MANY consumers who use mains gas in their homes have been receiving their first bills since the confinement period started and finding that they are unexpectedly high, as much as €300 above the normal rate in some cases. OCU, the Spanish consumer association, has received numerous complaints and an investigation has found that this is because meter readers have been unable to visit properties during the lockdown, following government advice. The bills have been estimated and, in many cases, these have come out far too high. This has been compounded with the unusually cool weather over March and April to give already cash strapped consumers a nasty shock.
There is nothing illegal in the practice but the OCU has pointed out that the gas companies should have been more transparent about the practice. The main reason why the bills are so high is that they will be based on the last few months usage which covered the peak winter period. The OCU has requested that all new bills be cancelled, and new ones sent in from the consumer reading the meter and phoning in the details.