Why has my Direct Debit amount changed?


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Direct Debit reviews are super complex – and a hot topic here at OVO!

Lots of things affect your review or payment amount, like how long you’ve been with us, your predicted energy use vs your actual use, and even the weather! To help you answer all your questions around Direct Debit reviews, we’ve created a topic just for that. Here’s a great page, packed with useful info on Direct Debit reviews which we think will be really helpful.

If you don't see an answer to your question, share it below so others can help you. Our moderators will also be on hand to step in if needed. So go ahead, get posting and sharing!

Updated 20/02/2020


203 replies

Userlevel 1

100115703

What you have questioned is not “Very strange” to me. Last year had raised similar questions because at times I was given three different amounts at the same time. One on the bill, one on the home web page and one on the usage page. If you have the inclination see the many previous pages in this forum: if not wait until you get the final dreaded email and then complain.

Grandfather Maxwell

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Hi @100115703 and Welcome to the Forum.

Did you realise you’ve just posted your message to an open public Forum? We are ordinary members of the public here, not OVO Customer Services. I understand what you’re getting at, but none of us here have access to your account details so we can’t answer the question.

Can I suggest that you email hello@ovoenergy.com directly?

If you’d like your comment above taken off the open Forum, then you tag a Moderator by writing their name with the @ symbol in front, like this @Eva_OVO, and they will oblige!

Dear sir why have you increased my direct debit from £90 to 99.39 per month when in one of the information boxes you are asking me to decrease the amount to £82 very strange.

Just going back “on topic” can I recommend that @Flatfluff has a look at the LEAP website for home energy advice?

LEAP doesn’t have offices covering all areas and I don’t know if they’re represented in Norwich.

However, if you satisfy any of the qualifying criteria, you get a trained/approved energy advisor visiting you. Depending on what they find, they can generate Reports/Recommendations which open the doors for grants, and free or reduced-price low-energy items.

Sadly LEAP does not cover Norfolk at all, nor Suffolk (I’m on the boundary). Shame as it looks just the job. Thanks so much for your support though.

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So @Nancy_OVO@NoPoke  and I are in agreement. Nancy has just underlined what I wrote above.

Lest anyone is considering a repost, can I point out that Nancy is stating OVO Company Policy, which is squarely based on Ofgem guidelines and regulatory structure. The same stance therefore applies to all other Energy Suppliers.

If @Flatfluff has obtained a settlement that is more favourable, then that is a confidential arrangement based on her account history.

The lesson here is that anyone who is struggling to pay energy bills should contact their Supplier at the earliest opportunity. They can’t assist until they know what’s happening!

Userlevel 6
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Hey @NoPoke, @Grandfather Maxwell 

Paying the outstanding and bringing the account balance to £0 may allow you to reduce the Direct Debit, however please note that on fixed contracts, you must maintain the account balance in credit (at least the value of one month’s payment), not at £0.

Thanks

Userlevel 5
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Sadly I expect that paying down the outstanding debt will not protect you from a steep rise in DD in a few months time. I hope I’m wrong.

I know nothing of your circumstances but suspect that you need to seek assistance with reducing your future bills by spending money on energy efficiency measures. 
@Transparent ‘s suggestion of contacting LEAP is worth pursuing.

Userlevel 1

Flatfluff and Transparent,

Well I am credulous !!!

The treatment of Flatfluff by the various “help” personnel  is typical of what I went through last year. One department seems to have no contact with another within the company so alterations to direct debits, meter readings or problems with the billing system  do not seem to be recorded on a central system for the “help” staff to refer to.

Grandfather Maxwell

 

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Well I too am incredulous, @Flatfluff !

Firstly, well done Aiden. That’s the sort of response that @Amy_OVO  was referring to earlier in this Topic.

But I despair at the un-named second character. I don’t even understand why he frittered away time going through all the details again. Once he knew who you were by asking name and account number (typically), all your details would be on the screen in front of him. Thus he should’ve been able to see the content of the previous discussion with Aiden.

@Nancy_OVO - can you feed this back to Adrian or one of his senior managers? This is an utter waste of CS time.

