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I give meter readings each month, why is my bill still based on estimates?


Why, when I faithfully provide meter readings on time, each month, does OVO still give estimated readings on my bills?

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Best answer by Darran_OVO 13 April 2017, 12:50

Updated 14/09/2020:

 

Meter readings, usage and estimates

 

For non-smart-meter members on our new online account with daily charges that look like this:  

 

 

Will an account balance update daily?

The standing charges will be deducted each day. Usage charges will only be deducted once a reading has been provided or when we estimate a reading for you billing date.

 

When we receive a reading how long does it take to update the balance?

Whenever a reading is submitted you will be charged up to date, this normally happens instantly.

 

Will we bill to estimates each month if we do not get a reading?

Yes, this is also the same for smart customers if the meter doesn’t communicate remotely. 

 

Can a customer remove any incorrect readings if added in error?

Our Support team are able to override incorrect meter readings, by submitting the correct reading for the correct date. 

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35 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I believe I understand what you’re saying @AlisonH. Let me just repeat this back to you so I can be sure we’re on the same page:

If the submitted reading is just beyond the cut-off date/time then that month’s bill will be issued based on usage which is 100% estimated.

Let’s say that you then submit the following month’s reading in time. Since the Billing System only needs to note the cumulative total, there is no mention of the previous actual reading which you gave.

Am I correct so far?

 

Now @Eva_OVO (who is a Forum Moderator) states that “You’ll see the reading on your next month’s summary”.

Here's an example (from one of my gas bills in Sept last year) showing what Eva suggests you should see:

Now this is a particularly ‘silly’ Bill because my meters were part of a test being done by an OVO Engineer, and the estimate is therefore way out!

Nevertheless you can see that I should’ve provided a reading by 13th August, but I didn’t do so until two days later.  As a consequence my August Bill was entirely estimated.

My September Gas Bill therefore shows the late Customer Reading, and then yet another Estimate because I didn’t provide that September’s reading in time either.

 

Now if I turn to the electricity Bill for the same period I see this:

Never mind that this ran to 18th Sept instead of 13th. The important bit to notice is that there is no Customer Reading shown for 15th August, despite the fact that I submitted readings for both gas and electricity together online.

 

Is this what you are seeing?

Similar but different issue here. With other suppliers (gas or electricity) if a reading is sent late, then it is taken into account and the balance adjusted.

OK if OVO don’t do this, but why if I send in a reading one day late is there no message to say it won’t be recorded? Not even a warning that it’s too late.

 

Userlevel 6

We’ll record the reading, @AlisonH, but it won’t be recorded on your summary if one has already been generated. You’ll see the reading on your next month’s summary.

I don’t agree. I know I have been submitting readings, but the record still shows as Estimated. I have also raised this with the on-line chat and had the same answer. 

I will just have to make sure I submit absolutely on the day in future and take a screenshot. 

 

Userlevel 5
I agree with Toddy. I DO submit my own readings by the deadline that OVO gives me but they still give estimated readings. I quote the last email I received from OVO:
"To make your next statement as accurate as possible, it's best if you give meter readings on 30/07/2017 (or just before). Without them we'll have to use estimated readings, which means you might be paying too much or too little." I did give them by the deadline. They should be waiting to give estimated readings on 31st July if I failed to submit by the 30th which they themselves said was the best date. Yes, they did say "(or just before)" but they didn't say don't submit on 30th even though they said that date was "best".


We think the wording of this could be changed so that it's clearer, Redfinger. I've passed this feedback onto the team for you. Just to clarify, the readings will need to be submitted on that date to avoid any estimates being used.

