Solved

Does OVO offer a change from monthly to quarterly billing?


I’m currently paying monthly and have been for years. I want more control over my monthly bills and to now pay my energy bills quarterly. Is this straightforward with OVO and are there any additional charges? I am on the standard variable tariff with a smart meter.

Thanks

icon

Best answer by Jess_OVO 24 May 2022, 13:09

View original

26 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hey there @m1962 ,

I’m really sorry, but OVO doesn’t offer quarterly billing or quarterly payments to anyone who’s not already on them. In actual fact, an increasing number of suppliers are dropping support for quarterly bills/payments or have started out by never offering them as monthly billing and payments is better for cashflow, which in turn allows for cheaper rates. In fact, almost every type of company you can think of is slowly doing away with quarterly bills too.

There is no supplier that I can think of which will offer you quarterly bills either. And if there are, they probably won’t keep doing so for very long.

Sorry about that.

OK thanks. So basically OVO are allowed to keep my money in their account - currently over £600 - based on what they think I might spend, and I am not allowed to take control of my own spending. That money is becoming essential for day to day living since my DD was doubled in April. I’m apparently not allowed to have it back because the amount doesn’t meet OVO’s criteria for a refund which states that I need to have three months worth of bill payments on my account (actually in their account). 

This is all about building up their cash reserves, not customer choice. I have never been in debit, never missed a payment and have taken a responsible approach to reducing my monthly energy usage significantly this year.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

The money is actually held in a separate holding account that OVO can’t touch until after a bill is generated. You can ask for it back at anytime by requesting a refund.

If you still want a refund despite the self service options blocking it, you may be able to get one by talking to the support team. Likewise, they’re able to adjust your payments to any amount - even below the recommended minimum level - on request at OVO’s discretion. But please be advised that doing say may have negative effects later.

If you still want to do this anyway, please get in touch with them on 0330 303 5063.

Userlevel 7

I’m really sorry to hear about the difficulty you’ve had requesting a refund and a quarterly payment schedule, @m1962.

 

Just to clarify here at OVO we only offer a monthly billing and payment schedule which should make it easier to manage and budget your energy costs throughout the year. This shouldn’t require you to build up a credit or pay via a monthly Direct Debit if you’re on our variable On Demand plan however. We’d encourage you to reach out to our Support Team to discuss adjusting your payments and manually processing a refund, if you’re not able to complete this via your online account.

 

We’ve got more advice and support to help those affected by the cost of living increases on our Price Cap FAQs.

 

I hope this helps.

Many thanks for the replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

According to the Which price comparison website a few suppliers do quarterly direct debits, at least for my address.

https://switch.which.co.uk/index.html?db=dual&go=profile

The following come up with quarterly direct debit tariff options for my address. 

EDF

EON Next

Scottish Power

Sainsbury

Of course i think you would need to contact the suppliers directly to check they will actually do this assuming they have a tariff you like. I am sure monthly is the norm these days. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I’m afraid I’m going to have to shorten that list a bit.

My friends have told me that neither E.On Next nor Sainsburys Energy offer quarterly billing/payments at all. They also seem to have a policy of moving all existing quarterly billed E.On customers to monthly as well…

EDF also confirms here that they do monthly billing for Direct Debit customers and quarterly billing is not available for that payment method. The only way to do quarterly bills with them is to pay by cash or cheque.

Scottish Power is a nightmare to find info for because they’ve dumped all the support pages into Khoros, but I found it eventually. They offer monthly payments and billing only, no quarterly bills on offer by the looks of things.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I’m afraid I’m going to have to shorten that list a bit.

My friends have told me that neither E.On Next nor Sainsburys Energy offer quarterly billing/payments at all. They also seem to have a policy of moving all existing quarterly billed E.On customers to monthly as well…

EDF also confirms here that they do monthly billing for Direct Debit customers and quarterly billing is not available for that payment method. The only way to do quarterly bills with them is to pay by cash or cheque.

Scottish Power is a nightmare to find info for because they’ve dumped all the support pages into Khoros, but I found it eventually. They offer monthly payments and billing only, no quarterly bills on offer by the looks of things.

So best to ignore the Which price comparison calculator then for their quarterly filter? 

A few other quarterly options came up on the Which site but i assume these are invalid also.

Are there any comparison sites you would recommend in normal times or might  they all have similar issues? 

