Sir Grayson Perry ‘freaked out’ as EDF energy bill jumped from £300 a month to £39,000 | Personal Finance | Finance

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Artist and broadcaster Sir Grayson Perry has described being “freaked out” by his bill from energy firm EDF after having £2,500 taken from his bank account.

The 63-year-old suggested the lack of phone signal at his studio may have affected the smart meter readings that had created the bill.

Sir Grayson wrote on social media on Monday that EDF had raised his monthly electric bill from £300 to £39,000 and tried to take the amount as a direct debit from his account.

Former BBC journalist Jon Sopel said he was notified that his bill was increasing from £152 a month to £18,000.

Sir Grayson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday: “I just suddenly out of the blue got a whole sheet of about 15 bills which added up to £39,000, and they said they were going to deduct the money by direct debit for all those bills on the same day, which was yesterday.

“I just thought it was so bizarre and I tried on Friday – I spent about three hours at least – to get some sense out of a call centre, but you know, you’re talking to a computer really.”

Sir Grayson said the bills varied between a few hundred pounds and £6,000 and described the incident as an “interesting fable of the technological age”.

He said: “They [EDF] installed a smart meter a few years ago, and I told the man who installed it there’s no phone signal here, because this is in my country studio.

“So they never had a record of how much I was using, and then when the bill comes, it’s just an estimation by a computer.”

Sir Grayson then revealed EDF had taken around £2,500 out of his bank account on Monday.

EDF said in a statement that its customers “do not need to worry” and it had not made any changes to how it processed direct debit charges.

The firm pointed to an “erroneous meter reading” as a possible explanation for unusual changes in amounts charged, and said such increases were verified through a human check.

Asked whether he could have used that much electricity, Sir Grayson said he hardly used his country studio and the bills were “much, much bigger” than those for his main studio, which he uses all the time.

Speaking about his social media post, he said: “I don’t like it particularly when celebrities or whatever use their Twitter power, but I noticed that there were a lot of people online who had the same problem and I just thought, why is it like you’re some vulnerable person and this happens to you?”

He continued: “I’m somebody who’s got a fair bit of cash or whatever but it absolutely freaked me out. It was just the injustice and complete surrealism of it.”

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