Why has my Direct Debit amount changed?



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Userlevel 1
@Transparent , @Darran_OVO , @Rooty , @Amy_OVO , @LOZ77 , @Rooty , HMB ,
chippy419 , MartynA , lovebaseball , GTurner.
Within the past four months (page six of this forum) we have all commented on reviews to direct debits.
I have been confused about the recommendations that I have been advised to alter my direct debits to in six months altering it from between three times the initial amount to half the initial amount. At the moment my direct debit is on hold.
After a lot of emails to hello@ovoenergy asking for clarification on the direct debit calculations I have received the following information to my recent email to them;

Thanks for getting back in touch,
You are correct, and I have passed your comments on to the relevant team.

The email I sent is;
I think that I may now better understand how the differences in the indicated costs for previous months on the Payments and Balance charts arise.
Please correct me if I am wrong.

1/. When reading the chart in July I assumed that the costs shown for the previous months, January to June, were for historic data collected for these months.
This assumption is incorrect.

2/. The projected costs for the current and future months, August to December, were based on calculations which took into account the variables you mention.

3/. These variables are also applied retrospectively to the previous months and are triggered when a Statement is issued or a Payment made.

4/. The values are hypothetical and possibly based on not the best of algorithms but do influence the calculations for the Recommended Direct Debit payments.

5/. These hypothetical values bare no resemblance to the Monthly values shown on the Usage chart or the costs calculated on the Statements.

6/. Perhaps these limitations should be clearly stated on the Payments and Balance chart.

At least now we have a little more information about the direct debit calculation algorithm.
I am sure there could be a simpler one.

Grandfather Maxwell
Userlevel 1
As a result of more emails to the my OVO team I have received some information about the recommended Direct Debit alterations.
If you are on a single rate tariff, are not in debt, have not missed any D.D. payments and provide frequent regular meter readings you should have no problems.
If you are in arrears or have missed a payment you can expect the Collection Team's correspondence informing you of increased D.D payments. (If you contact them they will try and help to resolve problems).
So why do I have a problem with fluctuating Direct Debit recommendations on the OVO website ?
I have a smart, smets1, meter which provides daily readings to OVO and have an Economy 7 two rate tariff.
This combination seems to confuse the system resulting in the multitudinous recommendations for D.Ds.
The solution is quite simple - to allow OVO to record half hourly meter readings to which I have agreed.
Seems a bit strange to me that in the distant past a quarterly visit by the meter reader worked fine and in the recent past monthly meter readings submitted by me worked fine, albeit with a different supplier, but I suppose this is progress.
It will now take a month to process this data and produce a meaningful result for D.D recommendations.
So enjoy life until September but then watch this space.

Grandfather Maxwell
Userlevel 5
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Thanks for the update, @Grandfather Maxwell, I'm glad there seems to be some resolution at present, lets hope it continues. ☺
Userlevel 1
There seems to be little or no resolution.
It is now September and OVO have had over a month to record my smart meter readings every half hour so that they can produce more accurate predictions of my future usage. (Their idea not mine). They are still regularly advising me to change the amount of the Direct Debit.

My latest rant is because on 17th. September the Recommended amount was £14 which is ridiculously low and increased it to £67 on 26th September.
I have had no statement or made no payments in this period. My current balance has remained constant at £248. We have had some rain but no great weather events, the temperature is average for this time of year, the storage radiators are still switched off and my usage, as it has been for the last three months, is around 15 kWhs a day.
So what in the OVO system triggers these recommended changes?
Userlevel 1
The reply from OVO:

Thank you for taking the time to email us today.
I understand that on your online account it shows the recommended amount, however, this has not taking into account the credit that is on your account currently.
We will only state that its a recommended amount, however your current direct debit of £164 per month is covering your usage.
I do apologise for any inconvenience caused
I hope this has been helpful.

So what in the OVO system triggers these recommended changes?
I would have thought it reasonable to ask for a DD of one-twelfth of my forecast annual cost (based on my last three years) and this has normally been my experience. So why when I am paying £88 a month on a forecast usage of £963 am I being asked to pay £120 a month? My current payment is surely enough.
Userlevel 1
croissantneuf
I have been pursuing this problem with Ovo all of this year with many excuses by them for, but no explanation of the reasons for, the frequent changes to the Recommended Direct Debit payments.
The advice they give is to ignore these "Recommendations" but this does not really satisfy me as THEY can increase the amount if I do not comply.
To quote them,
"We also regularly review customers' Direct Debit amounts and yours may be updated in the future."

Grandfather Maxwell
Grandfather Maxwell I think I'm due an explanation. It's not complicated in my case, just wrong.

My account is £205 in credit but ovo want to increase my did, why?

My account is £178 in credit and I’ve been emailed several times to increase my monthly direct debit payments. Why? I submit regular meter readings so my usage isn’t estimated. This proposed increase feels unfair and unnecessary. If my account was £8 in credit I could understand it, but it isn’t. I’m not very happy about it and I’d like an explanation.

