I have been intrigued by the television series Mr Bates versus the Post Office - how many sub postmasters were wrongly thought to have stolen money according to a computer system used by the Post Office and the terrible effect this had on the accused and their family and friends.

I had a similar problem some time back when I received £3,000 electricity bill for one quarter.

I know I had teenage children at the time but even they would have had a problem running up that sort of bill.

I thought they had mixed my bill up with the close by Sainsbury's superstore. I was really perplexed by the bill.

I contacted my supplier who agreed with me that the bill was incorrect but they could find no explanation for the huge bill and were as perplexed as I was.

I was paying my bills by direct debit and the electricity company said to pay my usual direct debit and they would investigate further.

Well this went on for months. My bill continued to show the £3,000 deficit.

I then took it on myself to trawl the internet for any other people who were experiencing similar problems with this electric company.

The year previously I had changed suppliers and they had put a new meter in so I guessed it must be something to do with that.

It did not take long before I found out there had been many similar bills for huge amounts of money especially on new housing estates with exactly the same meter I had installed in my house.

I phoned the electric company and explained what I had found about the meter.

What had happened was, the meter had gone back to nought. It went back to nought when it reached a certain figure which it was supposed to do - but for some reason it had gone back to nought prematurely and all those thousands of units were charged to whoever had that faulty meter.

Like with the sub postmaster's computer problems the company who owned my meter must have had other customers who were facing the same problems with faulty meters but they made me as a customer find out for myself that these meters were faulty.

The computer revelation continues at breakneck speed, and I am as enthralled as anyone at the many benefits that computers and mechanisation can bring to our world but, ever since then I have kept a close eye on my electric meter.

Nothing is infallible, not even computers as those poor sub postmasters found who had their lives turned upside down by faulty software.

Paddy Maxwell