UK energy company websites crash as customers rush to get readings

Britons bracing for a 54% rise in energy prices received an extra dose of pain on Thursday as the websites of several energy suppliers crashed before they could submit readings before the midnight deadline .

British Gas, EDF, E.ON Next, SSE and Scottish Power all looked down as customers rushed past the midnight deadline to recognize lower tariffs.

Businesses have urged households to read gas and electricity meters the day before, to ensure they get current, cheaper rates for energy use until Thursday’s deadline.

Tensions have risen at a supplier after British consumer advocate Martin Lewis produced a video for social media advising people on how best to record their readings.

It was too much for E.ON Next, who were quick to blame Lewis for single-handedly “bringing Britain down” as his system failed to cope. However, only the day before had he advised clients to do precisely what Lewis had recommended. The company’s tweet was later deleted, with its social media team saying its attempt at “humor” had “missed the mark”.

British Gas’s website was in trouble as early as Wednesday, as people logging into the ‘submit a meter reading’ section received a message saying, ‘Service temporarily unavailable’, the Guardian reported.

The site was still inaccessible on Thursday, displaying a “proxy error” message. There have also been reports that the app is down. SSE customers trying to submit readings were greeted with a message saying, “Sorry, we’re working on this part of our website.” Customers have also reported difficulty submitting readings to EDF and Scottish Power.

An average home on a standard default rate paying by direct debit will be slammed with an increase of £693, or 54 per cent, to £1,971 a year. The war in Ukraine after Russia’s unprovoked invasion has kept gas prices high and is expected to see a rise to £3,000 when the next price cap decision is made in October.

A government official, who declined to be named, said “all energy suppliers are aware of the April 1 date for the price cap to come into effect” and that customers experiencing problems for submitting statements should speak to their provider “immediately”.