I see very little replies here to many question t with regards to them asking yiu to increase your direct debit when in credit by a large amount can only be put down to Ovo wanting more money in their own bank accounts as opposed to your. 

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

Hey @Tezza, @Nicola66 and @Whigsvolt  - I’ve moved your posts over here where you can find loads of helpful information about Direct Debits.

Hi Nancy, I don't believe looking at other peoples posts will provide me the answer. I don't have the time this search. Can you or one if your colleagues provide the rationale behind the company saying they will increase my did? Thanks terry

Userlevel 5

You can find all the information you need here, @Tezza.

I have written to Customer Services re my direct debit, which seems to chime with the experience of others.

7th Dec, I put my meter reading in £400 odd in credit. DD suggested £112.

9th Dec Email saying my DD was far below what I should be paying. Estimated usage until end of contract £954 ,3 mths, and 3 payments of £142. Suggested DD £157. Still over £400 in credit, and bills for same period last year £540.

Uptodate statement on my account

10th Dec Email with current statement still over £ 400 in credit suggested payment £122.

I am angry about this not just for myself as I can see what to do, but the language used 'you are far below what you need to pay' is quite intimidating, and could frighten people on low incomes, or who are not quite sure how to work things out into paying more money unnecessarily. 

There has obviously been a lot of correspondence on this. It is time it was sorted

Userlevel 1

@Tezza, @Nicola66@Whigsvolt  and Eva_OVO

For almost twelve months I questioned why I was being advised to change my Direct Debit amount frequently. The review of the “Recommended Amount” changed at least once a month and in some cases several times a month. The “information” referred to by Eva provides the following excuse:

“Getting multiple Direct Debit reviews

Everything from a cloudy patch of weather, to a good run of TV can change the amount of energy you use, which is why we run every customer's account through several health checks each year. So it’s possible that we’ll need to change your Direct Debit amount more than once.”

The advice I was given by several OVO personnel was to ignore the recommendations. Which I did until near the end of my contract when on they recommendation that I reduced my D.D. to £71. Then to be “Recommended” on the following day that I should increase it to £87. The weather did not change that much over night.

They seem to have little comprehension that some customers like to budget for an annual monthly Direct Debit spread over twelve months.

My advice is to object strongly about “Recommended Increases” , request full explanations for the increases and emphasise you want to budget your payments.

Grandfather Maxwell

 

Userlevel 1
ajrichard       My experience has been similar. When I was in credit the “Recommended Amount” showed that I should increase the monthly payments. When challenged the OVO staff said that this should not happen. But it does. Grandfather Maxwell  

Cheers all, they have decided to not implement their recommended increase and review it in 3 months. That's fine because I imagine that by then we will be over the worst of the cold weather.

Thanks for your advice

Tezza

There is nothing on the helpful hints on DDs, which explains why the recommended DD can change so much from day to day. I appreciate the review process, and have had it with other providers, but this constant change, plus the misleading emails telling you to change I find very annoying. Everything else with OVO has been fine, apart from this, which they seem unable to sort out.

Userlevel 5
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Glad to hear you’re sorted, @Tezza

Check out the Direct Debit process here, @ajrichards, I’ll pass on your feedback!

Thanks :slight_smile:

Amy, the problem is that there is nothing that I can see in the process which accounts for 3 different recommendations in as many days. It refers to reviews a few times a year, and what might affect usage, but I fail to see how the estimated usage for 3 months, can be almost double last years usage, and how the recommendation can go down, up and down again in 3 days.

Userlevel 1

I fully agree with ajrichards’ posting. There are problems with the algorithm  which would seem to have too many trigger points which instigate a change to the Direct Debit recommendations and interconnection between more than one system which confuses the customer’s requirement of an annual payment spread over twelve months. As an energy supplier OVO do not seem to want this or they would have addressed the problem by now or, at least, admitted that the problem exists.

Grandfather Maxwell

 

I agree with a lot of the posts re direct debits changing.  I’ve had 4 requests to change and increase my direct debit in the last 2-3 months.  When I refused, as my account is in credit I received a patronising email about budgeting and not getting in to debt.  Ovo appear to assume that everyone who uses their services is incapable of managing their own budgets and they are the experts on customers finances.  In the 5+ years I have been with them, never being in debt to them,  the Customer service in the last two years has been pretty dire.  I have now been told that they will hold my DD for 3 moths but that’s all they can do.  My contract doesn’t end until September.  So the assurances they have on their website about DD’s and especially the bit about being in credit and in debt appear to be just lies. I am seriously thinking of leaving them at the end of my contract if things don’t change?

I would suggest that they improve their training in customer services and recognise that patronising customers is not normal practice.

DD changed without my consent - just signed up to a 2yr contract after checking that I would not need to increase my DD ( I have a healthy credit for the winter months , provide monthly readings and have not been in debt)  Really wish I had had a refund and gone with another company. Not a happy bunny…..

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

Not good to hear, @BrightSpark. If we need to change your payments, we usually send confirmation of this 28 days before the update takes place. 

If you think there’s been a mistake here, send us a message on Facebook with your account number, full name and DoB and we can look into this for you.

Cheers

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