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High estimated usage - will I be refunded?


Hi,

I received my first gas and electricity bill last week, which was based on estimates since I had only provided a reading when I moved in. However, after realising I needed to submit monthly readings, I submitted the readings straight away and realised I was overcharged. In that month, I spent less energy than what was actually estimated.

Will the amount I was charged for be adjust now that the real usage can be calculated? How will I be refunded for that?

Many thanks for your help!

Laura
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Best answer by Tim_OVO 26 October 2020, 16:02

Updated in 26/10/20:

 

The info below has been taken from this topic on estimated annual consumption (EAC), projected usage and estimates. It will explain why an EAC is used to estimate usage in the absence of actual readings. 

 

If your readings are being estimated badly, it might be due to a lack of readings, and an out of date or wrong EAC. Reach out to our Support team to get this EAC figure checked, sort a refund, submit a reading, and consider getting a smart meter fitted! You can do a lot of that on your online account before calling as well

 

What is an EAC?

 

EAC stands for Estimated Annual Consumption. We (and the rest of the industry) are able to use this figure to forecast the energy usage at a property over the next 12 months.

 

How do we use an EAC?

  • Sometimes to Calculate your Direct Debit (see ‘Usage projection’ for more info)
  • Estimating readings when we have no 'actual' readings
  • Estimating consumption when a meter is faulty

We don't always use EAC to predict a member's usage - as stated below, EAC is only used for supplies where you don’t have a smart meter and there's no actual readings in the past 12 months.

 

How do we update an EAC?

 

Whenever a new reading is submitted to industry, a new EAC is calculated and sent to us to use.

 

If your EAC is incorrect, you should keep sending us regular readings. As the EAC is calculated based on the entire reading history of an electricity supply (MPAN), submitting regular readings over a period of time will gradually change the EAC until it matches the member's usage. The better alternative is to get a smart meter!

 

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36 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +5
Hi @Laura,

Welcome to the Forum :)

I'm unsure if you realise that the OVO Forum is responded to by fellow customers, rather than OVO Customer Support.

However, I can answer your question...

The actual readings you've just submitted will be used to calculate the next bill. Since this is cumulative, it will automatically adjust for the previous high estimates. You need do nothing more.

You don't say if you are paying by Direct Debit, nor when your contract started. If you fill in these details on your Forum Profile it helps us to give more accurate responses. But feel free to post here again if you'd like clarification of the billing process.
I appear to have been over-charged for my gas this month (October) Under my usage it says around £15 but I've been charged about £44 for gas the past month. This is probably just an error as £44 is more than double what we've ever had to pay for gas. How can I get this rectified?
Userlevel 6
Hi @elliotrussell,

I've moved your question onto this topic about gas bills.

Sounds like you might have been billed to estimated readings. Have a look at @Transparent's answer above for more information about how to get this corrected.

Cheers,
Nancy

two quarters and two estimates for a vulnerable person were three times the quarterly average bill. Why? 

Userlevel 7

Hi @GaryT and thanks for posting. 

 

Can you help us all out here and give a little more info about this? 

 

Are you with SSE? Do you not have a smart meter so you need to submit readings manually? If so, when did you last submit a reading?

 

That might be all we need to offer some suggestions as to what’s happened here… hopefully! 

Hi

yes the customer is with SSE

No smart meter she is over 85 and doesn’t understand them 

I made contact on their behalf when the estimate was over £1000 in the spring with a meter reading and the estimate in the autumn was also over £1000 - the revised actual bill was just over £150. I cannot see any reason why the algorithm that does the calculation is set so unbelievably high.  There is no justification and if it happens again the perhaps the energy ombudsman will be interested in this form of bullying profiteering. 

It is extremely distressing for old people to manage finances without seeing and then dealing with this and I am sure this person has not been singled out by your billing methodology. 

Perhaps  you can provide the total number of OVO group estimated readings that are subsequently reduced by more than 30% please

Userlevel 7

Thanks for this info, @GaryT 

 

Now that I have this, I’ve been able to find an existing topic thread on the same query and move it over to this one. 

 

I’ll write a detailed response below and assigned it as the new best answer for anyone else who finds it.

 

:blush:

 

 

Userlevel 7

Updated in 26/10/20:

 

The info below has been taken from this topic on estimated annual consumption (EAC), projected usage and estimates. It will explain why an EAC is used to estimate usage in the absence of actual readings. 

 

If your readings are being estimated badly, it might be due to a lack of readings, and an out of date or wrong EAC. Reach out to our Support team to get this EAC figure checked, sort a refund, submit a reading, and consider getting a smart meter fitted! You can do a lot of that on your online account before calling as well

 

What is an EAC?

