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What can I do if I have problems with Spark Energy?

  • 15 August 2020
  • 13 replies
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HI

I believe Spark energy has been taken over by OVO. I have been a Spark Customer since Feb 2019. I have had a lot of issues, but been completely ignored by Spark. I want to get in touch with Stephen Fitzpatrick, I have sent an email to his add: stephen.fitzpatrick@ ovoenergy.com. I am not sure if he would ever get to see my email.

I have sent over 45 emails to Spark and spent over 353 hours of phone call. with no help in sight

I need help desperately. I would be grateful for help.

many thanks

Dr.U.Rao

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Best answer by Ed_OVO 17 August 2020, 12:55

Hi @Usha Rao

 

I’m really sorry to hear you’re having issues with Spark Energy.

 

Whilst we have acquired Spark, they’re still running as a separate company, which means not only do they have their own Customer Care Team, they have their own systems as well. This means, unfortunately, that I’m unable to access your account to have a look at what’s going on, so we’ll only be able to give you general advice on this one.

 

@Transparent, as always, has given some fantastic advice here, and I’d like to add one more thing, a link to an article that includes a creep test. This is a simple test you can do yourself that determines if your meter is clocking usage when nothing is being used. It may be worth doing this, making a note of the results (times and readings), then sending this over to them, as this will prove if the meter is faulty.

 

The other type of meter issue is if the meter is clocking too fast whilst an appliance is being used. This can be confirmed by doing a kettle test. To do this, make sure all appliances are turned off at the mains, except the kettle. Check the meter reading and write it down. Boil the kettle, and keep an eye on the meter reading. A typical 1.5L kettle uses about 0.1 kWh, so if it uses anymore than this, the meter may be faulty.

 

I’d recommend doing both of these, and sending them over to Spark so they can get a full understanding of the issues with the meter. Here’s their contact page, if you’re struggling to get email responses, I’d try the webchat system, or by calling, as these are more direct routes of contact.

 

We’d love to hear any updates about this one, as I’m sure there are others on this forum that have had similar issues, so it’s really helpful to gain insight into problems (and their solutions) like this.

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Userlevel 7
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Hi @Usha Rao and welcome to the Forum.

There’s a number of points in what you say. Let me just separate them out and deal with them one at a time… in no particular order.

 

1: There’s no point writing to Stephen Fitzpatrick. Whilst he is the founder of OVO Energy, he is no longer the CEO. You’re aiming too high up the chain of Management.

 

2: You don’t give us any idea what ‘flavour’ of issues you’ve had with Spark. We don’t know, for example, if this is technical, financial or contractual. That makes it very difficult to offer any straight-forward advice… which is the whole point of having a Forum.

 

3: If you have raised a problem with Spark, it should take just two emails. No more. Anything beyond that is going to get very messy. That means you’re unlikely to get a satisfactory response from a member of their Customer Services because they won’t be able to assimilate the whole gamut of previous communications.

 

4: The reason I know you need only two emails is because I’ve read their Complaints Procedure. So the obvious next question is this: “Have you followed that Procedure?”!

If you have followed the Procedure then once Stage-2 has lasted 8-weeks, you reach a status referred to as “Deadlock”.

At that point you take the matter to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman. To do so you require evidence of having completed the prescribed Complaints Procedure. That’s dead easy because you would produce the two emails you sent, with the time/date stamp in the header.

 

So where are you in this process?

Hi

Thank you.

My main issues since last year ( I joined in Feb 2019 and quickly realised  by April)

  1. Over charging for my level of consumption *( single doctor no kids, no pets, living in a single bedroom mid-level flat). The billing increased from £40 to £67 to £79 to £84 then in January 2020 to £112/ month. + I was also told that I owed further £103. I have since April been trying to get them to look at the billing, meter settings or meter check but met with no success. as they are good at fobbing you off or completely ignoring your requests.
  2. The readings are too high, even when I am oncall, annual leave away from home and no-ones at home 
  3. So so far I have paid >£1300 for 1 person who is hardly home, as I do long hours and oncalls, even work over weekends
  4. I discussed with other people living in similar flats in my building( couples/ retired people) who are staying home or working from home, are paying far less than what I am paying( I am paying 2- 3 times more)
  5. Discussed with an electrician + plumber and was told none of my heating equipment( which I stopped using since March) is very economical and would not generate this kind of bills. Plus water heating is minimum( showers _ 10 minutes).I have no other specialised equipment at home
  6. I have called millions of times spoken to lots of staff and written loads of emails but have had no helpful response.
  7. I have asked for meter check but that is starightforward either or someone to look at the calculations. readings d settings
  8. Incompetent and inefficient customer service staff
  9. The readings could be faulty as the meter may be faulty but noone is listening
  10. So I though I would write to the CEO, that was name given to me 
  11. Can you help please, how do I sort this out( how to get meter check if that is ok then why the high readings?
  12. Billing of >£1300 is too much for 1 person
  13. many thanks
Userlevel 7
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Thanks @Usha Rao - that’s a complex list of observations. In a nutshell, you believe that the costs are too high based on your assessment of your usage. On the face of it, you would appear to be correct.

There are still too many variables for me to advise on a cause or a remedy.

I don’t know, at this stage, whether you are using only electricity, or if these figures include gas for cooking and/or heating.

Without knowing the actual usage figures from your meter(s) we can’t tell whether the meter reading are too high, or the calculations based on them are erroneous. Have you done this calculation over the period you’ve been with Spark?

