Bills sent to young mum’s dead partner

Rebecca Black who has been receiving bills in her late husband's name.
Rebecca Black who has been receiving bills in her late husband's name.
  • Letters sent to dead man
  • Dispute over bill
  • Utility firm apologises

Scottish Gas has apologised to a young mum-of-two after several months of sending letters addressed to her dead partner.

The utility firm also saddled Rebecca Black with a four-figure bill – for an outbuilding property she did not own.

Rebecca Black, of Colinsburgh, with children Owen and Eva (picture by George McLuskie)

Rebecca Black, of Colinsburgh, with children Owen and Eva (picture by George McLuskie)

However, the company has pledged to update its records and also sent her a cheque as a goodwill gesture.

Tragedy hit the family in December last year when James Montgomery, who was only 42, died of lung cancer, leaving behind Rebecca (29) and children Owen, six, and Eva (18 months).

Rebecca, of Colinsburgh, had informed various organisations of her partner’s passing, in due course, but her loss was compounded by letters from Scottish Gas continuing to arrive at their Fife Council home with his name on them.

The family was also held liable for a bill of over £1330 for a nearby outbuilding, classed as a lock-up garage, which Rebecca maintained had nothing to do with them.

I was so stressed out trying to sort out James’ funeral and I have a young family.

Red letter demands arrived and the family was warned they were liable for additional costs, while they also risked losing their energy supply if the amount wasn’t paid.

“I have had so much to deal with and this is just not helping at all,” she told the Mail.

“I was so stressed out trying to sort out James’ funeral and I have a young family.”

Rebecca understood she would receive a £100 cheque as a goodwill gesture from Scottish Gas, which was investigating the matter, and she hoped it would now be over.

Scottish Gas said that, regrettably, it had not updated its electricity account details quickly enough after being notified that Mr Montgomery had died, with the result that more correspondence was sent with his name on it.

Also, a meter for a nearby garage lock-up had been mistakenly registered to Mr Montgomery in 2013, the firm said – this was known as an ‘erroneous transfer’ and occurred when a meter was matched to an incorrect address on the national database.

Mr Montgomery had advised the company of this at the time, but unfortunately, it was not resolved.

“We have now closed the account for the garage lock-up, cancelled the bills and updated our records,” said a spokesman, adding the firm had apologised to Ms Black, realising the events must have caused her “considerable stress”.

The spokesman added: “When Ms Black contacted us to tell us her partner had passed away, we should have updated all of the accounts straight away. “We’ve now put this right and apologised to Ms Black for the significant delays and any distress caused at this difficult time.”