switched from a credit to a pay-as-you-go account in 2015 after the breakdown of her marriage.

At the time, she owed the energy firm £560 – which she agreed to pay up in weekly instalments.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Year-long battle for pre-paid Scottish Power meter leaves Glasgow man in debts of £400

The 43-year-old says that the meter worked perfectly for one year before she started receiving letters warning her of her debts.

She said: “They were being paid off week by week, but I kept getting letters sent through to me and calls asking me for the money even though they knew I had a pre-paid meter and was paying it up.

“When I told them about the meter that they installed, they seemed to have had no idea about it at all, even though their engineers came out to fit it.

“I was in the minus by about £1200 before I decided to complain, I thought that they would have sorted it out before it got to that point.

“It eventually emerged that my meter was actually registered to another premises. So, this meant that for several years, the money I had been spending on electricity was going somewhere else.”

Hill left the problem in the hands of Scottish Power to resolve and even claims that the firm told her the issue had been sorted.

She was “dumbfounded” when she received another bill in the post two weeks later for even more money.

Hill said: “They got back to me telling me the issue was fixed, only for me to receive another bill through the door two weeks later but this time for £2000. I was dumbfounded."

"They’re now claiming that I haven’t paid the debts since 2016 but I certainly haven’t been sitting in the dark for five years.

“The whole situation is bizarre – I would understand if the problems started as soon as I had the meter installed but they started two years ago. Where is my cash going?”

Due to her debts, Hill says she has been unable to access funds from the Warm Home Discount – a fuel grant of £140 for those on low incomes.

She claims that her pre-paid meter automatically drains the cash to clear the money she owes back.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Struggling Glasgow families 'sitting in the cold and dark' due to unaffordable power bills

The mum said: “Every year, the funds are automatically used to clear my debts and I can’t access them – meaning Scottish Power actually owe me around £900.

“I have been paying cash into this meter since 2014, how do they think I have been getting electricity?”

Just weeks before Christmas, an updated bill of £4000 left Hill “heartbroken”.

She says Scottish Power adjusted her meter to a setting that allows them to claim the funds back – meaning she won’t get value for the cash she is topping up by. 

“It will take her around 21 years to clear her from the minus. The distressing account has led the mother to exhaust all avenues for help.

She said: “I got a letter through my door just before Christmas saying I now owe them £4000; it completely broke my heart.

“Every time I put money into it, it is just going straight to this other address that it is registered to, not Scottish Power. Now, Scottish Power is saying the debts will take me 21 years to pay off.

“I have been constantly crying and feel as though I’m fighting a losing battle.

“It just lives in my brain 24 hours a day and I’m constantly thinking of how it can be resolved, it is making me unwell.”

The case is currently being investigated by the Ombudsman – a watchdog for energy providers in the UK.

A Scottish Power spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry for any distress these issues have caused Ms Hill.

“Ms Hill’s case is currently with the energy Ombudsman and we are working with them and Ms Hill to investigate her case and come to a resolution all parties are happy with.”