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Why such a large increase in my recommended Direct Debit?

  • 1 February 2018
  • 55 replies
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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**

This topic has more info.
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55 replies

Hi. I need to increase my DD, which is fine, but the level you recommend is way to high. I have 12 months left on my contract. Using your figures for estimated future cost, adding my current debit, and spreading that over 12 months yields a figure below £115. Your recommended new DD is £153. This would lead to an overpayment of around £450 over the year, which is well over 30%. This seems wholly unreasonable. What can I do to reset these payments at a level appropriate to both OVO and myself, rather than at the suggested rate which overcharges me to provide a substantial cushion for OVO. This strategy of overcharging monthly payments was the main reason I left my previous supplier - please let me know how you will address this
My usage figures over the last year would suggest the cost per month of the new 2 year deal is over the top.
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Sure @Eva_OVO let's see what we can do to resolve these curious estimates anomalies that @NPTring has raised.

Now, I'm still in my first contract with OVO, so I have no first hand experience of what procedures occur when you sign up for a new contract to take over straight after another one.

If you were a new customer entirely, then of course you get the opportunity to send in the Annual Usage stats which all Energy Suppliers must print on their invoices/statements. OVO put theirs on page 2 labelled as an Annual Consumption Forecast.

So I'm assuming that @NPTring used those figures when starting the new contract, or that OVO's in-house software picked them up from the previous account.

At this time of year, when energy usage is high, the guideline from Ofgem is that a Supplier should expect an account to be one full month's worth of DD payment in credit.

From the information provided, I don't know whether the snapshot of you being £290 in credit is being taken before or after the current month's statement has been raised.

As your payment history suggests you needed to pay £144+ of DD per month, OVO's software is correct to point out that the present £138 is set too low.

If the £290 credit figure was provided prior to the current month's bill being accounted for, then this would leave the account in credit for around (£290-£144) £146... which is precariously close to the "one month's full DD payment" stipulated in the guidelines!

And we have yet to calculate any rise in fuel prices from your previous contract, which must surely apply.

Personally, I'd do two actions:

  1. Drop a top-up amount into your account to ensure it is well clear of the £145-ish figure. Eg £100 would make a substantial difference... and of course you'll be getting 4% interest reward on that anyway.
  2. Once the top-up is showing on your account, revisit your My OVO page and recheck what is the new recommended monthly DD. If it's not decreased markedly from the suggested £203, then you can use the Complaints Procedure to address this.
Of course, you could also post back here if things still don't look right, and we can advise further.
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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.
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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.

HTH

**Updated 16/07/2019**

This topic has more info.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
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.

HTH
Userlevel 7
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Has reading this Forum Topic helped @denzo?

OVO actually have three different algorithms to assess estimated usage under different circumstances. One or more of these is used to inform the DD calculations, and also includes assessments of fuel increases for the winter months.

But the accuracy is only as good as the data which is fed in!
I faithfully supply monthly meter readings to ensure that OVO's algorithms are using as little estimation as possible.

However, I've also changed a portion of my heating demand during the last 6 months by installing a (wet) solar heating panel, which supplements the gas boiler. It took OVO's algorithms 3 months to get back in sync with my gas usage. During that time I deliberately kept my DD payments artificially high just to see how long it took before the re-calculation took effect.

So if we're going to provide any better advice about the large increase in DD payments which you've been asked to acknowledge, we'd need to know factors like regularity of meter readings and how your actual usage compared with what you declared when you signed up to OVO's tariffs in the spring.
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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 🙂
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https://smart.ovoenergy.com/credit You just need your account number and post code 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
Just signed up for another 2 years with OVO and received a statement that shows I am currently in credit by £290.72 and that my expected usage for the year ending 20th February 2019 is £1,726.96. Later that day I get an email saying that although I am in credit I need to increase my DD from £138 to £203 because my estimated usage for the next 12 months will be £2,874.97, a 66% increase!

No explanation and, of course, no way to contact since 'phone calls are discouraged under threat of losing discount, hence the post on the forum. I can only assume that OVO is in financial difficulties like some of the other smaller providers and is looking to its customers to bankroll it. If so, I guess the sensible thing to do is to reduce the DD so that there is no credit balance to be at risk.

I would like to hear some explanation please.
Userlevel 4
@Transparent, are you able to help with @NPTring's query? 🙂
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 6
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This topic is worth a read @babyblue - lots of helpful advice from other users!
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.
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Hey @Annieb64 - I've moved your post over here. You can find more info on this above ^^
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Great topic idea @Transparent. Feel free to create one!
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@FoenticFreek Customers have full control over their accounts via My OVO so they're free to decrease their Direct Debit or ask for a refund when they can see these are suitable options.

Lucy
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.
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
Thanks! I'm thinking of uploading my readings weekly as I already take them weekly for my own records.
I'm in private rented accommodation so will have to get approval from the landlord but can't see that being an issue.
Userlevel 3
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
Just a point that has not been made yet:
How much you pay OVO per month compared to British Gas is not the point at issue. The only reason to swap is that the TARIFF is cheaper. If you use far more actual gas and electricity even on a cheaper tariff, you could still end up paying more.
Userlevel 3
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!

Wow! Calm down please.
I am happy to get 3% credit interest on my money that is held by OVO. I can't get that anywhere else.
The system does a calculation and based on recent usage and time left, it calculates how much it thinks you need to end up at that elusive nil balance.
I have not found it badly wrong. At present with a very cold snap recent usage for us all is high, so there is a real danger of many people ending their year with a big outstanding balance, and then getting upset because they don't have that much to pay it all at once.

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