Question

"We've updated some of the charges shown in a previous statement as we now have accurate energy use information for this period. Your new bill shows the updated charges so you can see clearly what’s changed." - Why?

  • 18 October 2020
  • 14 replies
  • 391 views

Userlevel 1

For the last four months my Ovo bill notification emails have said

“Just to let you know, we've updated some of the charges shown in a previous statement as we now have accurate energy use information for this period. Your new bill shows the updated charges so you can see clearly what’s changed.“

I always provide a meter reading on the 10th of each month just as we were asked to do when we joined nearly two years ago. Now with the new billing system it sends me a first attempt at the monthly bill a week after the 10th, then the following month always seems to revise it and add a bit more on. What’s going on with the system? Why doesn’t it just accept my meter readings on the 10th and work out my bills from that? Some months have even been revised up and down three times. I can no longer work out what the correct bill is for a given month, as the email attached version is different from the one I download later from the site, which then changes again the following month.


14 replies

Userlevel 7

Thank you for posting, @TomatoPlant - I think this is the first example of this I’ve seen on the forum. I’m keen to be part of helping to find an answer that will help you and others, so let’s get cracking!

 

First off, can you confirm if the meter readings used in the summaries/statements have changed when a revised summary is sent? Or is it just the charges themselves? 

 

Can you confirm if the readings used are estimates (due to not having a smart meter or it not being able to communicate)?

Userlevel 1

Hi @Tim_OVO , sorry I’ve been busy the last week.

The previous meter readings don’t change, but the system adds a new one after mine. It seems to be extrapolating to midnight after the 10th of the month, instead of just working with the data I give on that day. That adds a little extra charge, because the first version of the bill that comes through doesn’t include the extra few hours’ charge.

My readings aren’t estimates. I don’t have a smart meter (well, apparently it is smart, but an older generation one that doesn’t work with Ovo). So I give manual readings on the 10th of each month. The system then extrapolates an estimate for a tiny fraction beyond that.

It seems to be trying to mimic how the smart meters work, but it just adds extra complexity to the bills. Particularly since it only adds the extrapolated version when the next month’s bill is ready (presumably because I’ve now given it a new data point for that month’s bill).

I raised a query because my September opening account balance was not the same as August closing figure. Customer service seem to have resolved that by going back to May when the new style statements started. But I’m still confused.

The revised statements suggest that the issue seems to have been related to an alteration from the previous statements which used an estimate taking into account the couple of days betwen the reading and the accounting date. Now the bill is based on my reading - but that alone can’t explain why the balances were wrong.

I’m not interested too much in the reasons, but I would like to be reassured that the issues that led to these errors are fixed. Any ideas?

Userlevel 7

Thanks for this info, @TomatoPlant 

 

I know that an estimated reading will be created (based on your projected usage, more info here) if there’s no reading provided the day before your monthly summary is due. This estimate would be for however many days there’s been since the last reading. That makes sense, as to bill you to the reading you gave x number of days before the bill would be inaccurate and indicate lower then actual usage. 

 

However this shouldn’t be resulting in a new bill being created for that period, the next month. 

 

I would recommend submitting a reading near the end of October, ideally this Saturday. Then let’s look at October’s monthly summary and let us know if you get a revision. Are your summaries not usually for the calendar month?

Userlevel 7

HI @hecate and thanks for posting!

 

I read your topic and it sounded similar to what @TomatoPlant has mentioned. Can you have a read of this topic and let us know if this is the same thing? Did you get an email with the same title as this topic?

 

 

Hi @Tim_OVO It may be the same issue. My billing date is 21st. Up until May I submitted reading on 19th  every month (as originally advised). The bill used that and added an estimated couple of days usage. All clear and no problem.

From May and the new style billing things went slightly haywire. Statements were headed with the wrong month and the closing meter readings were those I sent in manually. Ok again, no real problem. But then in September the opening account balance did not match the August closing balance - only by a few pounds, but still a concern. So I queried.

