What to do if I can't afford the recommended Direct Debit amount?

I was an SSE customer for 9 years and had always managed my monthly direct debits succsessfully during that time. I was moved over to OVO automatically and my direct debit of £25.00  was accepted on 10th August, 2022. On the 11th August 2022 I received an email from OVO saying I hadn’t paid enough and saying I must pay £96.00 per month with immediate effect. I did then panic and cancelled the direct debit immediately as all I had in my bank account was just over £100 and OVO would have taken £96, leaving me with £7.00 to last me for food until the 24th of August! This massive 75% increase is not acceptable to me, I simply do not have the funds to pay it!. I am an OAP on State Pension live alone in a small flat. I use very little electricity compared to some users and hiking my direct debit like this is frightening. I have no idea now what to do. Can someone out there please help me? I don’t want to be in debt to OVO but how can I get them to see how badly this affecting me. I have various health issues including heart problems and anxiety, I am worried sick about not being able to cover this massive unreasonable cost. I am willing to work with OVO if they can come up with a reasonable amount to pay. My forecast for the 12 months from March 2022 to March 2023 was £433 with SSE. Please help. AC


Best answer by Tim_OVO 23 August 2022, 11:00

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Userlevel 7

Updated on 19/10/23 by Abby_OVO

Hi @Angelcat53 and thank you for flagging this on the forum. We’re here to support you, you’ve come to the right place. 


First off, please see information page that we’ve made just for this reason: (or click here). This outlines all the financial support you might be entitled to and how to get it. Highly recommended. 


We’ve put together a page to explain about price increases, both to our fixed plans and the price cap Simpler plan, which is set to increase on October 1st. See this page here: (or click here). 


We’ve explained how OVO works out a recommend Direct Debit on this page:



To discuss with OVO and agree on a payment amount that you can afford but that keeps you out of debt, you’re able to call us on: 0800 0699 831


If you’re not already on our Priority Services Register, check out more here: (or click here). 


Hope this helps,


Thing is OVO have a nasty habit of going over the top with the energy direct debit increases.  Jumped from £121 to £165 a month, DESPITE  always being in credit, guess what after the increase STILL always in credit Now just even more so and we have a smart meter so OVO know exactly what is being used   Dreading what they’ll attempt to put it upto next. OVO is 100% renewable energy I believe which is cheaper than the opposite. I also think it’s thoroughly shameful that energy companies increase the tariffs should a customer wish to not pay by direct debit.  Cannot wait for the caps to come back down and it’s bye bye OVO! 

Why not get a pay as you go meter installed and then your direct debits can not be hiked up as you will not have one,.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Why not get a pay as you go meter installed and then your direct debits can not be hiked up as you will not have one,.

This is not good advice to be honest. Getting a Prepayment Meter installed and/or having your Smart Meter switched to Prepayment Mode is something that should generally be done only as a last resort. Pay As You Go is almost always more expensive as well, since you cannot get any kind of fixed rate deal on PAYG and the inconveniences of having to top-up all the time and potentially going off-supply if you forget make it unattractive to most.

Userlevel 1

This is what my email has said yesterday 

You’re paying £183.00 on the 1st of each month.

Your balance is set to be -£1,235by the end of your 12 month billing period. Your minimum monthly payment should be £278.

we are £868 in credit 

no way can I afford that a month ,I’m classed as vulnerable, my husband works so no benefits or help ,no cold weather payments . I need the heat in the winter the cold makes my conditions worse I will end up in hospital because I can’t not afford this ,I need to cancel my dd before they increase the amount ,can I change to standing order instead and considering I am using 19%  less electric than last year and 28% gas 

Userlevel 1

I had same email yesterday account in credit email said we be short by 1025.00 in a years time, either pay this now or we increase your DD by 79.00, I had already increased my DD which was my choice. Why would anyone pay 1025.00 in advance, tried to call on phone for 16 minutes, give up, I have cancelled DD THEY CAN CONTACT ME..  I am happy to pay for what I use and monitor my account I would have up the credit account In January. 

Userlevel 1

Think that is what we will do now it’s going to be bad enough this winter we need to cook everyone does so they know they will get money either way ,this is going to cripple a lot of people 

Userlevel 1

It will cripple a lot of people, I am happy to pay for what I use , and if it needs to be that in January fair enough, it was the email that annoyed either pay this amount up front or we increase your DD. OVO predict my Gas will be 92.00 in October 141 in November and 178 in December, at the moment I only use 11.00.

