Solved

Can you speak to anyone at OVO on a Sunday?

  • 22 October 2017
  • 38 replies
  • 5099 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.
icon

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**
View original

38 replies

Userlevel 5

It’s a shame to hear you feel this way, @RTFishall. As mentioned in the best answer the team are available on social media to contact during the weekend. Here’s what to do in an emergency off supply situation. 

Userlevel 1

What sort of company closes it’s customer service department on a Saturday morning? To me it stands for Your our Customer and we don’t care!

Userlevel 5
Badge
All good points, @Phil_H, I'll feed them back.

Thanks!
Hi @Amy_OVO

Thanks for responding to my questions, I was not fully aware of the contact hours until I had read this post. I dont think many customers would be until they need to contact OVO.

I am glad you will pass on my comments.

OVO are an expanding company and I think as expansion happens and they are increasing their customer base, it becomes more important than ever to ensure those customers can contact OVO should they need to.

I think OVO should consider extending hours the customer phone lines are open to at least cover Saturday- some energy companies offer this already.

Also have a mod monitoring the forum over the weekend to help with any urgent queries.

Consider a system for monitoring emails out of hours.

Thanks again

Phil
Userlevel 5
Badge
Hey @Phil_H,

We offer the best phone cover we can, inline with common industry standards. We can offer support to cover the majority of the day, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm. As @Eva_OVO mentioned outside of this you can call our normal number and it will give you advise regarding emergency situations.

There is also OVO Help section on our website - this is available 24/7.

You’ll also be able to self serve your account on My OVO, whenever you want, wherever you are, on our super handy app.

Here’s some information on what to do in an emergency, this may be of use to someone finding this thread at a later date.

I'll ensure your feedback is passed on.

Thanks!
Hi @Eva_OVO

Thanks for replying however its clear from the posts above that the usual number is not being answered out of hours.

The answers from @Tim_OVO to the original email indicate that the problems described here were picked up on social media- which was the reason for my question above- what if you dont use social media?

Sending an email that might not be responded to for 48 hours, in an emergency is not good enough.

If a customer posts on this forum about an issue like this there is also no mod at the weekend/out of hours and other users are unlikely to be able to help.

Also i think there are probably still lots of customers like me who only use the internet/email from their home network, so if power goes down and their router goes down - no internet or email, so contact by telephone in the event of an emergency seems to be the only option that would allow all customers to contact OVO if there was an emergency out of hours.

From the above it appears OVO have ruled out having an emergency out of hours contact number and there have been a number posters commenting on this including @Transparent

I think OVO need to review this including how all customers can contact OVO in the event of an emergency, including getting a timely response to resolve an issue.

At the moment it sounds like there is a good chance you could have an emergency resulting is a loss of power Saturday PM and not be able to contact OVO till 9.00am Monday!
Userlevel 5
Good question, @Phil_H, if you find yourself in an off supply situation over the weekend you can call our usual contact number for advice.

There's a team who work through emails on Sunday, however the response time is 48 hours so you may not get an immediate response.
Hello @Amy_OVO and @Tim_OVO

For future reference what do you do, if like me, you dont use Facebook or Twitter???

Thank you
OK @Teri1967 so if your hypothesis is that you can't get responses from OVO

on a weekend, then I think you've just gone a long way towards proving that to be true!

Posting the above on the warmest Easter Bank-holiday Saturday since records began was a pretty sure way to get none of us other Forum Members responding then either! 😜


I have no idea either where you get the figure of £500 being a reason that a Supplier
may object to a switch. A switch is "held" for any level of outstanding debt, pending its resolution.

You can't actually take this matter to the "energy watchdog" until you've been through the stages of your Supplier's published Complaints Procedure. OVO
have a very good record of resolving complaints long before they get referred to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman

.

I would be surprised if OVO Customer Services
couldn't resolve your issue within Stage-1 of their Procedure, which elicits a response within 5 days. There is usually a very clear reason why a Switch gets halted - such as a missing meter reading or incorrect meter reference number.
we have been forced into having our energy supply from OVO due to our last company collapsing . They say we can switch to another supplier of our choice because of this, but when we try to do this they make it difficult.
Ive tried to switch to a company Bulb who have great customer service AND ARE OPEN AT WEEKENDS !! however have had an email yesterday to say OVO have rejected my switch ... I’ve looked into any reasoning why this may happen and there is none ... if you are due more than £500 of your bill is the only reason an energy supplier may stop this happening... this is not the case with me....so OVO why are you stopping customers from moving to another supplier ???
iand to add insult to injury your not open on weekends for enquiries . Don’t you realise people work during the week which is why some people cannot call during the week, therefore rely on weekends to sort out any problems .... I will be taking this to Energy watchdog and advertising this on social media if I get no resolve with this very 😡 angry customer
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
OK @Teri1967 so if your hypothesis is that you can't get responses from OVO on a weekend, then I think you've just gone a long way towards proving that to be true!

Posting the above on the warmest Easter Bank-holiday Saturday since records began was a pretty sure way to get none of us other Forum Members responding then either! 😜

I have no idea either where you get the figure of £500 being a reason that a Supplier may object to a switch. A switch is "held" for any level of outstanding debt, pending its resolution.

You can't actually take this matter to the "energy watchdog" until you've been through the stages of your Supplier's published Complaints Procedure. OVO have a very good record of resolving complaints long before they get referred to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman.

I would be surprised if OVO Customer Services couldn't resolve your issue within Stage-1 of their Procedure, which elicits a response within 5 days. There is usually a very clear reason why a Switch gets halted - such as a missing meter reading or incorrect meter reference number.
Hello anyone with an answer ????
we have been forced into having our energy supply from OVO due to our last company collapsing . They say we can switch to another supplier of our choice because of this, but when we try to do this they make it difficult.
Ive tried to switch to a company Bulb who have great customer service AND ARE OPEN AT WEEKENDS !! however have had an email yesterday to say OVO have rejected my switch ... I’ve looked into any reasoning why this may happen and there is none ... if you are due more than £500 of your bill is the only reason an energy supplier may stop this happening... this is not the case with me....so OVO why are you stopping customers from moving to another supplier ???
iand to add insult to injury your not open on weekends for enquiries . Don’t you realise people work during the week which is why some people cannot call during the week, therefore rely on weekends to sort out any problems .... I will be taking this to Energy watchdog and advertising this on social media if I get no resolve with this very 😡 angry customer
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

W
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.why should it only be for emergencies Stvs weekend
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?
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 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
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
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.
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.
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.

Reply