 

EAC stands for Estimated Annual Consumption. We (and the rest of the industry) are able to use this figure to forecast the energy usage at a property over the next 12 months.

 

How do we use an EAC?

  • Sometimes to Calculate your Direct Debit (see ‘Usage projection’ for more info)
  • Estimating readings when we have no 'actual' readings
  • Estimating consumption when a meter is faulty

We don't always use EAC to predict a member's usage - as stated below, EAC is only used for supplies where you don’t have a smart meter and there's no actual readings in the past 12 months.

 

How do we update an EAC?

 

Whenever a new reading is submitted to industry, a new EAC is calculated and sent to us to use.

 

If your EAC is incorrect, you should keep sending us regular readings. As the EAC is calculated based on the entire reading history of an electricity supply (MPAN), submitting regular readings over a period of time will gradually change the EAC until it matches the member's usage. The better alternative is to get a smart meter!

 

i provided an accurate reading at the end of the previous quarter which was equally overestimated by you so the EAC should have been adjusted so I still do not consider that 5 times the consumption is a fair and reasonable estimate.

Userlevel 7

Very strange, @GaryT 

 

I would first request from our Support team that your (her) EAC is checked. I’ve seen errors which can lead to this figure being wrong, and then if we do use it to create estimates, these are wrong as well. 

 

If it looks inline (averages below), then this isn’t the cause and some digging needs to be done by the agent. Please keep us updated though….

 

What is the average EAC?

 

The current average EAC / AQ, as specified by Ofgem, is as follows:

  • Electricity (P1): 3,100 kWh
  • Electricity (P2): 4,200 kWh
  • Gas: 12,000 kWh

Smart Meter in village with no phone signal...I usually use 300-350 units/month electricity. estimated pretty accurately over the last few years by OVO...estimated usage on latest bill 2000! Thanks for the heart attack OVO, I've now entered the readings on line...! My new monthly job..why the massive mistake though? 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hey there @NAlbiston .

That sounds really weird and definitely shouldn’t have happened! You mentioned you’ve got a smart meter, but has it ever submitted readings successfully? If you can fill in your forum profile, that might help to provide some clues.

I think one of the main problems here, comes when you haven’t been submitting readings, your smart meters (if installed) aren’t sending anything in and there’s not much data to work with. If you’ve always relied purely on the estimated readings and never put actual readings in, you’re more likely to run into these issues.

The easiest way to force MyOVO to get back on track would be to pop some readings in every month. If you’re happy to submit more often (such as daily or weekly), this can also help to improve accuracy as well.

Userlevel 7

Smart Meter in village with no phone signal...I usually use 300-350 units/month electricity. estimated pretty accurately over the last few years by OVO...estimated usage on latest bill 2000! 

 

 

Thanks for posting, @NAlbiston - that must’ve been quite a shock!

 

Have a look at the ‘best answer’ in this topic, which I’ve quoted below:

 

What is an EAC?

 

EAC stands for Estimated Annual Consumption. We (and the rest of the industry) are able to use this figure to forecast the energy usage at a property over the next 12 months.

 

How do we use an EAC?

  • Sometimes to Calculate your Direct Debit (see ‘Usage projection’ for more info)
  • Estimating readings when we have no 'actual' readings
  • Estimating consumption when a meter is faulty

We don't always use EAC to predict a member's usage - as stated below, EAC is only used for supplies where you don’t have a smart meter and there's no actual readings in the past 12 months.

 

So it’s that EAC which will determine the estimate being used. In the past I’ve seen human error be an issue which has meant this EAC figure suddenly changes and is wrong, needing updating. I would recommend you reach out to or Support team here (at the bottom) and get them to check that figure. 

 

Let us know if that’s the issue if you can!

Good afternoon 

I have an issue and it would be great to get some assistance please,my monthly bills have usually just been estimates but the last couple of months I sent through the actual readings and my bill usually came in around £115 to £130 per month then in April with the estimate it randomly jumped to £298 which I have no idea why it would of jumped so much in a single month? Has anyone got any suggestions as to why this may of happened?

many thanks in advance

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi @Cese27 !

By the sounds of things, it’s possible that you’ve not been submitting many actual readings and been relying on Estimated Readings for a long time, which are only now being corrected by actual readings. This isn’t ideal as it throws the billing platform into a pretty confused state.

Do you have a smart meter by any chance? If you’re able to snap some photos of your meters and post them in your next reply, this may provide some extra clues as well.