Lucy
Userlevel 1
I will take Toddy’s tip and provide readings day before statement date. See if it works.
A review of my readings against Ovo estimates this past year reveals they have consistently overestimated, except Aug & Sept.
Result has been higher bills than necessary leading to a projected shortfall. Is this to encourage a higher DD?
Or a Smart meter? Judging by some comments, not a good idea.
I now submit my readings bang on the date specified by OVO and this seems so far to be working. There will of course be occasions when submission on the due date will not be possible (holidays, etc.).
I'm with Toddy. I read the meter and respond when I get the reminder email. If that is too early you should send the reminder email 2 days before it is needed not a week.
Tend to agree with the above comments. Have had the same situation for over a year. Queried it and got similar answers. This Month, as a test of the system, I gave accurate (UP TO THE MINUTE READINGS AT 11:57pm ON THE DAY SPECIFIED) I still got an estimated reading on my bill which was increased.to the date of bill generation using an estimated reading. WHY?

Don't really mind as I over pay to the extent that I could now have a free years energy! - Well I'm getting no real interest from any bank.

Still don't particularly want a smart meter I can work out how much I'm using and why. Also I don't want a meter cluttering up the walls and décor. the meters are in a cupboard for a reason< they are out of the way. By the sound of it they don't particularly provide a more accurate bill. Any way in the long run it will always even itself out and you pay for what you use. Nevr had an underestimated bill though!
Userlevel 1
Why are estimated readings added days after I email readings with plenty of time? Estimated readings are higher than actual readings.
How do I correct and estimate after the statement has been issued.

I keep getting charged for off-peak electricity despite having turned the heaters off in April What happens is that I get a reminder to give a meter reading. When the statement comes there is a few days estimate. The next month, when I try to put in the actual reading, Ovo don’t accept the actual reading as it is lower than the previous months estimate. So I can only put the figure from the previous statement. This way the figure keeps going up and up - especially as ovo’s estimate for those few days is so high.
all in all I have been charged for 200 units that I haven’t used.
Userlevel 6

I've moved your post here, @Mulletty, take a look at Darran's best answer for more info on this.

To correct an estimated reading you would need to get in touch, you can send us a message on Facebook or Twitter with your name, DoB, account number and up to date meter reading.

If you don't use social media, you can speak with them through our Help Centre’s online chat!

I joined Ovo 5 Feb 2018 in the hope they would an be an improvement on my previous supplier who totally trashed my gas usage. I called Ovo before transferring and was assured they would sort it all out within a few months (I think 16 weeks was mentioned for some reason). Here I am nearly a year on and my last bill showed I used just under 4 units per day, but despite many calls OVO still estimate 13 units a day! I gave them a reading of 5086 on 4th jan, equating to less than 4 units per day based on last bill, Ovo estimated 1 day usage and added 13 units to my bill! The impact of this on current plan is not huge, but Ovo want to double my direct debit if I renew or put me on standard tariff if I don’t sign up for new plan, add to this I haven’t been able to take advantage of any offers during my contract because the estimates are always so high. It seems to me despite promising to sort with the meter company, Ovo are making no effort as they make more money out of me if they don’t sort it. I can’t even leave for another provider as the rubbish estimate will move with me and I’ll have to start all over again. I can’t even phone them to complain without losing my discount!
before anyone suggests smart meters, I did book an installation, took a days holiday from work and pretty much the first thing the installer said to me was they can’t install in the gas boxes Redrow use on new homes and Ovo know that!!!!

anyone else had similar nightmares and is there an answer?
Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks for raising that issue @AlisonH - good point!

The new Billing System is still in it’s early days. Unlike many other Energy Suppliers, OVO have developed their own system. That means the programming team are still working on it and can add features.

Their first priority was to ensure that it fully complies with Ofgem’s guidelines, which it does.

So let’s ask the duty Moderator, @Eva_OVO, to see if your suggestion can be allocated a “ticket” and passed to the programmers in London.

I'm with Toddy. I read the meter and respond when I get the reminder email. If that is too early you should send the reminder email 2 days before it is needed not a week.

You make a good point, @Tazz

The meter read reminders are sent around a week before your statement is due. The reason for this is so if a customer is away or forgets about it, they've still got plenty of time to submit some readings before their statement is due.

For those customers that don't want estimated readings on their bills, we advise them to put the date in their calendar or diary to make sure they give them the day before their statement is produced.

