Why such a large increase in my recommended Direct Debit?

  • 1 February 2018
  • 66 replies

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66 replies

Userlevel 5
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Following on from Transparent's very well informed comments above if anyone needs help with sorting their fuel poverty problems please Google the following: Ovo Trust, Charis Grants, Turn2Us, EnergySavingTrust. If anyone needs any advice I am happy to help, you can get bills reduced, free boilers, free kitchen white goods if you have none/they are older than 8 years, also be sure to check Gov.UK site and check out Cold Weather Payments, Warm Home Discount and see if any of the sites I've mentioned can help.

Hiding under the duvet! LOL

Tris 🙂
Userlevel 7
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Another couple of points, @hopperson,

1. Setting your heating to 21°-23° shouldn't be necessary unless the thermostat itself is faulty, or wrong placed, or mechanically misaligned. That's not how a thermostat works. If you want the room temperature to reach 19° for example, it doesn't get there any quicker by setting the control higher.

Feel free to provide more details of your heater controls (a photo perhaps?) if you'd like us to comment more specifically. We're happy to help.

2. You wrote:
I live alone and I can't afford to increase my DDs so I've taken the I decision to turn off all heating...

This is an extremely important point.

There is a difference between not having enough money and the concept of fuel poverty. There are a number of definitions, but roughly speaking, when 10% or more of your household income is being spent on energy, this is referred to as fuel poverty. It affects at least 1.2m homes in the UK and is tracked by a number of official statistics in order to inform Government policy.

It is an issue which your MP should know about, and will undoubtedly be subject to some strategies being implemented by your local Borough/District Council.

I know someone in OVO who knows more about this, although they don't work in Customer Support. I can ask them for assistance, but it probably matters where you live.

In my area I would be writing to my local Borough Councillor and checking the Council website to see what assistance is available. The answer here in my town is that a local Energy Assessor would be sent to your house. Over a session lasting around 2 hours they would check the details, evaluate the efficiency of heating and insulation and make a report.

The report can be used to open up doors... possibly giving a landlord access to grants to upgrade the property, for example.

If you (and others on this Forum) want to look into alleviation of Fuel Poverty, then we might need to ask the Moderators to move this into a new Topic area. It could generate a lot of traffic, and is an ideal Forum discussion subject.

Userlevel 5
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Good idea checking with the landlord 🙂 Legally you don't need to check with them, but ALWAYS best to be safe than sorry eh 😃
Userlevel 5
Badge +2 You just need your account number and post code 🙂
I'm in private rented accommodation so will have to get approval from the landlord but can't see that being an issue.
Userlevel 5
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You never know that may well help :)

I also know if you phone OVO you can request to alter your Direct Debit up or down, of course being very careful not to build up debt.

Weekly readings is very sensible by the way, and by the way as you are so savvy with your bill maybe now would be the time to book a smart meter - they are great fun if nothing else, if you like numbers like I do LOL!!!

I can give you the link to book one if you like???

🙂 Tris
Thanks! I'm thinking of uploading my readings weekly as I already take them weekly for my own records.
Userlevel 7
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@hopperson, I would suggest you take readings and upload them each month rather than just when OVO request them.

As you (& I) don't yet have Smart Meters, we need to supply regular meter readings in order to use OVO's online usage-tracker on My-OVO. This gives me a pretty good idea as to how I compare both with other users in similar houses, and also against what OVO's seasonal average algorithm expects me to use.

Currently my gas consumption is being shown as somewhat lower than both comparisons, and yet my financial statement says I'm in arrears by around 8% of annual estimates. That seems about right to me. As my DD remains steady, but I use less heating in the summer, this will swing the other way. So I'm confident that I'll end up on par by the end of my 12-month billing period.

Without providing monthly manual readings, I couldn't use OVO's tracker to compare my usage. So this is invaluable.
Userlevel 5
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Hello thanks for getting back :)

Sorry to hear of your heating situation, sounds like you are on a tight budget like me,

The theory is that bills are lower one point in the year to counter-act the rest of year and vice-versa.

You sound savvy so I'm sure you know about any help and grants you are entitled to, but if not inbox me and I can let you know if you are entited to anything depending on your cirumstances if you wish to discuss that is.