This is interesting, but not encouraging. It really does seem as if most energy companies have forgotten how to serve their customers. There should be a proper choice of payment methods and, importantly, no penalties for doing so. My understanding is that for customers who can pay quarterly there are different rates for prices. Other than a means to scalp customers, why is this? Everything is done online with no armies of clerks processing payment instructions and the cost to the companies must be minimal, and even f there is a charge levied by banks, it wouldn’t justify the additional c.£20 per month increase on my own bills when I was last able to check.

Energy companies are not alone, and other institutions such as insurance companies have also got used to ripping off customers off if they dare to try and change anything on their accounts.

There cannot be any real justification for energy companies including OVO for resisting customer wishes to pay quarterly other than to generate cash for their reserves, as if the monthly charges aren’t enough already.

The fact that I’ve had to come on here and ask evidences the fact that the information is buried within the website, not easy to find and clearly not intended to be common knowledge.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Paying quarterly increases the risk that suppliers take on of a customer failing to pay, and it also disrupts cashflow by having fewer opportunities for cash to come in during the year. With monthly payments it’s 12, with quarterly it plummets to just four. Which options a supplier decides to offer is left to the discretion of that supplier. To my knowledge, Ofgem doesn’t require any supplier to offer quarterly payments, nor block suppliers from applying surcharges to cover the additional costs of quarterly payments and more expensive payment methods. It’s not just admin time that’s involved here, there’s also payment processing fees and they’re not cheap! And bank fees are just the start...

If a supplier chooses to charge more for not paying via a specific payment method and/or frequency, that’s basically their decision and theirs alone. As long as it’s reasonable like for covering the additional costs incurred by the supplier and - for variable rate and prepayment tariffs - stays within the current Ofgem Default Tariff Cap, it’s allowed. Likewise, afaik as long as multiple payment options are available like - for example - paying via Direct Debit, Cash at the bank, Bank Transfer, Cheque, Card payments or even more fancy options like PayPal, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Apple Pay, that’s sufficient to give you choice.

@Jeffus as far as I’m aware, I’m afraid none of them are reliable. I’ve been seeing several comparison sites (you know who you are!!!) trying to offer tariffs that have been long withdrawn by suppliers and also from suppliers that died ages ago. And that’s before I go into the issues with the quarterly/monthly billing thing.

To me, it seems all the comparison sites are getting out of sync again and the only reliable method to verify any offers is to manually run the quote through your chosen supplier directly. Personally, I don’t think comparison sites deserve the commission if they can’t get their tools to work properly but that’s just me.

I won’t name and shame any right now, but if they’re reading this, it’s worth noting that I will consider calling out comparison sites in the future if they don’t fix their problems.

I will give one example though. I had one of my friends test out one of the most trusted comparison sites a few hours ago (she’s currently on British Gas) to see what it would come up with. It told her that Nabuh Energy had the best possible deal right now, but there’s a bit of a problem there.

Nabuh Energy got nuked by Ofgem with a Final Order in October 2020 which revoked both their Gas and Electric supply licenses in September 2021. Centrica had already bought the entire customer book by then and merged it with British Gas, ultimately making Nabuh Energy only continue to exist as a name. Technically speaking, you can no longer sign up to Nabuh unless you move into a property they’re already supplying. And given that it’s basically British Gas with a fancy skin, you may as well just move the supply to British Gas and cut out the middleman.

I was an SSE customer for over 40 years and recently was automatically transferred to OVO, but my billing changed to monthly. When I enquired about wanting to retain my quarterly billing, they stated “that this was not possible and not their policy”. Yet when I looked at the policy on the website, it clearly conflicts with this advice :
 
The online account I was asked to use to submit meter readings states that "We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments."
 
It also states "(billing periods can also run by calendar month, or quarterly, too)"
 
To view this information :
1. In main Home of OVO website, click on "Help and support" at top right of page.
2. In the browse by categories section on right : click on "Bills and payments"
3. Billing and statements/How billing works
4. It states : "We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments." and also further down says :"We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments."
 
Customers should be able to choose what setting/service they want!
Userlevel 7
Badge +1
I was an SSE customer for over 40 years and recently was automatically transferred to OVO, but my billing changed to monthly. When I enquired about wanting to retain my quarterly billing, they stated “that this was not possible and not their policy”. Yet when I looked at the policy on the website, it clearly conflicts with this advice :
 
The online account I was asked to use to submit meter readings states that "We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments."
 
