A 78-YEAR-OLD woman has not had a gas bill for more than a year - despite pleading with supplier Powergen.
Marion Haigh, of Coppice Drive, Netherton, has instead been left to pay weekly amounts which have clocked up a credit of £218.
Mrs Haigh paid a quarterly bill in August 2004 and in November she waited for her next bill to land on the doormat but it never came.
So the pensioner rang the firm - who also supply her telephone and electricity - and was told there had been a computer breakdown and her bill was on its way.
In January, Mrs Haigh received a letter demanding the bill was paid and threatening her gas supply would be stopped.
She was asked to pay an amount of arrears each week using a Powergen pay card at the post office.
Worried her supply would be cut off Mrs Haigh began paying £10 weekly. She also contacted the company again and was told the computer was still not working two months since her first call.
"I have been paying £10 every week at the post office but it is difficult for me to get there sometimes," said Mrs Haigh.
"I have paid it every week since but I have still not received a bill.
"I had to start paying something or they would have cut off my supply and it costs a lot of money to get reconnected.
"The worst thing is I was willing and able to pay the bill in November if it had arrived.
"Now I am not sure how much I have paid or how much I owe.
"But I have been paying £40 every month since early in the year and my bills only used to be about £60 a quarter.
"The most annoying thing is they keep giving me excuses. The computer surely cannot have been broken for a whole year.
"My daughter has rung them up as well and they have told her different excuses as to why I have no bill."
But now, thanks to pressure from the Examiner, red-faced bosses at Powergen have finally sorted out Mrs Haigh's problems.
A spokeswoman said: "The account was a mess and the reason was down to a system error.
"Because the customer has been regularly paying she is now £218 in credit. She can either have this as cash or simply not pay in the near future.
"We are very sorry about the problem and have offered Mrs Haigh £100 in compensation."