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Why such a large increase in my recommended Direct Debit?

  • 1 February 2018
  • 66 replies
  • 5370 views

I find it hilarious that OVO advises me to increase my direct debit from £85 to £160+ A month on a two up two down townhouse when I switched because they were cheaper than my previous supplier. 🤣🤣🤣🤣. Don’t they realise I will simply switch back ⬅️ Lol
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Best answer by Transparent 2 February 2018, 11:39

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.

HTH

**Updated 16/07/2019**

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Userlevel 5

You won’t be able to increase the Direct Debit to an amount less than we suggest, @JennyRB, this is something you’ll need to call our Collections team about. They’re available on 0800 0699 831 option 4, Monday-Thursday 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

 

They’ll go through your account with you and they can calculate a Direct Debit which is affordable for you. 

I am on a fixed rate tarrif and am currently paying £129 a month by direct debit for dual fuel on a tiny 1980s 2 bedroom mid terraced house. We have insulation which meets current regulations, and have UPVC windows and doors. Ovo want to increase this to £177 a month, which is an increase of nearly 40 %, and is completely unaffordable,  despite 

1) being on a fixed rate - surely the idea of having a fixed rate is that the direct debit is also fixed, so one can budget properly

2) being in credit

3) having installed a brand new  efficient boiler (replacing a 30 year old boiler) so I was expecting the bills to go down

 

There is no way I can afford £177 a month. I have tried and tried several times to increase the direct debit to something affordable - around £140 a month, but the system won't let me. This morning I got an email from Ovo saying they are going to increase the direct debit anyway.  I'm very unhappy about this, as I have tried several times using both the app and the website to increase the direct debit to an amount that is still affordable, and I have also left feedback say it would be helpful to have this function on both the app and the website, but so far nothing has happened. 

Please could anyone help or give me some advice? I have tried to follow Ovo's request to increase the direct debit, but £177 is simply not affordable, so I can't possibly agree to it, and the system won't allow me to enter a figure I can afford. I know in a worst case scenario I can cancel the direct debit and pay the amount I can afford by monthly standing order instead (I have done this before with a different company, when we simply could not agree on the direct debit amount) as I refuse to run up an overdraft due to unreasonable direct debit demands, but it really is a last resort, and I would rather avoid this action if at all possible.

It’s been sorted now Thankyou.  But was all very infuriating and quite ridiculous up until a few days ago.

Userlevel 5

It sounds like we should’ve added you to our exceptions form, @Lain-coubert, this would've stopped the emails being sent to you. 

 

Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter with your name, DoB and account number to get this sorted. If you don’t use social media, email the team on hello@ovoenergy.com.

 

 

I spoke to customer services and the problem was caused by a faulty Smart meter reading. It had submitted 30,000 kWh of gas used in September. This resulted in the vastly increased direct debit.

Does your system do a sanity check on the meter reading? If the one is significantly different to the usual reading how about getting a second one as a validation? I appreciate that I live in a village with patchy mobile reception.

Given the figure of 30,000 kWh  I must be single handedly responsible for global warming and Greta Thunberg’s worst enemy.

Why oh why.  You have requested I up my DD to a ridiculous extortionate amount.

 

i have agreed to increase it a little to a sensible amount to which your staff have written and agreed they are happy with the change I’ve made for now.

 

however I still keep getting what I assume are automated but threatening emails stating that you will against my wishes, increase the dd to a ridiculous high amount.

 

why have you agreed something with me then undermined that with your silly threats?  It’s awful customer relations. 

Userlevel 7
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@Ian The Smiler @DisgruntledOf Levy1 this topic has more info on the review process, so does this one

You suggest I should pay £130 per month and I need an explanation as well as a reasonable level of payment. Why am I complaining - well using your figures.

  • The credit balance on my account is approx £187.
  • Usage for month to 12 October was £approx £53.
  • You estimate my usage this year as approx £973.
  • My current direct debit is £87 as suggested last month.
  • £87 x 12 = £1044 plus the £187 credit would = £1231 which is already above the £973 you estimate my annual usage as.

In addition, you ask for regular meter readings, which I provide, and you suggest thst regular readings mean you pay only for what you use. I have to dispute that claim in the light of your request for an exhorbitant raise in my monthly payments.

So, please provide a sensible explanation and revise the direct debit downwards.