It also states "(billing periods can also run by calendar month, or quarterly, too)"
 
To view this information :
1. In main Home of OVO website, click on "Help and support" at top right of page.
2. In the browse by categories section on right : click on "Bills and payments"
3. Billing and statements/How billing works
4. It states : "We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments." and also further down says :"We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments."
 
Customers should be able to choose what setting/service they want!

 

I could only find one reference to “Quarterly” in the Core Terms & Conditions for migrated SSE customers. It doesn’t match what you mentioned here.

5.7 If you do not provide or you withdraw a direct debit instruction we will bill you quarterly and alter your Charges accordingly.

 

OVO has never directly offered quarterly billing and in fact, most of the industry has opted to withdraw quarterly bills for anyone who isn’t already on them. Monthly is better for everyone’s cashflow. That article appears to be outdated, but I can ask @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO to review it and get it updated if needed.

For a short time, some SSE customers were offered quarterly bills on OVO if memory serves, but the stance appears to have changed since.

The references (and instructions on exactly where to view the information on the OVO website) quoted were taken today. (See the link below...)

It clearly states:
"We send your bill monthly or quarterly, depending on your account settings – this includes a breakdown of all your charges and payments."
 
It also states "(billing periods can also run by calendar month, or quarterly, too)"

 

Quarterly bills are therefore subject to customers account settings. I see no reason for the conflict of telling customers they cannot have this service when they clearly state the service is available to them!

Here is the link done today Wed June 29th 2022 :

https://help.ovoenergy.com/article/b3258d11-ae37-47dc-8ead-df7e68a7a82c-web

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I see. There is however, also https://help.ovoenergy.com/article/bd6404cc-4046-45fa-878c-d15f0cc1cd24-web which only references Monthly Billing. My sweep of all related articles so far hasn’t turned up anything else referencing Quarterly Billing.

I’ve set a flag on this thread asking for further help. You may not be able to see it, but it’s been set.

Exact same here…was originally an SSE customer paying quarterly cash for my bills for all my years with them. Was told they were merging with OVO and I was getting transferred over to them. Was assured nothing would change with my account…what a load of lies…First bill in from OVO is for a month. When I phoned and ask why ..I was told this is what’s happening now…No consultation..nothing !!!…if this is my first encounter with OVO let me tell you it’s not good (there will be no marriage made in heaven between myself and them rest assured)…If I wanted to pay monthly I would but obviously it doesn’t suit me to pay this way !!…As previously stated by other OVO customers… it is still saying you can pay quarterly on their website…(30/06/2022)..is this not false advertising ??…They did offer me a £25 good will payment off my bill which I REFUSED…SORRY OVO…but that SMALL gesture doesn’t make it right..give me back my option to pay quarterly and have a little bit of decent customer service !!!…

Userlevel 7

Hi and welcome to the OVO online community @IJARD and @iantommo.

 

Firstly I’m sorry for any confusion caused by the information you’ve seen on our Help pages, relating to our quarterly billing policy. Just to clarify if you’re joining us from SSE and pay on receipt of your bill your welcome pack will outline the change in your billing schedule. 

 

As advised in this similar thread:

We know from our existing members that monthly billing can help them with budgeting as it spreads their usage costs through-out the year. You’ll still be able to request these as postal statements and make payments in the same way, albeit on a more regular basis. If you’d like to discuss this change further we’d encourage you to reach out to our dedicated Migration Support Team on 0345 0260 712.

Same, here i was originally an SSE customer paying quarterly  for my bills for all the years i was with them. When i was transferred to ovo i notice that my bills are every month which for me are very hard to pay. I try today to contact the customer service by live chat not only that i wait 3 hours for someone but also i was told that they dont offer the quarterly bill, which for me was so shocking, because on the website it clearly said that you pay quartely, obviously if i will be able to pay montly i will do it, however i cant aword to pay every month. Also i pay this week the bill for the last 3 months nearly £600 and the next month another bill!!! Unbelievably!

Userlevel 7

I’m so sorry to hear about the extended wait you had when using our webchat last week, @Arturb.

 

As we’d usually expect you to be connected within a few minutes I’m wondering whether a technical issue may have affected things in your case. Did you manage to speak to the team by calling 0330 303 5063?

 

As mentioned above if you’ve joined us from SSE and pay on receipt of the bill your OVO welcome pack should have outlined the reasoning behind this change to your billing frequency. By issuing your bills more regularly we’ll breakdown the amount you need to pay each month, spreading out the cost of your energy more evenly throughout the year.

