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Can you speak to anyone at OVO on a Sunday?

  • 22 October 2017
  • 37 replies
  • 4884 views

I can't put in to words how fizzing I am with anger!!

At approximately 7:30am this morning (a Sunday), we lost power to our home. We called out an electrician who identified the issue as being the metering equipment by the main feed into the house. After a discussion with Electricity North West, we identified that the equipment is the responsibility of the supplier - Ovo.

We have a child with significant additional needs and we needed this resolving ASAP.

After checking the Ovo website, I gave the Customer Services number a call, and was returned with "Thanks for calling Ovo. We record all our calls etc. We're currently closed. Our opening hours are Monday to Saturday 8:00am etc etc"

So I then tried the emergency contacts provided on the website. Both useless.

I retried Electricity North West who said they had a number for Ovo that they could put me through to. Great I thought, until they put me through and I got... "Thanks for calling Ovo. We record all our calls etc. We're currently closed. Our opening hours are Monday to Saturday 8:00am etc etc"

Getting extremely frustrated with this, I proceeded to call every number published on the Ovo website (even the ones that were clearly not relevant) in the hope that answer human response that I could get would point me in the right direction.

In every single case, I got... "Thanks for calling Ovo. We record all our calls etc. We're currently closed. Our opening hours are Monday to Saturday 8:00am etc etc"

So I've got a few questions for Ovo:

1. Why the hell is it so difficult to get help on a Sunday?
2. Is it even lawful for an energy supplier to be so un-contactable?
3. HOW DO I GET MY ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BACK ON?

I will be contacting the energy watchdog and reporting this, and from viewing other comments within the forum, I can see that customer service is an issue for your company, particularly during out of hours issues.

I expect a response ASAP. This is unacceptable and I will be leaving publicly visible review that reflect such an extremely poor customer experience.
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Best answer by Tim_OVO 6 November 2017, 17:24

We picked this up on Twitter at the time, Andrew.

Just for anyone else who needs advice on a Sunday with an emergency, message us on Facebook or Twitter , our team will be able to assist.

Tim

**Updated 16/07/2019**
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37 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2
We picked this up on Twitter at the time, Andrew.

Just for anyone else who needs advice on a Sunday with an emergency, message us on Facebook or Twitter , our team will be able to assist.

Tim

**Updated 16/07/2019**
I'm having this issue just now ovo energy. I have been trying to get through all day Saturday on the phone numbers provided, including your 24hr number. All I need is a tag number. I am currently camping in my living room with my kids in -3 temperatures so cold I'm awake at 4am still searching online for another contact number I haven't tried. Every number is the same automated recording.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
I have been trying to get through all day Saturday on the phone numbers provided, including your 24hr number.

So sorry to hear this @Ashlleiigh

We are open and taking calls on Saturdays from 09:00-14:00. As is the company that can sort out TAG codes. After 14:00 on Saturday, you will need to hang on the line to get through to our Out of Hours team. We might be able to arrange an engineer visit if necessary.

Just to let you know that we now have a new Boost Forum for our PAYG customers. Check it out here: https://forum.boostpower.co.uk/.

Tim
I called the "24 hour number" and you're closed! You serve the UK, where we provide 24 hour customer services and banking. Yet you were closed! BS to the board and minority shareholders! BS to the women and men on the boards exec, BS to all of the OPs managers!

THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE

#FATCATS

any company thats marginalising YOU for profit!
#SERVICE.OVO.FAILURE
I have exactly the same issue. Been without electricity since we came home from holidays just after 8pm last night - same time as the 24 hour 7 day a week helpline closed. Tried all numbers available online to no avail. Phoned other energy suppliers who are all available at 7am on a Sunday morning but can’t help because OVO need to. What an absolute joke of a company, will be switching ASAP
We picked this up on Twitter at the time, Andrew.

Just for anyone else who needs advice on a Sunday with an emergency, message us on Facebook or Twitter, or call us on this number: 0330 102 7517 - eventually you'll get through to our out of hours support team.

Tim


Have you actually tried ringing this number👹
Userlevel 5
@TinaF as it's a weekday, if you're still off supply please call us ASAP: 0330 303 5063.
Tim_Ovo, I have the ability to find all the numbers suggested, however, each one plays the same’office is closed’ message and then cuts you off. 14 hours after sending a message to the Facebook team, the issue was resolved.

