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Dealing with electricity companies

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XFool
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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#490305

Postby XFool » March 30th, 2022, 1:16 pm

Dod101 wrote:
Arborbridge wrote:Given that the companies have all taken on customers from those companies which went bust, what would your solution be? Outside a government contribution (unlikely!) the only place finance can come from is the customer - there is no other source of revenue.

I agree it is recessive (though not a tax) and it would be better to load it on the usage rather than the standing charge. That part of the event does not seem reasonable to me, and if you have a prepayment meter it shows how unfair it is. Your payment can get eaten up by the standing charge alone before you've even drawn down any energy. Those with such meters are usually at the poorer end of society and frankly, doing it this way is just wrong.

Arb.

The reason for the bust suppliers is lack of proper regulation and that is down to Government. It seems to me to be completely wrong that all consumers of electricity should be paying for this. It should be only those consumers who have had to be taken on by the established companies. They after all are the ones who benefited, at least for a while, from the incompetence of the now bust suppliers and the negligence of the regulator.

Dod

I quite agree.

It is, of course, yet another example of the old established UK 'Privatize the upside, Socialize the downside' playbook.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505536

Postby daveh » June 7th, 2022, 10:36 am

More useless from OVO.

Yet again they want to put up my direct debit, yet I'm still in credit by hundreds of pounds and the present direct debit is around about paying off my monthly usage and standing charge. Even on OVOs calculation (which is wrong) my present direct debit would just reduce the credit balance to ~ zero. In reality the direct debit is about right, and will probably lead to a slow falling of my credit balance.

I've now been sitting on the phone for nearly an hour (on speaker so I'm working while waiting) and my wait time has been less than 5 minutes for about the last 20 minutes.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505553

Postby daveh » June 7th, 2022, 11:10 am

daveh wrote:More useless from OVO.

Yet again they want to put up my direct debit, yet I'm still in credit by hundreds of pounds and the present direct debit is around about paying off my monthly usage and standing charge. Even on OVOs calculation (which is wrong) my present direct debit would just reduce the credit balance to ~ zero. In reality the direct debit is about right, and will probably lead to a slow falling of my credit balance.

I've now been sitting on the phone for nearly an hour (on speaker so I'm working while waiting) and my wait time has been less than 5 minutes for about the last 20 minutes.


After over 1 hr on the phone (mostly on hold)I can't get them to reduce the direct debit from their new figure, but I have made them repay most of the credit balance. I'll still be paying too much by about £20 per month (about 20-25% too much!). I've told them that I will now be reclaiming credit balances whenever it goes over £100 (and once the direct debit has been taken once I'll try and reduce it to what I consider to be the correct figure).

Lets see if the repayment actually turns up - they've said 7-10days.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505575

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 7th, 2022, 12:40 pm

daveh wrote:More useless from OVO.

Yet again they want to put up my direct debit, yet I'm still in credit by hundreds of pounds and the present direct debit is around about paying off my monthly usage and standing charge. Even on OVOs calculation (which is wrong) my present direct debit would just reduce the credit balance to ~ zero. In reality the direct debit is about right, and will probably lead to a slow falling of my credit balance.

I've now been sitting on the phone for nearly an hour (on speaker so I'm working while waiting) and my wait time has been less than 5 minutes for about the last 20 minutes.

Do OVO still pay interest on credit balances?

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505577

Postby daveh » June 7th, 2022, 12:47 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:
daveh wrote:More useless from OVO.

Yet again they want to put up my direct debit, yet I'm still in credit by hundreds of pounds and the present direct debit is around about paying off my monthly usage and standing charge. Even on OVOs calculation (which is wrong) my present direct debit would just reduce the credit balance to ~ zero. In reality the direct debit is about right, and will probably lead to a slow falling of my credit balance.

I've now been sitting on the phone for nearly an hour (on speaker so I'm working while waiting) and my wait time has been less than 5 minutes for about the last 20 minutes.

Do OVO still pay interest on credit balances?



Not on accounts transferred over from SSE. Don't know about original OVO accounts that used to get interest.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505654

Postby Alaric » June 7th, 2022, 9:50 pm

Dod101 wrote: However, I would suggest that you change to paying by variable direct debit quarterly in arrears.



That's very much the old-fashioned way which can be difficult to get set up if you didn't decline to switch.