Badge +1

Energy prices are on the rise - an average of 80% from October and more to come in January. So the picture from your viewpoint looks bad. So why make it even worse by cancelling you Direct Debit? The average customer will pay over £200 extra a year extra if they do this.

better to up your DD, accept the government discount October to March, put the £400 you’l be given back into your energy account and wait for the Government to make another announcement on help. 

Cancelling the DD is a poor option financially.

Userlevel 1

My plan was to put the energy payment back on to my account, I just did not like the tone of the email by saying pay this up front or we up your DD, , I am already in credit, maybe not sensible to cancel the DD , I may  put it back on at some point. But over the last 4 days I have had 4 different predictions of where my account will be, You cannot contact them, service is poor. Maybe I would like to be in control.  unfortunately there are a lot of vulnerable people out there and receiving email like this does not help. Are other companies demanding up front payments not to increase DD payments. I am not there to help their cash flow. I am happy to pay what I use each month, Maybe they should offer a variable DD to customers who want one.My gas estimate for October would be about 27.00 - 28.00 not 92 .00 with standing charge. 

Userlevel 7
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I’m Blastoise186, one of the forum volunteers here. Please be aware that I do not work for OVO myself, so everything I say is in a personal capacity.

Firstly, I need to let you know that OVO does not support Standing Orders, please don’t use them as there’s a risk they might be rejected. It’s very rare for any energy supplier that I know of to accept them either, because of the increased risk that you set it too low and end up in even more debt.

I’ve written up a guide that has an increasing number of resources and I’m actively seeking out more. Please see the link below.

This guide also has links to other resources that OVO is providing, including a newly announced £50 million Customer Support Package that you may be able to benefit from. It’s possible that you may be able to get help this way even if you don’t qualify for anything else.

If you wish to further discuss your payments and are struggling, please call 0800 069 9831 and speak to the Collections Team. They’ll be able to discuss your options.

Userlevel 1

Over estimating my gas usage by about 3000kw 


Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @Kittykat59 ,

I’ve been meaning to respond to you properly, but unfortunately things have been incredibly busy on the forum this week and I’m on my own right now. I wish to apologise for the slow response, I’m doing my best to respond to as many forum members as possible and I’ve just managed to catch a break.

I’ve recently posted this same advice in another thread and I feel it may be relevant to you as well. I’ve copied it over for your convenience.

The easiest way to make sure the calculations are accurate is always going to be with a Smart Meter set to either Daily or Half-Hourly readings. The second easiest method is a Smart Meter set to Monthly readings. Otherwise, if you don’t have a Smart Meter yet, you’ll need to submit regular meter readings, ideally on a weekly basis for at least three months so that OVO’s billing platform can get enough data to reliably recalculate everything.

If you need to talk to someone regarding your payments, especially if you’re struggling, try calling 0800 069 9831. Otherwise, my guide linked above should help you through the winter.

Userlevel 1

Thank you, will manage payments , but what has annoyed me is the email saying if you don’t pay 1025 now we up your DD, I will submit weekly readings.


Userlevel 1

I will now pay as bills come in ,I won’t be using much electric or gas in winter I can’t afford it ,we get no help ,what if yr bill is £50do you still get the £66 off your bill so it comes off next one ,,dd will be getting cancelled simple as that 

Userlevel 7

Hi everyone, thanks for sharing your experiences and advice. I’d also like to chip in to make sure these great resources have been signposted:


We’ve made a guide on some general best practice tips and tricks to reduce your usage:


Top 13 ways to save electricity at home and reduce your bills


Here are some other popular pages you may find helpful:


Price rises: we're here to support you


Here’s the latest information on rising energy prices, and how we can help 


Energy Bills Support Scheme


This page has all the information that we and our call centre team have on the Energy Bills Support Scheme right now. 


Ways to get financial support


If you’re struggling financially or you’re worried about your energy bills, we’re here to support you. Find out about the different ways we can help here.

Can anyone tell me what is available for OAPs my mother is 80 ha an account with OVO and is struggling to p, shes pays 8o per month and now OVO want 160 

Userlevel 7
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Hi *Edited by Mod* ,

Her best options would probably be to give the Collections Team a call on 0800 069 9831.