I wasn’t suggesting a full payment needed to be made, @Transparent, however if @Flatfluff  wants to pay off the debt as the post suggested:

“I’d much rather pay a lump sum than see a massive increase in a monthly outgoing. Can I do this and not see my direct debit increase?”

They are completely entitled to do so, as I mentioned it’s their prerogative, not my suggestion, my suggestion was to call the support team and that still stands.

Strictly speaking what you’ve said about the Direct Debit process is true, @Transparent, but the support team offer solutions on a 1-2-1 basis and are very helpful. 

Thanks!

(I’ll still take the choccies)

Thanks to@Transparent and@Grandfather Maxwell  for your feedback and support. I rang the support line (they call themselves ‘Collections’) and spoke to the very helpful and empathetic Aidan. I paid off the bulk of the outstanding debit amount on the premise that my direct debit would remain the same and this was agreed for the next 4-5 months when it’ll be reviewed again. Today, however, I received an email with a new direct debit of £204 a month. I rang ‘collections’ again and the chap I spoke to said the email had been in the pipeline which is why it had been sent out! He confirmed all ok to revert to original direct debit amount but I had to run through all my details in order to do this. The icing on the cake was this question ‘Could I make a further payment today?’ For £11 I am frankly incredulous. 

 

 

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Just going back “on topic” can I recommend that @Flatfluff has a look at the LEAP website for home energy advice?

LEAP doesn’t have offices covering all areas and I don’t know if they’re represented in Norwich.

However, if you satisfy any of the qualifying criteria, you get a trained/approved energy advisor visiting you. Depending on what they find, they can generate Reports/Recommendations which open the doors for grants, and free or reduced-price low-energy items.

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Would it be wise to send such a large box while @Tim_OVO is away? :thinking:

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Is mine in the post @Transparent  ...

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.

Yum… Friday morning coffee time :heart_eyes:

 

 

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Rats!

So I lose the argument, but still have to deliver the choccies!  :chocolate_bar:

Userlevel 1

Flatfluff: accept the advice given and tell OVO you do not want to (or cannot afford to) increase your Direct Debit payments.

Transparent and NoPoke: good advice about how to deal with “demands” for DD increases.

But let us not be diverted from the original question, “Why has my DD amount changed?”.

This has been asked many times over the years and is still being asked. Why cannot the company accept that the cost of annual energy consumption divided by twelve will equal a reasonable DD charge and that domestic customers use less energy in summer than winter?

Grandfather Maxwell

 

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I wasn’t suggesting a full payment needed to be made, @Transparent, however if @Flatfluff  wants to pay off the debt as the post suggested:

“I’d much rather pay a lump sum than see a massive increase in a monthly outgoing. Can I do this and not see my direct debit increase?”

They are completely entitled to do so, as I mentioned it’s their prerogative, not my suggestion, my suggestion was to call the support team and that still stands.

Strictly speaking what you’ve said about the Direct Debit process is true, @Transparent, but the support team offer solutions on a 1-2-1 basis and are very helpful. 

Thanks!

(I’ll still take the choccies)

 

 

Userlevel 7
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From an ethical viewpoint, may I be allowed to disagree with @Amy_OVO ‘s suggested strategy in her 3rd paragraph? (I may have to pay her a penalty by way of chocolate!)

In @Flatfluff ‘s original post above, I think she’s already made it clear that a payment sufficiently large as to bring the account into credit isn’t going to be possible.

Nor do I think that’s enough to ensure that the DD could remain as is. Ofgem guidelines are that Energy Suppliers should expect to hold customer accounts in credit to approximately the amount of the next bill (because it’s assessed in arrears).

So @Flatfluff would need to pay in £440 plus £127 (= £567) to prevent the OVO Billing-system requesting an increase in DD.

That’s simply not going to happen… nor should it, because it would most likely have a knock-on effect on other essential expenses, such as food.

 

I think the first thing to do is to ensure that @Flatfluff is on the Priority Services Register. That means she is protected against the worry of having gas or electricity cut off because it’s not permitted.

Being on the PSR gives more time for this to get sorted.

Userlevel 6
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Hey @Grandfather Maxwell and @NoPoke, thanks for looking out for @Flatfluff, I can confirm contacting our support team regarding this would not impact your Self Service Reward. 