The revised statements series after the customer service team intervention went back to May and used estimated readings at 21st of each month. That resolved the issue up to the September statement. But October’s just arrived reverts to using my manual reading. So I’m not entirely convinced the problems are sorted...

 

Userlevel 7

Thanks for this extra bit of info, @hecate 

 

So your latest October summary, on the Monthly Charges PDF section of the online account, shows a ‘Starting balance’ for October as being different to your closing balance for the same summary the month before? If so, that is wrong and will need to be checked with our Support team

 

I must say that I thought we did monthly summaries, so charges and payments covering each actual month. Can you let me know if your homepage looks similar to this, @hecate 

 

 

@TomatoPlant how do this relate to the issue you described above?

Userlevel 1

@Tim_OVO my bills cover 11th-10th of each successive month, not aligned with calendar months. It’s always been that way since I joined, presumably because the go-live date for my service was the 10th of a month way back when. However when the new billing system came in, the green energy add-on did change to align with calendar month - which caused some confusion on the bill where it happened. I had to ask customer services what was going on there. That’s phasing out now we’re getting Ovo Beyond intead, but the main problem just relates to the main billing.

I can understand why it would work as you said - if the customer hadn’t provided a reading in the days before the bill, use an estimate. But it’s always re-producing an estimate for just a few hours after I submit one, even though I’ve been submitting on the date the old website used to specifically suggest.

@Tim_OVO thanks for looking at this again. Sorry if I did not explain clearly. The October opening and September closing balances are now the same once the bills were revised. What’s happened is that the billed meter readings have reverted to using my reading - which was the case when the statements were wrong. Compare Sept and Oct (this for electrcity, but gas is the same). So worry is that things will g wrong again - we’ll see in November. Does not look the same issue as @TomatoPlant 

 

Userlevel 7

@TomatoPlant @hecate are you happy if we keep this topic as ‘unsolved’ for you to update us when the next summary is sent? 

 

At this point I’m not sure if these two things are the same, or what could be causing revised billing at all. 

Userlevel 1

@Tim_OVO OK. I’ll supply a meter reading this weekend and we’ll see what happens next time a bill is sent.

Userlevel 1

@Tim_OVO Unsurprisingly, exactly the same thing has happened again. On the 10th October I supplied manual meter readings. On 15th October I received an email with my bill covering the period 11th August-10th October (Note the inclusion of August because, in the same way, that was updating my bill from the previous month). On the 18th Oct and 1st Nov I supplied more manual meter readings. Then on 16th November I received an email with the next bill, which again has changed the amount due from the previous month - it’s added a tiny bit of extra usage, presumably by interpolating a tiny fraction towards my readings from the 18th.

This is a very confusing way of billing your customers. Perhaps I’m now supposed to be supplying my readings on the 11th of each month instead of the 10th? Would that help the system?

Userlevel 6
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I do have some good news here. The new trial billing experience includes a countdown clock which shows you how long is left until the cycle ends.

An example of the new countdown clock
​​​​​​

This might help you to know when to put the readings in. I’ve also found that putting them in at least once a week seems to help the platform stay in sync. If you have access to this feature on the trial, it’s under Billing History > View current billing period.

 

I’m due to get a bill very soon, so I’ll be able to see whether I get this issue as well. I think I also have a possible theory on what’s happening here. Please bear with me for a few days while I dig through this some more.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for the update, @TomatoPlant it’s really handy to have this outlined in this way. 

 

Can you also confirm if you were presented with the same message, about the charges changing?

 

"We've updated some of the charges shown in a previous statement as we now have accurate energy use information for this period. Your new bill shows the updated charges so you can see clearly what’s changed."

 

As @Blastoise186 confirmed in that other topic, you’re part of this trial of the new billing experience. Please refer to those summaries in the new ‘Billing history’ tab, get an understanding of this, and come back here if there’s anything you wanted to update this topic with.

 

THEN, reach out to us via Web chat (scroll to the bottom) and copy this URL, save you having to type. This can then get raised with our billing platform team as a ‘case’. 

 

Sound like a plan?

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