Why has my Direct Debit amount changed?

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The debate and angst caused by fixed direct debits, account balances and account reviews should have disappeared with the introduction of smart meters. The only reason it hasn't is because the energy providers don't want to pre-fund 1 month of customers' energy, and allow payment in arrears.

The concept of building credit in summer months to cope with higher winter bills is convenient for the energy providers but makes little sense in a Smart world where real-time data and variably direct debits exist. Yes, many folk like the idea of knowing how much is coming from their bank account each month and that's fine. But there are others, like us, who would much prefer to pay each month for exactly the amount of energy we've used.

Many folk live increasingly complex lives where our energy needs are far from linear or predictable. Weather patterns are changing all the time. To watch OVO and other energy suppliers spending good money trying to predict and graphically display how much gas and electricity we'll be using in the coming months and year is laughable and frankly insulting. We know our life-style and situation better than anyone and are able to budget and manage our finances and energy usage. That should be possible with smart meters, but energy providers don't give you the option, at least not yet.
Userlevel 3
I couldn't agree with you more.
I was told that smart meters would eliminate estimated bills as you only pay for what you use.
OVO have found a way to still estimate bills but not monthly or quarterly as before but yearly and then tell us that it's super complicated to work out.

Why can't we have an option which I would be more than happy with.

I promise to keep 200 pounds in OVO's account (so my bill will always be paid even if my DD gets refused, which it won't) and OVO just bill me for my usage every month via a variable DD.
No more estimated bills so it has to be easier and cheaper from OVO's end.

End of month my readings are taken the charges are calculated as normal, then OVO send me an email telling me my bill is ready, I log on to my account and check that it looks ok and 3 days later you take the money from my account. BILL PAID IN FULL.

I understand that this option won't be for everyone but at least offer it as an option for those who want it.

Please OVO listen to your customers and give us what we want.

For information, First utility do this and I was with them with smart meters since 2009 so it can and is being done.
I left them because of thier awful customer service.

I have had a letter saying they are changing my direct debit, to higher amount each month to cover my usage, how they have estimated my electricity to over £1000 a year I don't understand as I am out at work all day,but apart from that it says to log on to my account to agree change can some one tell me where i find the page to agree?
Hey @godders123

You can find more information about how we calculate your Direct Debit amount here - https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-answers/topics/payments-and-statements/payments/how-do-you-work-out-my-direct-debit-amount.html.

To increase the Direct Debit amount yourself, just visit the Payments section of your online My OVO account.

Only joined OVO a few months ago and have a fixed price for 2 years but it appears to work the same as other suppliers i have used. During the winter months, you go over your monthly price, but in summer, usage goes right down and balances out and the payment is amended higher or lower when a new term begins. So why have i received an email this soon telling me to up my D.D payments? It's winter! Surely i can wait until the summer and my usage drops below and review it then?
Userlevel 7
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@TLJ Adding your comment here as this topic should help understand why your direct debit may be reviewed.

Have a read, if you have anymore questions post below.

Userlevel 2
We joined OVO last year on a 2 year fixed price plan from a recommendation on MSE Energy Club.

We've recently been asked to increase the DD from £81 to £104. I think that is too much as we have solar PV and water heating which will significantly lower our usage during the Spring/Summer/Autumn months. I am prepared to increase the monthly DD a little, but not by 28%.

I went onto the website to change it to £90, but it will not allow anything less than the recommended figure. So, as the only other option is to not change it at all, we'll continue paying £81 and see what the recommended increase is later in the year.
Hi Andy,
I'm having similar issues. Mine is going from £50 to £150 per month. No way to change it lower.

I'm trying to find a forum or any information that tells me how I can get out of my contract.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Userlevel 5
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@andyfras @JanH64

Hello both of you, please could you let me know how often you have been submitting meter readings and what type of meter you have (Smart/Credit) and i will get back to you as soon as possible,

I'd hate to see you leave OVO and hope to sort this for you if I can.

If your usage has been higher than usual owing to the very cold weather we had that may be temproarily putting your bills up, and please bear in mind they do vary and come back down.