If you ever need to get in touch about something you're not able to do online, or you can't find the answer to on our website, then you wouldn't run the risk of losing the Self Service reward. You can find more information about the Self Service reward here.

@Flatfluff if you can clear the debt and bring your balance into credit and this isn’t going to leave you in a difficult position, you can leave your Direct Debit as it is, that’s your prerogative, but the support team will offer payment options. 

I hope this helps! 

Userlevel 5
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@Amy_OVO  can you confirm that if @Flatfluff  phones you to discuss the impact that the large rise in DD payment may cause her, the call will not cancel her self service reward for the quarter.

@Flatfluff paying down the debt will likely not have as big an impact as you wish. For example if you have 12 months to run on your contract then paying £120 will only reduce the monthly DD by £10.  To have any meaningful impact on your monthly DD you would need to pay in several hundreds and end up significantly in credit.  Being in credit with OVO is a good thing if you can achieve it.  A significant sum would be close to £1000, which I am assuming you do not have immediately  accessible.

@Grandfather Maxwell I don’t think there is one but have asked Amy to be certain.  Calling OVO about a potential debt problem from a change in DD is not normal operation of your online account.

Userlevel 1

Please can Amy or someone explain the penalty for phoning the Support Team as advised to Flatfluff.

Grandfather Maxwell

 

Thanks for the tag, @NoPoke!

Please reach out to our support team, @Flatfluff, they will be able talk through your options. 

Give them a call on 0800 0699 831, opening hours Mon to Thurs: 08:00-20:00, Fri: 08:00-18:00.

You can find our Direct Debit review process here.

Thanks! 

Hello and many thanks for all the helpful responses. I haven’t rung the support team as I understood that I would be penalised for doing so as this is an online account. I don’t qualify for the warm home discount. This is more a case of a big hike in a direct debit amount. I’d much rather pay a lump sum than see a massive increase in a monthly outgoing. Can I do this and not see my direct debit increase?

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Thanks for the tag, @NoPoke!

Please reach out to our support team, @Flatfluff, they will be able talk through your options. 

Give them a call on 0800 0699 831, opening hours Mon to Thurs: 08:00-20:00, Fri: 08:00-18:00.

You can find our Direct Debit review process here.

Thanks! 

Userlevel 7
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That point about Fuel Poverty is well made, @NoPoke 

Too few people in this situation ask for help because they don’t realise that it affects them.

There are a number of national organisations that offer guidance and assistance, such as The Rainy Day Trust and Citizens Advice. They can advise on grants available.

@Flatfluff please note that NoPoke is correct in stating that there’s little point in trying to pay off a lump sum against the debt. It makes very little difference to the calculation of your Direct Debit once there is a slowly-increasing debt on your account.

You should also check here on OVO’s website for details of the Warm Home Discount scheme. You may already be in receipt of this, but I mention it here because others will read this Topic in future.

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I am currently paying £127 a month and, as it’s winter, have built up a debit of £440. OVO now wants to increase by direct debit to £202 and, as I haven’t done this myself, it is taking matters into its own hands. On a pension this new amount will be a struggle to pay every month. Questions: if I pay off a good proportion of this debit amount by making a top up payment, would this be reflected in a new direct debit that would be more manageable? Also how often does OVO review direct debits? Is it likely to be lowered once energy usage is reduced in warmer months? 



If the revised payment is likely to be a struggle you should contact OVO directly (and/or start a new thread)​​​​​​. As long as the revised figure is correct you will have to pay it eventually.

As long as the new figure is correct there is no benefit to paying the debt down early. The debt is effectively an interest free loan.   Note that if you can put your account into credit then you will receive an interest payment from OVO at a rate better than any high street bank will offer. But as you say the higher DD figure is going to be a struggle I’m assuming that you are unable to put your account into credit and also pay ongoing monthly bills.

You could be in “fuel poverty”  a somewhat emotive description of a potentially serious problem if left unaddressed. OVO can likely help you with this. There are lots of grants and schemes to help reduce fuel bills for those that qualify.

Tagging for mod attention @Nancy_OVO , @Amy_OVO  

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