 

It’s worth mentioning that if you're struggling to may a payment there are ways we can help so we’d recommend checking out the advice we’ve given here.

 

I hope this helps.

I can honestly say I'm disgusted  with ovo, I too will have difficulty paying monthly,  you have said to contact you for help if this is the xase but this will affect my impeccable  credit rating, you are discriminating against people, please, please give them the option! We were forced onto ovo so it's very unfair,  we didn't look at price comparison  sites because they are as clear as mud too us.

My husband is a pensioner, I'm fed up with being punished because we wish to do things the old way.

Ovo should be ashamed with themselves for causing distress to customers, if we wanted to pay monthly we would have asked. 

I find it difficult to read my gas meter too as I have to get kn my ha ds and knees, the thought of doing this monthly  fills me with dread, and before you get onto smart meters, I've heard too many horror stories. 

I thought ovo were a caring company, I don't think so, I'm also speaking on behalf of the thousands of others who have been transferred  from sse to you.

D

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I’m afraid that’s the way the entire market is going @Whizzy . Quarterly billing is basically dead these days and hardly any supplier does it anymore for anyone who doesn’t already have it active. Given that the transfer from SSE to OVO is treated as a Change of Supplier like any other, OVO doesn’t have to honour the quarterly billing that SSE used to offer. However, everything else about your contract will be honoured including the tariff rates and payment method.

You would have been notified well in advance and I wouldn’t recommend trying to use a price comparison site - a LOT of them are using outdated data right now anyway.

There is a workaround however, in the form of the Priority Services Register. You can use that to arrange an engineer visit to read your meters on your behalf every month.

I'll need to know the exact day he's coming as all our meters are securely locked up due to yobs turning off power, we're on the first floor, really dangerous  if you're on the stairs.

We were told that we were moving over and nothing else, they'll be cutting us off as we have to save the money up every three months, we've only just paid our quarterly  bill last month, all our other money us spoken for for other bills, I don't think they get that.

I know we may bave to put up with it, but like I said, if we can't pay it will affect our credit score too.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

I'll need to know the exact day he's coming as all our meters are securely locked up due to yobs turning off power, we're on the first floor, really dangerous  if you're on the stairs.

We were told that we were moving over and nothing else, they'll be cutting us off as we have to save the money up every three months, we've only just paid our quarterly  bill last month, all our other money us spoken for for other bills, I don't think they get that.

I know we may bave to put up with it, but like I said, if we can't pay it will affect our credit score too.

Hi @Whizzy 

I am just a customer like you. There are a few of us that try and help out when time permits.

I like OVO but appreciate some peoples finances work better with quarterly bills. I am not moving from OVO at the moment. 

Personally i find monthly budgeting easier.

I haven't checked the whole market recently, but i did contact EDF this week. They are still offering quarterly billing at least at the time of asking for me. This is not a recommendation and you would need to double check they would make the same offer to you. I think you would need to phone up rather than get a quote from their website. I doubt you could get quarterly billing via their website. I agree with @Blastoise186 i doubt there are many suppliers still offering quarterly billing.

Good luck whatever you decide to do. Keep us updated as it may help other customers. 

Thanks for that, I'm going to sit my husband down on Monday and work it out together,  annoyingly,  8f 6ou pay tv licence  monthly  it costs more!

We don't do direct debits if we can help it as we've heard vuorror stories, so we'll be paying by cheque monthly. 

I do however think that they should honour  the payment method especially as it bas been thrust upon us.

Hubby does all the finances so not sure what essential bills we have, ought to learn as you never know!.

Think I'll also register  him as a vulnerable person as he is listed as vulnerable with ovo.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

With energy suppliers, paying monthly has never cost more than paying quarterly anyway. Its the same price, but monthly is better for cash flow 

5hat may be true, but when you've worked this way for 40 years, and you're 70, it can be hard to recalculate,  we manage very well like this, never been in debt and bills always paid on time.

I think it depends on the person.

We are old school in everything  because its more trustworthy.

I've also heard the horror stories of people's direct debits going pear shaped and smart meters giving a single person whose never in a bill of a £1000 pounds.

I remember at work once no one was paid on time one April ( the person in wages thought there were 31 days).

Everyone  but me were panicking  as their would be no money in their accounts  for direct debit.

I'm also very concerned over people being forced to change the way they conduct their lives.

That's another reason 8 yet so irritated. 

I can see its the way of the world but there is such as a thing as my choice .

Reply