Alternatively, you may want to have a look at booking smart meters - that way you'll never have to submit readings and you'll never get an estimated bill! Check out this link for appointments - http://smart.ovoenergy.com/credit.

Hope this helps!

Emma
Userlevel 7

Updated 14/09/2020:

 

Meter readings, usage and estimates

 

For non-smart-meter members on our new online account with daily charges that look like this:  

 

 

Will an account balance update daily?

The standing charges will be deducted each day. Usage charges will only be deducted once a reading has been provided or when we estimate a reading for you billing date.

 

When we receive a reading how long does it take to update the balance?

Whenever a reading is submitted you will be charged up to date, this normally happens instantly.

 

Will we bill to estimates each month if we do not get a reading?

Yes, this is also the same for smart customers if the meter doesn’t communicate remotely. 

 

Can a customer remove any incorrect readings if added in error?

Our Support team are able to override incorrect meter readings, by submitting the correct reading for the correct date. 

Userlevel 5
That's interesting @DeltaBravo- thanks for sharing!
Userlevel 7
Nope. I just want my reminder 2 days before you need the reading.

Hi @Tazz

Ideally we'd be able to tailor when these reminders get sent, depending on each customer's preference. We can't though, and we want to play it safe by giving 5 days for customers to get their readings in.

Let me put it this way: it would be far better for us to estimate 2-4 days worth of usage (from the reading date to the bill date) then for a customer to submit the reading too late and for us to estimate a whole month's worth of usage.

I hope this reasoning makes sense,
Tim
Userlevel 7
@Brian out on the Suffolk coast thanks for sharing. Where's this monthly estimate you see? I'll be able to advise how it's calculated when I know this! As for building up credit, that is the plan for fixed tariff customers. Build up credit in the summer (3-5% annual interest) and eat into this in the winter. If we were to do it the other way and have our customers in debt for half the year, we wouldn't have the liquidity to buy our energy in bulk at a great price for the customer - fair enough?
Hi Chrisl,

Firstly, I use my PC diary (I guess this could also be done via Alexa, Cortana, etc.) to remind me of the days when meter readings are due and then use the email from OVO to back-up those dates. Thereafter, I read the meters on the actual dates quoted on the OVO email reminders to take the meter readings.

Since adopting this approach, I have had no estimated readings. I accept, however, that given work commitments, travel, etc., it is not always possible to give readings on the dates required. However, if the majority of the readings are actual with a few estimates now and then, I guess there is a balance over a period. Hope this is of some help.
The old adage of tempting fate seems to have occurred following my last post. I provided readings on the requested date but have received a bill based on estimated readings for this month. It may be that because the due date was a Sunday there were no staff to receive and process the readings (I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the readings were processed automatically). That being the case, surely OVO should adjust their meter reading requests accordingly? In any event, the differences in the readings are marginal but it is annoying when making the effort to provide readings on the requested date to have them overridden.
Nope. I just want my reminder 2 days before you need the reading.
I agree with Toddy. I DO submit my own readings by the deadline that OVO gives me but they still give estimated readings. I quote the last email I received from OVO:
"To make your next statement as accurate as possible, it's best if you give meter readings on 30/07/2017 (or just before). Without them we'll have to use estimated readings, which means you might be paying too much or too little." I did give them by the deadline. They should be waiting to give estimated readings on 31st July if I failed to submit by the 30th which they themselves said was the best date. Yes, they did say "(or just before)" but they didn't say don't submit on 30th even though they said that date was "best".
I queried the reason for getting estimated readings, this was the reply:-

The reading showing as estimated on 24/09 is a known error on our side. It's not actually an estimated reading. The system that registers your readings failed to label them correctly as smart meter readings. This has effected thousands of our customers unfortunately., but it is just an labeling error.
I queried the reason for getting estimated readings, this was the reply:-

The reading showing as estimated on 24/09 is a known error on our side. It's not actually an estimated reading. The system that registers your readings failed to label them correctly as smart meter readings. This has effected thousands of our customers unfortunately., but it is just an labeling error.

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