We also can’t rule out an error completely unrelated to your actual usage:

  • Have Spark taken over the correct meter number? These details are held by the national meter databases: ECOES for electricity and Xoserve for gas. Have you checked the meter numbers on your bills?
  • Is there a 3rd party ‘stealing’ energy from your meter(s)? In flats this is all too easy simply by connecting the tails to the wrong meter! It may not be intentional.

Are you ok to do the checks I’ve suggested? Please ask if you want clarification.

Can you give us an overview of how you heat the flat and your domestic hot-water (DHW)?

Thanks

Hi

thanks for the email.

Everything is electricity based no gas, unfortunately.

I upload the meter readings but my problem is that the readings are way too high for a single doctor with very low usage, even my normal days finish at 7-8 pm. oncalls are longer.

My worry is that is the meter faulty, as my billing is very very high .

I have recorded meter readings which show that even when I am oncall, the readings are high . I have a table with recordings not sure how to upload /attach it.

One more thing I forgot to mention : suddenly Spark have started to send texts for  me to pay £80 then in JUly it increased to £153 now to £251.83. This is despite the fact one of the staff said he was looking into it (never communicated afterwards) and siad he would withold the billing till it is osrted( from June)

Usha

 

I use showers mostly so heating water 10 minutes if at all everyday( electric shower so heating starts almost immediately) , even if I took bath it would be heating for 1 hour prior to it and that is once in a while.

 

Room heating: no heating since end of March, before that it was timed for 2-3 hours max as it causes dryness and sinusitis. in one room only( one which is being used)

Userlevel 7
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That mention of a bath might be significant @Usha Rao. Does that mean you have a hot water cylinder with an immersion heater?

If so, is it a standard 3kW heater?

What temperature is its thermostat set for?

What is the tank capacity?

 

Turning to room heating: What is the heat emitter?

  • Electric fan heater
  • Convection heater
  • Storage radiator

What is the rating of this heater? 2-3kW?

 

Quite apart from whether your bill is correct, I’m also seeking out ways you could save £s by storing energy at cheaper periods. There’s some possibilities starting to emerge.

 

Going back to the Spark bills: How many kWh have you used since March? (Only calculate this from complete months for which you have received bills).

If you multiply that number of Units by the cost per kWh, what result do you get?

If there’s a monthly standing charge, now add that.

Do Spark’s bills agree with that cost?

Table 1 : High readings even if I am oncall , annual leave away from home.sudden variations in readings for the same usage esp weeks : 13/5,18/5,27/5

How can I upload attachments on this forum? Can yo help please

Userlevel 7
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The Forum software doesn’t permit attachments. You can upload a photo or scanned image in several formats, such as I’ve done with two sections of a Bill here.

Be careful not to post any information that personally identifies you or your address.

But how did you upload it

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

It will open a window to your filing system, from which you can choose the image you want.

 

If you get stuck, you can also send me a PM (Private Message) which isn’t visible to the rest of the Forum. Click on my User ID Transparent at the top of this post. Then click on the Send Message button.

Userlevel 5

Hi @Usha Rao

 

I’m really sorry to hear you’re having issues with Spark Energy.

 

Whilst we have acquired Spark, they’re still running as a separate company, which means not only do they have their own Customer Care Team, they have their own systems as well. This means, unfortunately, that I’m unable to access your account to have a look at what’s going on, so we’ll only be able to give you general advice on this one.

 

@Transparent, as always, has given some fantastic advice here, and I’d like to add one more thing, a link to an article that includes a creep test. This is a simple test you can do yourself that determines if your meter is clocking usage when nothing is being used. It may be worth doing this, making a note of the results (times and readings), then sending this over to them, as this will prove if the meter is faulty.

 

The other type of meter issue is if the meter is clocking too fast whilst an appliance is being used. This can be confirmed by doing a kettle test. To do this, make sure all appliances are turned off at the mains, except the kettle. Check the meter reading and write it down. Boil the kettle, and keep an eye on the meter reading. A typical 1.5L kettle uses about 0.1 kWh, so if it uses anymore than this, the meter may be faulty.

 

I’d recommend doing both of these, and sending them over to Spark so they can get a full understanding of the issues with the meter. Here’s their contact page, if you’re struggling to get email responses, I’d try the webchat system, or by calling, as these are more direct routes of contact.

 

We’d love to hear any updates about this one, as I’m sure there are others on this forum that have had similar issues, so it’s really helpful to gain insight into problems (and their solutions) like this.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hi @Usha Rao - I realise that you have a demanding job. There’s no time pressure for you to reply to this Topic, but please be assured that we are ready to help further once you have a moment to respond. :slight_smile:

 

And I have one other possible solution for you to consider:

You could request that Spark fit a Smart Meter for you. This has two main advantages:

a: its readings can be compared with the meter which was removed. If it transpires that the new usage is substantially lower over the next few months, then you have a justifiable claim for compensation.

b: a Smart Meter provides daily readings to Spark which can be viewed online. So if there is unexpected usage during a time when the flat is empty, we can help you to track down what’s happening.

 

So, for example, here’s a histogram of my electricity usage thus far during August:

 

and I can look deeper into the times when I used electricity yesterday (Weds 19th) :

 

As you can see, if anything was drawing electricity whilst you were at work, it would soon show up on a graph!

Having a Smart Meter is an excellent way to monitor what is using energy within the home.

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