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1,200% hike in one fuel swoop; BILL ERROR PUTS CUSTOMER INTO THE RED; CITY DESK.

Byline: Edited by GRAHAM HISCOTT

EXCLUSIVE ENERGY giant npower has said sorry for landing a customer with a massive 1,200% price rise.

Andy Wright was left reeling when his direct debit leapt from PS72 a month to an eye-watering PS935 without any warning.

The massive combined gas and electricity bill came despite him living in a modest threebedroom home.

Mr Wright, 30, from Leeds, spotted the gigantic increase earlier this month when the automatic payment plunged him into the red.

His bank, HSBC, has since refunded the money while npower investigates the matter.

But Mr Wright has still been left with a PS75 overdraft penalty fee and has yet to get an explanation from npower about what went wrong to make the bill so high. Mr Wright said: "I have had it a few times where they have come to take a meter reading but then it doesn't appear on the bill.

"The bad thing this time was that they took the PS935.

"Luckily our bank has been pretty good about it."

Mr Wright, boss of a digital marketing agency, was slightly overdrawn when, in mid-February, npower took the direct debit payment.

Andy is reeling With another payment that went out, it left him around PS1,200 overdrawn and landed with a number of penalty fees.

Although HSBC has refunded the money to his account, Mr Wright said: "I have been told it could take 10 days to sort out the issue."

He added: "The person at npower I spoke to said there were quite a few problems with its billing system."

German-owned npower, which announces its annual results next month, has been ranked as Britain's most complained about supplier on a number of occasions.

Oddly, the same bill that demanded the PS935 also estimated his gas and electricity usage over the next year at less than PS1,600.

After being contacted by the Mirror, npower said: "We were really concerned to hear about Andy's direct debit issue as this obviously wasn't right, and was due to a system error.

"We've called him today to apologise for this and will make sure he is not financially disadvantaged."

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SHOCK Andy Wright is reeling
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Title Annotation:Business; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 27, 2014
Words:365
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