A pensioner who has lived with no heating or hot water for 17 years is being taken to court... over an unpaid gas bill.
British Gas claims Dr Roland Graf owes nearly £200 in standing charges and debt recovery costs, even though his supply was cut off in 2000.
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The 74-year-old retired hospital consultant has been taken to court three times over the case – with the claim by the energy giant being thrown out twice, and abandoned a third time.
Dr Graf said: "The past few months have been very stressful. It's been bad enough being without a gas supply. I've had to make do.
"Sometimes I sleep on the floor of a friend's flat. British Gas's objective was to enforce demands for money which I believe are illegal."
Roland says his ordeal with British Gas has been 'very stressful'
Dr Graf says British Gas agreed to reconnect his home two years ago, but once a new meter was installed engineers failed to do the work. Last month a judge backed his defence that the energy firm had no right to force entry to his home and remove the meter, or to claim costs against him.
That followed an identical ruling by the court in March, when British Gas also brought action.
Their first attempt to obtain a warrant was abandoned in January.
Now the row could end up in the High Court after the hearings before magistrates in his home city of Leicester. Dr Graf says he was told he would owe nearly £800 in standing charges and estimated advance payments for when his supply was reconnected.
Roland's gas supply was cut off in 2000
But British Gas insists they are only seeking £197 – including £49 they have racked up in debt recovery charges.
Dr Graf said: "It's been continual harassment. British Gas keep cancelling the bills, then the thing starts again.
"They want to install a pre-payment meter and three times they've taken me to court." Vowing to take the firm to the High Court if it keeps chasing him, he added: "I doubt this will be the end of it."
The company says it has tried to resolve the dispute by removing the meter so Dr Graf does not incur more standing charges – which it says it is required to levy under industry rules, even though there is no supply.
The row could now end up in the High Court
It also says it offered to send an engineer to try to reconnect him.
But friends say British Gas's actions toward the pensioner are "no better than a school bully".
Pal Rene Butler, who runs public relations firm Consumer King, said: "He's had no heating or hot water for pretty much all this century. It's scandalous."
Rene, of Market Harborough, Leics, added: "He's made an entirely valid argument that standing charges should not be made in the absence of a gas supply."
British Gas said: "We've done everything we can to help resolve Dr Graf's issue and acted properly throughout. We are disappointed he has not accepted the solution we proposed."