Thank you for the reply,no I haven’t got a smart meter as I was informed that I couldn’t have one at my property for some reason,I have sold the property now and am moving out next weekend so I wanted to get my bill in order before I left,as it was such a massive jump in price it has really shocked me,I will post a photo when I return home from work today 

many thanks 

 

Userlevel 7

Hi @Cese27,

 

Great point to raise on the jump you’ve seen to your estimated readings after supplying some actual meters readings in the past couple of months and @Blastoise186  makes a great suggestion as to what may have caused this.

 

 I’ve moved your question over to a similar thread as I think you’ll find the information above helpful in explaining why your estimated usage may change.

 

 

I have sold the property now and am moving out next weekend so I wanted to get my bill in order before I left, as it was such a massive jump in price it has really shocked me,

 

As you’re now closing your account, the most important thing to remember is to take some final meter readings on the day you move out. You can submit these and let us know you’re moving out on your online account. This will ensure your final statement is accurate and will override any estimates that have been made since your last actual reading was submitted. 

 

Hope this helps clear things up and good luck with the move! Planning on staying with us at your new home? :slight_smile:

 

I’d have no issue staying providing I can get my issue resolved and don’t owe what my current bill shows

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

No worries @Cese27 !

You should be refunded for any overpayments as long as you give an accurate meter reading on the day you move out of your current property. It may take a while for the Final Bill to be generated, but if the credit in your account is sufficient to wipe out the Final Bill directly, it will be automatically paid from that and you’ll get the rest sent back to your bank account.

Actual readings always override estimates, so please make sure to get them in. If you’re able to put a few in on random days between now and when you move out as well, that should also help to get the billing platform back in sync - and should force it to recalculate more realistic bills.

We’ll be here if you need a hand. Good luck in the new place!

I administer my elderly parents account.They can’t get smart meter due to off peak meter.This month of missed the reading by 1 day and the estimated bill is £495!!!!!Bloody disgrace!!The estimating is 1700 kw for storage-in SUMMER!?Lucky if they’ve used 100kw.Now £195 in arrears…shocking 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi there @Davie1969 .

Sorry to hear about that. This is only usually likely to happen if you’ve either missed multiple readings or it’s been a very long time since you put a reading in. But there is a fix for this.

Please submit a meter reading as soon as possible either by phone or via MyOVO, and this should force the system to recalculate your billing and hopefully correct the account balance. If that fails to fix the issue, the Support Team can investigate and manually force the system to correct itself. You’ll never be liable to pay for any energy you didn’t actually use, but issues like this can crop up if there's either a lack of readings, or if you’ve gotten multi-rate readings mixed up. If the Support Team agrees with you - which I suspect is extremely likely - they’ll be able to fix your account balance and put you back into credit.

As for a possible smart meter upgrade, that might be possible depending on what kind of off-peak meter you’ve got. Please could you share some photos of the meter in your next reply if possible, along with what tariff your parents are currently on. I can try to figure out what you can do next from that information.

If you need a hand with anything else, I’ll be right here. I can’t access your account, but I can definitely offer advice. :)

I typed in readings on app next day.It’s only the 3rd time in 4 years I’ve been late.They’ve had 3 visits from installation team,last one last month with the promise “we can do it this time”!Still couldn’t do it.What annoys me is their highest bill ever was £300ish in December/January 2 years ago.This ridiculous figure has been plucked out from the sky.Not great for two 80 yr old folks!

Top one is storage and below is the estimated bill

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Thanks for the photos.

Something doesn’t add up here and this might be a clue. It looks like the top reading from your screenshot of the bill matches up reasonably closely to what I believe is the off-peak meter for the storage heaters, but the other reading doesn’t match up at all with the main meter. Have you ever known it go round the clock and back to zero by any chance? I begin to wonder if there’s either a meter fault of some kind, a bug in the billing platform or something at your parents house is gobbling up a LOT more electricity than you’re expecting.

There is a solution though and it can definitely be investigated, so if it does turn out the estimated bill was way higher than it should have been, the Support Team can override the system and regenerate a new bill after running the numbers again.

As for that smart meter upgrade… This is a bit of a tricky one. It definitely is clear that the current meters were installed by Scottish Power and they’re probably a Complex Meter of some kind. Do you know of any kind of Timeswitch or Teleswitch that is connected to either meter? If so, a photo of that too along with a wider shot of the entire setup would be extremely useful alongside the ones you’ve provided so far.

Upgrading these setups to Smart Meters isn’t completely impossible, but it’s also not as simple as a straightforward swap either. I’ll see if @Transparent is around as he knows more about these setups than I do. Tim and Jess should be back tomorrow, so I can also ask them to help out with some advice if needed. You may want to ask the Support Team why the upgrade has failed as well on previous attempts - knowing this information will definitely help us to figure out what to do next.

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