Long ago, the local Electricity and Gas Boards would read the meter and send a bill. Naturally the amount would vary with usage and season. If you have sufficient spare cash to finance seasonal fluctuations, I fail to see the merit in paying a fixed monthly guess, particularly when the suppliers don't seem very good at guessing.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505657

Postby Dod101 » June 7th, 2022, 9:58 pm

Alaric wrote:
Dod101 wrote: However, I would suggest that you change to paying by variable direct debit quarterly in arrears.



That's very much the old-fashioned way which can be difficult to get set up if you didn't decline to switch.

Long ago, the local Electricity and Gas Boards would read the meter and send a bill. Naturally the amount would vary with usage and season. If you have sufficient spare cash to finance seasonal fluctuations, I fail to see the merit in paying a fixed monthly guess, particularly when the suppliers don't seem very good at guessing.


Absolutely. My electricity company holds none of my cash. I pay quarterly in arrears by variable direct debit. Seems fair enough to me especially where I am paying upfront for my oil to fuel my heating, although I accept that is not the fault of the electricity supplier!

Dod

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505718

Postby AF62 » June 8th, 2022, 9:52 am

Alaric wrote:particularly when the suppliers don't seem very good at guessing.


In the last 20 years moving across many many suppliers I have never had a supplier that wasn't good at "guessing" and have never had an estimated bill that was more than a few pounds adrift from the actual usage.

Alaric wrote:I fail to see the merit in paying a fixed monthly guess


Or are you referring to their monthly DD amounts? Again I have never had a supplier that set a DD amount at a level that didn't equate to a good approximation of annual cost - for example when my last gas supplier went bust the credit they owed me was £3. Of course at times the credit was higher than that because consumption of gas over the year isn't linear, but provided the balance approached zero once a year then it isn't an issue for me.

Alaric wrote:If you have sufficient spare cash to finance seasonal fluctuations


And that will be the issue for the suppliers.

Those who will be demanding *their* money back from the supplier if the suppliers increase the direct debits in anticipation of the further significant increase in price this autumn will be made up of those who do have sufficient cash to pay whatever bill arrives and those who do not.

When the £400 discount hits the electricity accounts then the companies are going to have lots of fun with people phoning up and asking for that to be paid back to them.

Then there is the government decision to pay the £650 to those on means tested benefits to them through additional payments to benefits rather than to the energy suppliers. Now some will use that money to pay for the increased fuel bills, but I predict an awful lot will not.

Over the winter the debt the gas and electricity companies are going to build up will be staggering, as there won't be the credit from the higher DDs of the summer to balance out, the £400 will have been repaid, the £650 will have been frittered away, and if the energy companies exercise the option of cutting people off (where they can, as they are limited in who they can and cannot) then they will be crucified in the press.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505811

Postby daveh » June 8th, 2022, 2:00 pm

AF62 wrote:
In the last 20 years moving across many many suppliers I have never had a supplier that wasn't good at "guessing" and have never had an estimated bill that was more than a few pounds adrift from the actual usage.


Well OVO seem to be very poor at guessing. They have my smart meter readings from May last year (theoretically) - though they only seem to have them since they rebranded SSE to OVO a couple of months ago not from when they took over SSE, nor do they have records from when SSE was owned by SSE ( I do, monthly, in a spreadsheet). SSE were pretty good, and if they got it wrong they were willing to change it over the phone.

AF62 wrote:
Or are you referring to their monthly DD amounts? Again I have never had a supplier that set a DD amount at a level that didn't equate to a good approximation of annual cost - for example when my last gas supplier went bust the credit they owed me was £3. Of course at times the credit was higher than that because consumption of gas over the year isn't linear, but provided the balance approached zero once a year then it isn't an issue for me.


OVO are repeatedly trying to up my DD, I'm assuming they want the cashflow because they are having difficulty with the cap compared to the real cost of fuel. Though the last time I looked wholesale electricity price were well covered by the CAP price , but not gas. I'm not consuming gas - just electricity and there is only a small difference for my usage in winter over summer. I heat with a woodburner which does water and radiators, and in summer I use electricity for water heating, plus I often have to use a de-humidifier or the house gets damp. This evens out my usage, this may be unusual but is obvious from my records.

AF62 wrote:
And that will be the issue for the suppliers.

Those who will be demanding *their* money back from the supplier if the suppliers increase the direct debits in anticipation of the further significant increase in price this autumn will be made up of those who do have sufficient cash to pay whatever bill arrives and those who do not.

When the £400 discount hits the electricity accounts then the companies are going to have lots of fun with people phoning up and asking for that to be paid back to them.

