Water and electric meters manipulations scandal in Valencia

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RECENTLY, in the Valencian Community many customers of water and electric suppliers have been overwhelmed by skyrocketing bills following allegations of fraud and manipulation of their own meters.

Often, the affected customers barely know where their meters are located, do not have direct access to them, let alone having any knowledge of plumbing or wiring. Surprisingly enough, in most of the cases the alleged manipulation occurred when the affected customers were out of Spain. Still, the water and electric suppliers assume that the customers themselves have handled their meters in the attempt to defraud those companies, and for this reason the suppliers are charging them bills in the order of € 3.000,00 behind the clear threat of cutting off the water or electric supply in case of payment default. Obviously, the customers facing the threat of being deprived of basic rights – like access to running water and electricity are – come to terms with these companies and accept to pay in instalments the huge bills.

The blatant injustice of this story is that these suppliers are acting on the basis of no sound evidence whatsoever to support their heavy allegations: the only proof of meter manipulations they have is an inspection report drafted by one their own employee in the presence of no one other than the employee himself. Interestingly, contrary to the relevant jurisprudence, the companies did not take care of informing in advance their customers about the inspections so that they could have witnessed their meters’ examinations. 

In order to give these inspection reports a semblance of officiality and neutrality, companies’ employees call police officers to have them write down a police report to certify the purported manipulations. These police reports simply show that the meters were manipulated, but do not prove that the customers handled them.

To add insult to injury, these completely innocent customers have also been served on with notices of sanctions and fines by their respective City Halls.

The good news in this otherwise frightening story is that these customers organized in an association – the CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY SUPPLIERS (CAS) – to lodge a class action against these supplier companies. If you are a customer who has been affected in a similar manner by your water/electric supplier, you might want to join the Association. Contact info: +34 965 207 719 (mornings), [email protected].

3 COMMENTS

  1. Most people who owns a property in Costa Blanca have most lightly been offered to cut their electric bill in half after talking to someone they know (often a neighbour). Pricing was from 200 to 500 euro. I know many who said yes, so I dont think there are so many innocent home owners as this article claim. But they are all being caught now, with the new meters being installed, and that is of course not a pleasant situation. But the reality is that the ones of us to turned down the dramatic cut in electricity bills are the ones who paid for these fraudsters. They should pay their 3000 euro fine and be very happy they get away with this without spending time in jail. Of course there are a few innocent ones, but the majority was very aware of what they did. So let them pay!

  2. Actually john I totally disagree. This happened to me when my meter fell off its support and could not be read. I received an extremely high bill, totally out of context from any other previous bill I had had , so endesa came and changed the meter to a digital while I was at work. Then I received notification of manipulation although I did not have access to the meter. My argument was why would I manipulate a meter if all the readings for years had been similar! It is a fraud by the companies

  3. If they are using same or similar WATER meters as in UK
    Ours are Braun Meters from Germany & are accurate to +/- 2%
    So One person could be paying 4% more than Neighbour
    They also register Air !!!!!!!!!!!
    If Spains is different make. Then first thing I would do is check with manufacturers the Plus or Minus %
    Because there are some on market with poor accuracy
    Best to get water Co. to check if any doubt: We install same meters only for Oil
    & Worst we found was one over reading 17%
    Ha Ha ofcourse you could be lucky & have one under reading

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