Not good enough. However, life is too short to continue to deal with such inadequacy, so this morning I have switched to British Gas.

We picked this up on Twitter at the time, Andrew.

Just for anyone else who needs advice on a Sunday with an emergency, message us on Facebook or Twitter, or call us on this number: 0330 102 7517 - eventually you'll get through to our out of hours support team.

Tim
Have you actually tried ringing this number👹
Help!!!

is Sunday and have a family and no power!!

no one to call have tweeted no reply!!!

have a smart meter - power restored and no power to property

I am absolutely amazed there is no support!!!


help!!!
Userlevel 6
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Sorry to hear about this @Stuspf. We usually have a team in to reply to messages on Twitter and Facebook messages over the weekend, so someone should have got back to you. They're also able to book emergency appointments and get an engineer out if needed.

If there is a power cut on a Sunday, you can contact the power cut helpline number on 105. They'll be able to confirm when the power will be restored.

Thanks,
Nancy
11:20pm
Hi. I have been waiting for 7hrs hrs for an emergency callout to arrive because of an overheating & burning cable at the meter.
I was told that they would arrive in about 3hrs. I cannot get through to speak to anybody.
what is your emergency out of hours call out number.
11:20pm
Hi. I have been waiting for 7hrs hrs for an emergency callout to arrive because of an overheating & burning cable at the meter.
I was told that they would arrive in about 3hrs. I cannot get through to speak to anybody.
what is your emergency out of hours telephone number.

1:35am & still waiting
We picked this up on Twitter at the time, Andrew.

Just for anyone else who needs advice on a Sunday with an emergency, message us on Facebook or Twitter, or call us on this number: 0330 102 7517 - eventually you'll get through to our out of hours support team.

Tim

The 03301027517 number is for Boost PAYG & is not out of hours.
2:10am Saturday 23/3/19
I have been waiting for over 10hrs hrs for an emergency callout to arrive because of an overheating & burning cable at the meter which Ovo are responsible for repairing.
I was told that they would arrive in about 3hrs.
I cannot get through to speak to anybody. what is your emergency out of hours call out number, I cannot find one.
This is not acceptable.
Userlevel 7
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That doesn't sound good @grumpyoldboy !

As it's a safety issue, and it's on the board where your Service Fuse and meter are fitted, then I'm wondering if OVO is the only party who could remedy this.

On which side of the meter is the overheating cable?
  • the incomer from the Service Fuse?
  • or the tails leading to the consumer unit?
Engineers working for your Distributed Network Operator (DNO) should also be able to fix this. Did you try their emergency number?

What region are you in?
Which DNO?

I would be interested to hear how this gets sorted. I have contacts in the Engineering Dept of the DNO who maintain the Distribution Grid local to me. So I'd like enough info to discuss the issue with them next time we meet.

Post a photo here if you can!

Thanks.
10:00am Saturday.
I received messages via Ovo Facebook page - Hopefully an engineer will arrive today before the house catches fire.
Apparently Ovo do not deem it necessary to have a 24/7 Emergency Number.
And UK Power Networks on 105 will only remove the main fuse because the fault is from the meter to the consumer unit.
Not very satisfactory.
Hello & Thankyou for your reply.
11:00 am Saturday 23/03/19

I received messages this morning via Ovo Facebook page after I left a message last night (Out of hours of course) - Hopefully an engineer will arrive today before the house catches fire.

I have restricted my power load to hopefully not set the meter alight.

Apparently, I am told, that Ovo do not deem it necessary to have a 24/7 Emergency Number.

And UK Power Networks on 105 stated that they will only remove the main fuse because the fault is from the meter to the consumer unit.

All not very satisfactory.

I am in Essex CM0 7T Area.

I did not know that I could contact the DNO Engineers directly as I have not seen any information regarding this anywhere.

Regards
Alan.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi again @grumpyoldboy I'm glad you've heard from OVO.

I'm a bit puzzled by the lack of a weekend emergency number for OVO. Let's just tag a couple of the Moderators, @Tim_OVO and @Nancy_OVO and ask for clarification.

Since this is a safety risk on cables connected to an item with a crimped seal, I think this is the sort of matter which needed an urgent response. Perhaps that level of response is only available to customers on the PSR.