Then there is the government decision to pay the £650 to those on means tested benefits to them through additional payments to benefits rather than to the energy suppliers. Now some will use that money to pay for the increased fuel bills, but I predict an awful lot will not.

Over the winter the debt the gas and electricity companies are going to build up will be staggering, as there won't be the credit from the higher DDs of the summer to balance out, the £400 will have been repaid, the £650 will have been frittered away, and if the energy companies exercise the option of cutting people off (where they can, as they are limited in who they can and cannot) then they will be crucified in the press.


This is going to be interesting. At present prices the 400quid rebate will be about 3/4 of my annual bill, the increased direct debit will be racking up further credit amounts and I will be definitely wanting it paid back to me. I plan to try and reduce the direct debit online once they have taken one payment at the increased amount, if I can, and will be trying to reclaim any credit above £100 on a regular basis ( which seems daft to have to do and is the opposite of what the direct debits were supposed to achieve).

It will be "interesting" to see what happens with the Cap in October. My reading of the cap values compared with wholesale electricity and wholesale gas prices (particularly the cost of gas for 1 year delivery) is that electricity customers are subsidising gas customers. I wonder if that will continue or even increase as such a large % of British homes are heated with mains gas. If it does it won't be good for the switch away from fossil fuels.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505821

Postby AF62 » June 8th, 2022, 2:29 pm

daveh wrote:My reading of the cap values compared with wholesale electricity and wholesale gas prices (particularly the cost of gas for 1 year delivery) is that electricity customers are subsidising gas customers.


If you believe that then take a look at the Octopus tracker tariff.

For both gas and electricity those tariffs simply charge you the wholesale price for the individual fuel plus a set markup (with a cap to protect the customer against similar situations to Texas last year) - this third party website has the prices and the current tariff is v3 - http://mysmartenergy.uk/Tracker/

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505839

Postby daveh » June 8th, 2022, 4:33 pm

AF62 wrote:
daveh wrote:My reading of the cap values compared with wholesale electricity and wholesale gas prices (particularly the cost of gas for 1 year delivery) is that electricity customers are subsidising gas customers.


If you believe that then take a look at the Octopus tracker tariff.

For both gas and electricity those tariffs simply charge you the wholesale price for the individual fuel plus a set markup (with a cap to protect the customer against similar situations to Texas last year) - this third party website has the prices and the current tariff is v3 - http://mysmartenergy.uk/Tracker/



Thanks for that - really interesting, if correct (as it is a secondary website) at the moment (today) the tracker price is about 2/3rds what I'm paying capped at roughly the same as what I'm paying for electricity (which is what I'd expect)- I assume there is a daily standing charge on top, so depending on what the standing charge is, this definitely looks interesting. Octopus is a company I've though of moving too in the past so I'll take a look.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505844

Postby AF62 » June 8th, 2022, 4:48 pm

daveh wrote:
AF62 wrote:
daveh wrote:My reading of the cap values compared with wholesale electricity and wholesale gas prices (particularly the cost of gas for 1 year delivery) is that electricity customers are subsidising gas customers.


If you believe that then take a look at the Octopus tracker tariff.

For both gas and electricity those tariffs simply charge you the wholesale price for the individual fuel plus a set markup (with a cap to protect the customer against similar situations to Texas last year) - this third party website has the prices and the current tariff is v3 - http://mysmartenergy.uk/Tracker/



Thanks for that - really interesting, if correct (as it is a secondary website) at the moment (today) the tracker price is about 2/3rds what I'm paying capped at roughly the same as what I'm paying for electricity (which is what I'd expect)- I assume there is a daily standing charge on top, so depending on what the standing charge is, this definitely looks interesting. Octopus is a company I've though of moving too in the past so I'll take a look.


It is accurate (I am on the gas tracker but their ‘Go’ EV tariff for electricity) but it is a bit easier to read than the official page https://octopus.energy/tracker-faqs/

The electricity standing charges are

East England - 35.86p per day
East Midlands - 42.36p per day
London - 30.36p per day
Merseyside & Northern Wales - 45.06p per day
West Midlands - 45.58p per day
North England - 46.33p per day
North West England - 39.98p per day
South England - 41.07p per day
South East England - 39.42p per day
South Wales - 45.6p per day
South West England - 48.91p per day
Yorkshire - 45.96p per day
South Scotland - 47.03p per day
North Scotland - 47.42p per day

Plus you are not tied to the tariff, and are free to move back to their variable tariff at any time.

