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Why such a big difference in actual meter reading compared to previous suppliers "readings"?

  • 18 March 2018
  • 3 replies
  • 4664 views

Hello Ovo team :)

Nanny T is a little bit concerned and a tad unsure of what the hell to do next, so need your help.

I've just moved over to OVO (supply started 8th March), and like a good Nanny T supplied my meter readings to both OVO and old supplier. I usually let the professional gas meter man take my readings to report them back to the big guns, if i did them myself regularly he wouldn't have a job now would he? So, being fully confident in my gas meter man and his bosses, I never thought to check up on them. Just dutifully paid my direct debit every month and paid more when they upped the DD.

Now here comes the problem. My final electric reading taken by myself 7th MAR (and checked numerous times, even checking the meter serial number matches etc) is 00721

My previous supplier say my last reading by my meter man OCT 2017 is 96219 and my final estimated reading 99581. A very big difference!

I emailed them querying it and sent a photo of my meter to confirm, showing meter reading and meter serial numbers:

"My main concern is that my electric meter reading is nothing like the meter readings that have been quoted by yourselves as actually being read bi monthly. Were they actually read? As I know that utility companies only have to read meters once every year or so. And my online account gives no listed Gas readings at all either read or estimated. Your latest estimated electric reading for me is 99581 but my actual electric reading is 00721. A very big difference. I've attached my electric meter photo taken on the 7th March. I also gave OVO my Gas reading 0482965 on the 7th March too.
Thank you for getting in touch and explaining what happens next. I'm just quite concerned as to the big difference in my electric readings and not sure of what my gas is according to your records"

My reply today:

"Thanks for getting back to us about your final bill. Sorry its taken a little longer than normal to reply to you and that I couldn't reach you when I called today.

Your last routine readings were on 3 October 2017.....

We try to visit all customers at least twice per year to read your meters. in some cases its less frequent of there's been regular meter readings submitted online.

The routine readings we got on your last visit were:

Elec: 96219, Gas: 04097 (My own gas reading 7th Mar is 0482965)

I can see that the electricity reading now compared to your history is very different.

If you want to investigate whether the meter is perhaps faulty then you'd need to arrange this through your new supplier.

I would like to do more for you but I'm afraid we're not able to book appointments for supplies that have switched away from us.

If there's anything else that we can do for you then let us know."

Soooo....can you please advise what I should do next? I'm quite worried. The history on my old supplier account states that actual meter readings were taken bi-monthly which were not used for billing. Only the bi-monthly estimates (it states) were used for billing.

It just seems a little bit coincidental for a meter fault to have happened when reading myself as leaving for a new supplier. How is it possible to know if it is an actual meter fault or something to do with previous supplier? What should I do next?

Sorry for the long babble btw
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Best answer by Transparent 18 March 2018, 17:34

Hi @Nanny T,

May I please put your mind at rest?

Firstly it is the responsibility of the receiving Utility Company to control the switch process, and it should be they who send your meter readings to the National Database. I know this for certain because the Office of the Energy Ombudsman has written to tell me so!

You should not need to be communicating with your original Supplier at all. It's wasted effort because they must abide by the correct procedure themselves otherwise they get their knuckles wrapped by the Ombudsman.

Once OVO have uploaded your readings, the National Database notifies your original Supplier. They have a narrow window of opportunity to raise any objection - which must be within guidelines agreed with Ofgem, the Energy Regulator.

There are allowable margins of error permitted in the readings, and the original Supplier will need to demonstrate that you have clearly provided readings which are a substantial way adrift from a reasonable estimate. Since they haven't got a confirmed reading since October in your case, the margin of error will be very wide!

If they do decide to object, then OVO will be notified and they in turn will ask you to confirm your current reading.

If they don't object, there is then a delay of a fortnight (the statutory cooling-off period for financial contracts). After that the Original Supplier will send you a Final Bill.

Since I don't know the relative costs-per-KWh for your two contracts, I don't know if the "error" is in your favour or not. So my advice above is unbiased.

If you need OVO to confirm that they have indeed sent your readings to the National Database, then email Customer Services at hello@ovoenergy.com because that enables you to retain a copy of what you wrote.

Finally, can I please point out that the gas reading you quoted for the 7th March should be 04829 (not 0482965). The last two digits are beyond the decimal point on your meter, and therefore don't form part of the reading.

Post here again if you need any further clarification.
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Hi @Nanny T,

May I please put your mind at rest?

Firstly it is the responsibility of the receiving Utility Company to control the switch process, and it should be they who send your meter readings to the National Database. I know this for certain because the Office of the Energy Ombudsman has written to tell me so!

You should not need to be communicating with your original Supplier at all. It's wasted effort because they must abide by the correct procedure themselves otherwise they get their knuckles wrapped by the Ombudsman.

Once OVO have uploaded your readings, the National Database notifies your original Supplier. They have a narrow window of opportunity to raise any objection - which must be within guidelines agreed with Ofgem, the Energy Regulator.

There are allowable margins of error permitted in the readings, and the original Supplier will need to demonstrate that you have clearly provided readings which are a substantial way adrift from a reasonable estimate. Since they haven't got a confirmed reading since October in your case, the margin of error will be very wide!

If they do decide to object, then OVO will be notified and they in turn will ask you to confirm your current reading.

If they don't object, there is then a delay of a fortnight (the statutory cooling-off period for financial contracts). After that the Original Supplier will send you a Final Bill.

Since I don't know the relative costs-per-KWh for your two contracts, I don't know if the "error" is in your favour or not. So my advice above is unbiased.

If you need OVO to confirm that they have indeed sent your readings to the National Database, then email Customer Services at hello@ovoenergy.com because that enables you to retain a copy of what you wrote.

Finally, can I please point out that the gas reading you quoted for the 7th March should be 04829 (not 0482965). The last two digits are beyond the decimal point on your meter, and therefore don't form part of the reading.

Post here again if you need any further clarification.
Hi @Transparent,

Thank you so much for your very clear & detailed reply.

I haven't a clue myself if the costs per kw will be to my advantage but I can say that my OVO DD has been based upon my old suppliers estimate of my usage next year (and of course OVO is a bit cheaper than EON hence the switch), so i'm hoping the error will be in my favour. I am assuming then, that following the outcome of the reason for the big difference that if the meter needs fault checking that OVO will look into it. Ohhh what a pallaver!! :S

"Finally, can I please point out that the gas reading you quoted for the 7th March should be 04829 (not 0482965). The last two digits are beyond the decimal point on your meter, and therefore don't form part of the reading"....ahhhh, there must have been an elusive decimal point that needs better glasses to spot! Thank you for that 🙂
Userlevel 5
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Really glad to see that @Transparent has helped you out big time with this one @Nanny T!

This is exactly the kind of interactions we want to see between users. :)

Lucy

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