The reason I have direct contact with engineers in my locality is because I'm a member of a community team running a "Smart Sub-station" on an Ofgem-funded trial. You and I have different DNO's, but I'd still like to ask them what should be the correct procedure in a case like yours.
23/3/19 10:30pm
Hi
The Engineer arrived at about 2:30 pm today.

They had to change the meter because of the overheated cable but they only install smart meters now.

Luckily I have some experience in the electrical field & was able to restrict the load & constantly monitor the cable overnight.

Others may have gone with the Uk Power Networks route & had the Main Fuse removed.
In that case I would have been without any power for about 23 hrs. So no telephone or internet for contact overnight. & everything else that goes along with that.

When I received the reply after the 8am Saturday start time on the Ovo Facebook page the contact was very helpful.

Because the Ovo helpdesk 0330 303 5063 is M-F 8am > 6pm I was asked to contact the Boost PAYG section of Ovo on 0330 102 7517 which is open on Saturday 9am > 1pm but I was unable to contact them because the call just transferred to the closed section.

The Facebook contact then took over and contacted the engineers.

I was informed that:

Unfortunately we don't have an emergency line for pay monthly customers, simply because it's incredibly rare that a credit meter will require an emergency assistance.

I would have thought that some kind of 24/7 contact should be available for safety purposes.

All rather frustrating & worrying.

Regards
Alan
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Let's wait and see that the Moderators say, @grumpyoldboy

I've had a look through the Ofgem Regulations to see if this type of fault is covered in any of your statutory rights. It seems not.

There are minimum timescales for Energy Companies to respond to certain events. These are mainly concerned with customers on the Priority Services Register, and those who experience top-up errors with Prepayment meters.

However, I can find nothing concerning safety... which seems odd to me!

Ofgem do have periods of Public Consultation from time to time:

There was one at the end of last year concerning the high proportion of those on Prepayment Meters who voluntarily remove themselves from energy supplies for periods in excess of three hours. This is an indicator of households in need of assistance, and it demonstrates Ofgem's social concern that they are evaluating how to best tackle the issue.

There is also a current Public Consultation on RIIO-ED2, which is profits-constraint levied against DNOs unless they comply with directives to reduce losses in the Electricity Distribution Grid.

So you could raise the safety issue with Ofgem... or indeed your MP.

Everything I have researched shows that both OVO and your DNO are operating within the performance guidelines in your case. The DNO's suggestion of pulling the Service Fuse is understandable if they perceive that will remove the safety risk.

Of course, if your DNO had sent an engineer to site, he may well have decided that he might as well fix the issue of the Meter Tails whilst he was there. So you could possibly have been able to enjoy an ongoing electricity supply anyway. But such action would be down to common-sense rather than any regulatory requirement.

If you feel that such a safety matter should be embraced by the energy supply regulations, then you should take this up with the relevant authorities. Ofgem rely on being told about problems, and far too few people respond to Public Consultations anyway.

If it was me, I'd write to my MP. I know him well enough to know that he would bounce my email onto the relevant parties and require them to respond. In fact, I usually pre-empt that by writing in such a way that the facts are clearly laid out and ready for him to forward.

A letter from an MP is immensely powerful, and every civil servant and public body will realise that they must provide a proper response in a timely fashion.

The point you'd need to make is that there appears to be no failing on the part of your Energy Supplier, nor DNO, and yet you were facing a safety issue which would deny you power over a weekend. Therefore you seek your MP's advice on whether the regulatory framework needs modifying such that there is a guaranteed timeframe for re-establishing power where public safety is at risk.

Is that OK?
Userlevel 6
Badge +4
Hi @grumpyoldboy,

I've moved your other posts onto here so they're all on the same thread.

We provide customer support during the week and emergency support out-of-hours in line with industry standards.

As your energy supplier, we're only authorised to repair/replace the meter itself. Anything prior to the meter would need to be looked into by the DNO. Anything after/in the property would need to be looked into by an electrician.

Hope this helps
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @Nancy_OVO Can you please clarify your final comment?

The fault reported by @grumpyoldboy is on the meter. It's the connections where the tails leave to go towards his consumer unit.
Userlevel 5
Hey @Transparent,

As Nancy said this would be down to us to fix as it's part of the meter. Anything after the meter is a job for an electrician. Anything before the meter is down to the DNO.

@PeterR1947 have you got any experience with the issue @grumpyoldboy had?

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