As a company they do seem a bit more pleasant to deal with than the others.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505848

Postby doolally » June 8th, 2022, 4:59 pm

AF62 wrote:
It is accurate (I am on the gas tracker but their ‘Go’ EV tariff for electricity) but it is a bit easier to read than the official page https://octopus.energy/tracker-faqs/

The electricity standing charges are

East England - 35.86p per day
East Midlands - 42.36p per day
London - 30.36p per day
Merseyside & Northern Wales - 45.06p per day
West Midlands - 45.58p per day
North England - 46.33p per day
North West England - 39.98p per day
South England - 41.07p per day
South East England - 39.42p per day
South Wales - 45.6p per day
South West England - 48.91p per day
Yorkshire - 45.96p per day
South Scotland - 47.03p per day
North Scotland - 47.42p per day

I wonder why standing charges vary so much by region. 30p in London, 47p in Scotland, 49p in the southwest
doolally

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505850

Postby AF62 » June 8th, 2022, 5:03 pm

doolally wrote:I wonder why standing charges vary so much by region. 30p in London, 47p in Scotland, 49p in the southwest
doolally


Scotland and the southwest are rural areas where the cost to the electricity company is higher per customer than a dense urban area such as London.

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#505852

Postby Dod101 » June 8th, 2022, 5:23 pm

AF62 wrote:
doolally wrote:I wonder why standing charges vary so much by region. 30p in London, 47p in Scotland, 49p in the southwest
doolally


Scotland and the southwest are rural areas where the cost to the electricity company is higher per customer than a dense urban area such as London.


Suspect that that has a lot to do with it and of course there is much more exposure to high winds and other weather related damage, see last winter. They could therefore make a half decent case for these charges I think.

Dod

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#508467

Postby daveh » June 20th, 2022, 1:34 pm

daveh wrote:
daveh wrote:More useless from OVO.

Yet again they want to put up my direct debit, yet I'm still in credit by hundreds of pounds and the present direct debit is around about paying off my monthly usage and standing charge. Even on OVOs calculation (which is wrong) my present direct debit would just reduce the credit balance to ~ zero. In reality the direct debit is about right, and will probably lead to a slow falling of my credit balance.

I've now been sitting on the phone for nearly an hour (on speaker so I'm working while waiting) and my wait time has been less than 5 minutes for about the last 20 minutes.


After over 1 hr on the phone (mostly on hold)I can't get them to reduce the direct debit from their new figure, but I have made them repay most of the credit balance. I'll still be paying too much by about £20 per month (about 20-25% too much!). I've told them that I will now be reclaiming credit balances whenever it goes over £100 (and once the direct debit has been taken once I'll try and reduce it to what I consider to be the correct figure).

Lets see if the repayment actually turns up - they've said 7-10days.


Its now 13 days later - no sign of my credit being refunded yet. Maybe I should be complaining to Ofgem:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61860717

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#508500

Postby 6Tricia » June 20th, 2022, 4:27 pm

Sorry to see you are having problems with OVO daveh. I got lucky last September when I needed to renew my contract - just a few days before all hell let loose with gas prices. My new 2 year contract from 26 September 2021 is gas 3.82 / 23.73 daily s.c. and electricity 19.68 / 23.10 s.c.

I was considerably in credit at the time but OVO still increased my D.D. They have, however, invited me to reduce it almost month by month since then (I'm using far less gas and electricity than I was a year ago) so that I'm now only paying £12 per month more than under the old contract!

So I'm far from being unhappy with OVO :). Just have to hope that the utilities market settles down before my contract ends.

Tricia

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Re: Dealing with electricity companies

#508516

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 20th, 2022, 6:30 pm

Dod101 wrote:
AF62 wrote:
doolally wrote:I wonder why standing charges vary so much by region. 30p in London, 47p in Scotland, 49p in the southwest
doolally


Scotland and the southwest are rural areas where the cost to the electricity company is higher per customer than a dense urban area such as London.


Suspect that that has a lot to do with it and of course there is much more exposure to high winds and other weather related damage, see last winter. They could therefore make a half decent case for these charges I think.

Dod

Scotland produces more power than anywhere else. Both old (North Sea Oil) and new (Wind and water). So let's penalise them.

The Southwest suffers very little weather damage, although our potential for renewables is somewhat underdeveloped (along with our general infrastructure - except for the bits that cause light pollution). Our water bills get to pay for that huge coastline too, 'cos erm ....


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