Should you wish to contact customer services dirct they are available on Freephone 0330 303 5063, the team down there in Bristol are lovely and friendly and you get thru super fast,

Please let me know how you get on, and I really hope you will get things sorted and stay with OVO.

All the very best

Bumblebee 🙂
I'm on a smart meter. As I understand it from an email I received from Emily, rather than keep the direct debit the same amount for the year and review it after a full year you prefer to treble it as soon as it goes into arrears, ie over winter, with a view to then lowering it in summer.

No thanks
Userlevel 2
I have a standard meter and submit readings each month, as requested.

My predicted (by you) cost for the year is £1,088 - dividing by 12 gives £90.67/month, so why am I being asked (forced) to increase payments to £104/month?
Two weeks or so back I received a letter from OVO saying that I needed to increase my Direct Debit. I discussed this with my household and we agreed that, given the time of year, this may or may not be necessary and that we would rather wait to see whether we can redeem the debt over the next few months. So we took no action. The website's advice on Direct Debits is that we may sometimes be in credit and other times in debit.

But yesterday I received another letter from Ovo saying that they are taking it upon themselves to increase the Direct Debit regardless. I and my household find this, to put the best slant on it, arrogant and high handed. I will send a private message, as suggested, giving my details but I am very minded to switch suppliers as soon as my contract ends. Such treatment makes one wonder who makes decisions about my bank account - Ovo or me?

I am also surprised that I am unable to talk to an operative about my problem. There is no phone number on the letter, or, as far as I can see, on the website. This makes me feel that I am being manipulated, my own decisions are again being ignored and are not worth discussion. Please could Ovo address both these questions? With thanks - Jl
Userlevel 7
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Hi @andyfras and @JanH64

Thanks for flagging your questions here, it will definitely help others that have similar queries.

@andyfras you might find this page on our website helpful in understanding how we calculate your direct debit and any possible changes to it.


With your situation @JanH64 there are a couple of questions I have for you. Firstly a direct debit of £50 is incredibly low, so it would be good to know if you refined your quote when you signed up, i.e entered your actual yearly usage figures from your previous supplier, or simply confirm the size of your house and postcode (at which point we make the best estimate we can, to start you off).

Secondly, that jump seems high, so could be driven by the information at sign up not being right, or your usage has far exceeded what we thought you would use.

If you are concerned that the increase doesn't seem right or in line with the energy you have actually used, then our Customer Care team can definitely take a look at this for you to see if there is anything going with your account.

Hope this helps.

Hi, we have noticed with our March payment we have been charged £135.00? Our agreed Direct debit is £95.00.
Userlevel 7
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Hi @Marvin27.
Welcome to the Forum :)

That Direct Debit doesn't sound right, does it?

Firstly, can I point out that the Forum is populated with fellow customers. Although there are six Moderators, the postings here aren't viewed by OVO staff in Customer Services or Accounts. So you really ought to be raising this issue with CS by emailing them at hello@ovoenergy.com.

Secondly, I don't have a copy of OVO's DD terms & conditions in front of me, so I don't know under what circumstances they are permitted to increase the amount. However, I'm fairly sure that it is against the Banking Code to do so without prior Notification.

Let us know if you require further help.
Userlevel 7
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Hi @JaneL,

Your first Forum posting :)
What a shame it had to be on a subject like this. However, let's see if I can help.

The Forum is a place for us Customers (and non-OVO users) to help each other. So your posting here won't be seen by staff in Customer Services or Accounts.

OVO use some clever in-house software to calculate by how much your recent usage is above the Prediction-Path they used to set your Direct Debit in the first place. If this indicates an under-payment by the end of your contract, then you receive the letter you refer to.

Customers on Smart Meters are in a better position because the Usage/Prediction calculation can be performed regularly due to the daily readings.

Those, like me, without Smart Meters are probably only sending readings once per month. So by the time the Usage/Prediction calculation spots that there is a divergence, there has to be a much higher leap in the Direct Debit. It needs to cover not only the future Usage above the Prediction Path, but also the arrears for the last couple of month's readings.