Definately worth giving OVO a phone call my friend,

Keep me posted 😉

Best wishes,

Tris 🙂
Thanks. I take a reading every week for my records and always provide one online when requested. I don't have a smart meter yet.
I have had to set my main heaters to 21°-23° over the winter as it's not the easiest home to heat! Last summer when I moved in I didn't even turn the heating on until about October, which may explain the low starting rate of the DDs. Hopefully reducing my heating to almost nil will bring down my usage and therefore my forecast future use.

Also, I realised I was keeping my bathroom towel heater on a lot of the time. That's now off. I'll just have to shiver when I get out of the shower! Lol
Userlevel 5
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Hi there, I promise this is not a sarcastic reply, but how recently did you provide your most recent meter readings, and do you have a smart meter?

Also the bills do tend to reflect future seasons.

I'm just a customer like you, If you could let me know maybe I could solve the mystery.

Alternatively OVO's call centre is very easy to get thru to, you'll wait no more than three mins to get thru almost always, you'll be thru to a nice helpful human who will sort the mystery for you.

They are on 0330 303 5063

Keep me posted,

Enjoy your weekend

Tris 🙂
Like others I switched to Ovo because I was quoted I would pay less than my previous supplier. Then I moved house (from a 3 bed terrace to a two bed terrace, much smaller property.)
Since moving in June 2017 my monthly DDs have risen from £58, to £162. And today my statement says I should increase my DD to £230/month!

I live on my own and thought I was being pretty careful with my usage. But with the prolonged low temperatures this winter I've had the heating on more than expected.

I live alone and I can't afford to increase my DDs so I've taken the I decision to turn off all heating except in my living room and bedroom, and these are only on timer for when I'm at home (early morning and evenings during the week, longer at weekends) and have moved from sleeping in the master bedroom to the spare room. Its smaller so should use less power to heat. I've turned off the heating in the kitchen, landing, master bedroom and bathroom.

I've been wearing thermal socks and thick jumpers all winter.

Oh and although I may sound like a pensioner, I'm not. I'm 48.
Yeh well like i said OVO make out they are cheaper when in reality they aren't. If i find i am paying the same i will move back to British Gas, and yeh I have insulation
Userlevel 7
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Ah, well if you've been an OVO customer since the summer, then I understand the price hike better.

The £160 also has to cover the months when the £85 was inadequate to cover your usage. So, for example, if you've been a customer for 6 months, then half the increase is due to ongoing future usage, and the other half is to cover the deficit of the earlier period of the contract.

That puts the real electricity bill at more like £120 /month.

That still sounds high for a 2-up/2-down house. But I don't know if you're using electricity for
  • cooking
  • central heating
  • domestic hot water
  • an electric vehicle (!?)

There is still the outside chance that your meter readings are erroneous, but only you can tell that by comparing with your previous supplier.

If the readings are correct, then the electricity's going somewhere!

In my experience, I've lowered my energy usage more by installing insulation and sensible controls than I have by incorporating renewable energy sources.


**Updated 16/07/2019**

This topic has more info.
Thank you for your sarcasm. It really helped. I joined in summer not winter funny ain’t it
Userlevel 7
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Hi @l_scattergood,

Did you mean to post this is the section of the forum for Electric Vehicles?

If you do have one, could you tell the rest of us how you're able to charge it and power your house on just £85 a month? :?
We'll all be rushing out to buy the same model.

I also love the typo in your Thread Title. A Direct Debut is just so appropriate for a new OVO customer! :D

On a more serious note, does the £160 you're being asked for look like it matches the readings from your meter? Or is it way out?

It's always tricky trying to set the right level when those of us, like you and I, start our energy contracts in winter. In my case, when I switched to OVO in December, I entered the Tariff Comparison data on the last bill from my previous supplier. OVO accepted this without question and set my direct debit accordingly.

Unless you've changed anything significant in the last few months, such as
  • buying an electric vehicle
  • switching to electric cooking
I would expect the Tariff Comparison column from your previous supplier's bills would be the best place to open discussions with OVO. It will have your annual consumption in kWh and the name of the tariff you were on. OVO CS can check that tariff data against what they're now asking you to pay.