My direct debit reivew recommends that I increase the payments from £118 to £263 per month although I am £360 in crebit. This is because it estimates that I will use £1676 of energy for the rest of the year.

This seems unlikely because the total cost for the 12 months is £650 (gas) + £440 (electricity) = £1090.

The review says that there are 5 payments left until the end of the year so the amount that will be used will be significantly less than £1676.

How can I get a sensible review?

 

Kind regards,

Ian

Userlevel 7
Badge +2
More info on the Direct Debit calculations in this topic, @Rookard76 and on this page!

Still want answers, drop us an email: hello@ovoenergy.com

Let us know how it goes 🙂
How can an adjustment of my direct debit be justified without my agreement and taking it to way over my monthly usage? I moved in in late March and allegedly I have used approx £240 electric since then, although £120 of that was used in April??? Since then my usage has been the same as my previous property and is about £35-£40 per month, nobody can answer where 4 times my normal electric usage went even though my routine did not change, and in addition to that they are expecting me to cover nearly £100 of charges from before I even moved in !!! Total joke of a company, and nobody can give you any answers, and it take hours to actually get through to someone, time that I don’t have to waste !!!!
Hey @Victorious,

We had a similar topic on this so I moved your query over here, read through for more information.

Essentially we can do what you suggest, just give our Customer Care team a call to discuss this. They're available Monday-Friday 8am-6pm on 0330 303 5063.



@Eva_OVO Many thanks for your reply, all now sorted 🙂
Userlevel 5
Hey @Victorious and @phatnpil,

We had a similar topic on this so I moved your queries over here, read through for more information.

Is it possible to 'split the difference' with the increase, and see how it goes?

Essentially we can do what you suggest, just give our Customer Care team a call to discuss this. They're available Monday-Friday 8am-6pm on 0330 303 5063.

Tried to phone, but, frankly, do not have the time to wait endlessly on-hold.

We have a Smart Meter so Ovo is perfectly aware of what are energy use is so any idea of where we go to from here, given there is no way of changing the direct debit on your website?


Our wait times haven't exceeded 5 minutes all week, so if you were to call you wouldn't be left waiting long.

The Direct Debit can be updated on My OVO just head to the payments section!
Tried to phone, but, frankly, do not have the time to wait endlessly on-hold.

Anyhow, we pay £124 per month direct debit and was surprised to log on and find that Ovo wants to increase the monthly DD to £226! The total we have spent in the last 12 months (from May18-Apr 19) has been £1,285, which confirms that £124 is about right.

We have a Smart Meter so Ovo is perfectly aware of what are energy use is so any idea of where we go to from here, given there is no way of changing the direct debit on your website?
Hello,

Today I received an email from you recommending an increase in our monthly DD from £270 to £327. I've looked at the usage for the past year and even allowing for an increase of 10% in the coming year, I can't get to this higher amount being necessary. Is it possible to 'split the difference' with the increase, and see how it goes?

Thanks,

Vicky
Userlevel 6
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Hey @Annieb64 - I've moved your post over here. You can find more info on this above ^^
Hi I hope somebody can help. I have a 2 bed property that I rent out to two people who work full time and when I changed over to Ovo two years ago I was paying £30 a month. It has gradually increased and now it is a whopping £171 a month and Ovo want to increase it to £196 a month! I have compared it with friends who have similar properties and their average bill for a quarter is £120-£150! There is electric heating in the property and I have asked the tenants to record the reading on the smart meter for me. On average they are using £2 - £4 a day so I have no idea where Ovo are getting their figures from!
Has anybody had similar problems?
Thanks for your help.
Userlevel 7
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This topic is worth a read @babyblue - lots of helpful advice from other users!
i have just had my direct debit increase from 70 to 223!! but i am unable to get through to OVO and they are not responding to email or calls.

s anyone else having the same?
Userlevel 7
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Erm @Tim_OVO - there shouldn't have been a "personal projection" assessed in the case of @NPTring. That's the software bug I referred to in my reply to him.

This is a new contract for an existing customer. So he wouldn't have needed to provide an Annual Consumption figure.

What's happened is that the new billing software has failed to find the Annual Consumption it was expecting, and instead used data such as house-type & geographical area to generate an unnecessary estimate.