I don't know whether you have a Smart Meter, nor how far you are into your contract, so I can't help with any more accurate illustrative calculations.

However, armed with that background info, I hope you're now in a better position to discuss the issue with OVO directly.
Thanks for your quick response, I have just emailed and will let you know the outcome
Userlevel 4
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I can see people's frustration at this averaging process that OVO use, but the information on the DD Review page seems clear and helpful, providing useful examples of how the calculations are arrived at. However, I can see that in-month jumps (usually in the winter) are not helpful to some, although this will obviously be offset in the warmer/lighter months when the DD will be reduced. Additionally, any excess payments receive interest at a much higher rate than most savings accounts, so it's not as if OVO don't recognise this. I don't know whether Andy or Jan reduced their DDs in prior months when presumably they were "over-paying" but if they left it at he original average, they would have received interest and built up some level of credit balance to offset future payments anyway.
However, it could be argued that if OVO have the ability to amend a DD on a monthly basis, then it should tie in with smart meter readings, which provide a true cost, to produce an "actual" monthly amount (adding in the fixed standing charges etc.) to be debited - albeit it would in practice probably have to be delayed by a month. This would only work for dual fuel customers if they have both gas and electric smart meters (I only have an electric SM) and submit "manual" gas readings monthly. But as one of the main arguments put forward by the industry for smart meters is accurate readings (and billing), then it goes against the grain somewhat when the resulting DD is in truth an estimate.
I hate the automated direct debit adjustment, its my money, my bank account so should be my choice of how much per month I want to pay to cover my bills. What I hate also is OVO set it to a minimum amount so you can't lower it! Mine has gone from £157 per month to £200!
No, I don't think so, this error by OVO has prompted me to look at other energy suppliers probably resulting in a loyal customer and contributor switching.
Strange how many mention since smart meters🤔.
Funny enough I was quite happy pre smart meter, is it a pure coincidence? of course not its suppose to be accurate. Well how come £157 per month over time made us £1200 in credit and now we need to pay £201 per month just to cover our annual bill🤔
This is something that really annoys me about Ovo!!!

You're happy to have 100's of pounds in credit, essentially my money in YOUR account! But do you chase me to decrease my Direct Debit or proactively offer rebates! Not a chance!

As soon as you're out of pocket by a tiny amount you're like a tramp on chips, chasing me to increase my DD and then no doubt will up my payments for me, just cos you're that thoughtful!

The balance will even out in the spring/summer months so leave me alone and leave my payments amount as it is. If not I'll just switch!
Userlevel 2
Having finally conceded to the increase (as though I had any choice) a few days ago, I've now had another email 'requesting' a further £2 increase. Perhaps I should have stayed with BG.
Userlevel 7
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Hmmm. Lot's to think about here.

Firstly, @FoenticFreek, welcome to the Forum, but can I point out that the people you're directing your comments to don't read these postings. We're fellow customers discussing things here.

I can't tell from your User Profile, but I'm assuming that, like me, you started an OVO contract during the winter months? Probably those who join OVO during the warmer months of the year are able to build up a credit and are hence less likely to receive requests to increase DD's.

@andyfras, I have no idea why OVO's in-house tariff system would be generating a DD increase letter for such a tiny amount! £2 would seem to be well inside the margins of error on their Forward Prediction algorithms!

I suggest you email hello@ovoenergy.com and tell them just that!
Userlevel 2
TBH I can't be bothered to fight this anymore. I'll just let the credit build up, working on the principle that I'm getting better interest on it than I would in a savings account.
Userlevel 7
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That's understandable, @andyfras.

There must be quite a lot of OVO customers who are only too pleased to be accruing 3% on their credit!

I've been wondering if this is slewing OVO's in-house Forward Prediction algorithm. If there isn't a filter to remove those of us who deliberately leave a few £100 on account, then this could be one possible reason why others are more likely to receive DD-increase requests!