Grayson Perry and Jon Sopel see energy bill rise by thousands of pounds - as EDF says issue 'not widespread'

18 December 2023, 21:15 | Updated: 18 December 2023, 21:25

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Jon Sopel says his direct debit went up to £18,000 a month
Jon Sopel says his direct debit went up to £18,000 a month. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Actor Sir Grayson Perry and journalist Jon Sopel are among those to hit out at EDF energy after their monthly direct debits increased by thousands of pounds.

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Perry hit out at EDF on Twitter this morning, asking for an explanation as to why his electricity bill increased from "£300 a month to £39,000".

"Your call centre has been no help but you tried to direct debit this amount today from my account," the actor and writer said.

The News Agents' Jon Sopel replied with a similar story, but in his case, the bill increased from £152 to £18,000.

EDF has insisted the issue is not widespread, though others have shared similar stories on social media.

"Customers don't need to worry - these aren't related to a wider issue with our billing system and we haven't changed how we process direct debit changes for customers," a spokesperson for the company explained on X, where the complaints were originally aired.

The company explained that "unusual changes" to direct debit amounts can occur when there is an "erroneous meter reading" that is logged into their system.

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EDF said there are "robust interventions" in place at the company to ensure any unusual charges in direct debit amounts are verified by a human first.

They added: "In almost all such cases, system errors are rectified and prevented without customers being impacted.

"Following an Ofgem investigation, EDF was one of 4 suppliers to be assessed as having ‘no significant issues’ with the way it manages its customers’ direct debit calculations."