Due to the age of this new software suite, this bug may not have been encountered before. That's why I told him it needed reporting back to the London end.
I agree that the difference is too big. Unfortunately, Darran - your boss, I believe - seems to think the 'figures do seem to add up'. The only way this can be the case is if you have put your charges up by 73%.

Darran also points out that if a customer does not pay the recommended DD amount, even if you are incapable of explaining or justifying such a large increase, then you won't pay the Self Service discount.

I'm afraid you are coming across as a bunch of crooks.
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@NPTring thanks for coming to the forum to report this big difference in projected costs.

That “Expected usage for the year” figure (shown on your statement) is made using a personnel projection, which factors in a whole bunch of things, including your property’s annual usage average.

The email you were sent about this Direct Debit provided a recommended payment amount that aims to get you to your contract end date with a £0 balance. The Direct Debit figure will take into account your credit balance, and the projected costs shown on the Payments page are calculated using just your annual usage average.

In your case there’s a big difference in the two, too big. So I’d recommend you get this checked. As this looks like a possible issue (rather then the day to day maintenance of the account), you certainly wouldn't lose any self service rewards.

- Send over a PM via Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/ovoenergy/
- A DM via Twitter: @OVOEnergy
- Email at: hello@ovoenergy.com
- Call on: 0330 303 5063
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Mea Culpa, @NPTring

The reason I didn't act immediately on the differing amounts stated in your first post of 12th Jan was because I believed that you had just signed a new contract with OVO. The Statement you referred to would therefore be based on the readings and tariff applicable to the old contract, whereas the email would be generated as a consequence of the new contract.

I made precisely this mistake on the Forum in the middle of last year, and incorrectly advised a customer that there was an error made by OVO.

That's why I arrived at a different conclusion once you received the second Statement.

And apologies, I shouldn't have jumped to the conclusion that it was @Darran_OVO who contacted you, when in fact, the reverse was true.
A couple of inaccuracies in your response:

It wasn't until 5 days later that you were able to mention the two vastly different estimates you had from two differing sources within OVO The vastly different estimates were actually mentioned in the first paragraph of my original post (the usage estimate for the current year had actually decreased by the time of my post 5 days later because Ovo had sent me a new statement). Since you, Eva and Darran all supposedly read this it is surprising that none of you realised that this was, as Darran subsequently describes it, odd and therefore not within your ability to resolve.

And at that point the Team Leader of the Moderators' @Darran_OVO seems to have spotted the issue and sent you a Direct Message. Darran did not spot anything. I had to DM him to get any response. I did this because he had liked your response to me. Unfortunately that did not mean that he had actually read the original question.

Are you aware that by not accepting Ovo's recommended DD however mistaken or unjustifiable customers are forfeiting their right to the discount for online only - check their T&Cs. Sounds like sharp practice to me. Perhaps you might mention it to your chums over your next lunch.
Userlevel 7
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Well I generally find I get on better with companies when I'm friendly. 😀

It's not just OVO; today I've received an apology and offer of compensation from a seller on Alibaba in China who failed to appreciate the UK law on product specification and the Consumer Rights Act. Instead of damning him with a negative review, I can now give him public credit for taking time and trouble to sort things out. I get the bonus of some extra free product, and his future customers get the benefit of dealing with someone who is keen to work within our Laws!

I have met @Eva_OVO once... when we discussed the controversies of the new Self Service Reward over a rushed lunch a couple of months ago. But I learned enough about her to realise that I probably know a lot more about energy estimates and Direct Debits than she does! That's not surprising because she has a background in Pay-As-You-Go Contracts.

So she was absolutely right to point you in my direction on 15th Jan.

It wasn't until 5 days later that you were able to mention the two vastly different estimates you had from two differing sources within OVO. And at that point the Team Leader of the Moderators' @Darran_OVO seems to have spotted the issue and sent you a Direct Message (DM).

Full marks to Darran; because he could've just left you to raise it with the correct people yourself using the Complaints Procedure I'd mentioned.

Actually, I'm in an even better position to assist, because I also happen to understand why these varying estimates are occurring. It actually stems from work being done at OVO's London offices - whereas the Forum Moderators are based in Bristol. So I'll now do something about that behind the scenes (not on this public Forum!).


The main message to come out of this is that customers who are given estimated usage figures which are very wide of the mark should contact Customer Services directly, and without fear of losing the SSR.

And that's why it's important that we've been able to have this discussion on the open Forum.

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