They can go through various options that may help and I think they’re also able to assist with OVO’s new Customer Support Package. All of these options can be explored and usually, the ones that are the easiest to do for everyone involved are the ones that get recommended first.

Hope this helps!

Userlevel 1

Has anyone else built up credit over this year so they won’t suffer from the cold weather ,I did all this due to me suffering from the cold badly ,I have arthritis through my whole body spinal cord damage and other things  wrong I struggle walking and doing day to day things and waiting for more operations on my spine I shouldn’t have to suffer more because of these company’s ,I managed to get it up over £1000 now I can’t afford to put the heating  on 

I have had to unplug my stair lift to try and save money it’s actually warmer outside than my house 90 mins every other day I’m putting the heating on ,I’m cold all the time my bones are cold I’m using blankets but once your bones are cold they don’t work ,my bill was £278 then minus the £66 so I paid £246 

this £66 doesn’t even last a week and that’s being careful 

electric £233 gas £45 and I’m bloody freezing to death these company’s are killing people 

what’s the point I give up now 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @ramona9995 ,

I’m really sorry to hear of your situation. The forum moderators have been notified.

I strongly recommend you give the Collections Team a call on 0800 069 9831 as soon as possible. They can help you figure something out to take the pressure off. Don’t suffer in silence - they’re here to help.

Also, if you haven’t already, please set yourself up on the Priority Services Register.

Userlevel 7

Hey @ramona9995,


I’m really sorry to hear this,


The wholesale price of fuel has increased significantly in recent times, and understandably it’s a worrying time for our customers.


Luckily, the government have intervened and capped the price for the average user through the Energy Price Guarantee. There is lot of other support available, like @Blastoise186 said you can call our Collections Team who’ll be able to offer financial advice and set up a payment plan that’s affordable to you. 


The government is also giving every household a £400 payment through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The £400 discount will be spread over a 6 month period, from October 2022 to March 2023. You’ll receive £66 in October and November, and then £67 every month until March. 


The Priority Services Register can offer some free services, it also allows us to inform the DNO if there are any vulnerabilities in the property, so if there was a power cut you’d be prioritized. You mentioned you used a stairlift which qualifies as medical equipment, so I really would urge you to sign up. 


You might also be eligible for the Warm Home Discount payment this year:



I’ll get someone from Forum_Support to reach out, so please keep an eye on your Forum private messages.


Hope this helps. 

Userlevel 2

@ramona9995 We haven’t put the heating on at all so far this winter and our house is pretty cold too. My wife, myself and my youngest son have had coughs and colds for the past couple of weeks but we still have to go to work and school. Two of my children have Autism and global learning difficulties but i’m still not putting the heating on, we can’t afford too. It is what it is!

Userlevel 1

I tried for the warm home discount and came back not eligible even though I’m on pip ,my husband works so can’t claim anything at all ,I have the free electric blanket which I ordered through here 3 weeks ago ,I’m still  waiting for it to arrive,I’ve just had the heating on my house is damp now the 90 mins heated it up to 11 deg ,we have worked all our life to have the things we need and be comfortable, and not worry about bills my husband’s wage is not a lot £1500 a month so do we eat or keep warm ,I’m sure there is lots more out there in the same situation,it’s disheartening,I know 2 friends who has already given up and committed suicide this month due to worry of keeping warm or feeding themselves 2 funerals I didn’t think I would go too this year 

and we now need to start cancelling luxuries to keep warm so I will have no internet after the 30 th of dec ,so no tv either ,which is my life line since I don’t go out the house when my husband is at work ,what a life for the year 2022/2023 not much to look forward to 

Userlevel 1

I am already on the priority services list ,I have just tried again to see if I’m eligible for the warm home discount and because we are not on certain benefits we are not eligible at all ,maybe it pays to be on benefits and not work all your life ,pip is not included in these benefits 

Userlevel 1

@ramona9995 We haven’t put the heating on at all so far this winter and our house is pretty cold too. My wife, myself and my youngest son have had coughs and colds for the past couple of weeks but we still have to go to work and school. Two of my children have Autism and global learning difficulties but i’m still not putting the heating on, we can’t afford too. It is what it is!

I really feel for you and the children ,yes it is what it is ,but when my husband is going to work in cold empty houses he is a joiner and does maintenance then coming back and is freezing cold and can’t get warm ,it’s not good for anyone’s health to live like this