Tutorial

How does OVO Energy calculate my Direct Debit?

Userlevel 7
• Retired Moderator
• 643 replies

Updated on 03/07/24 by Abby_OVO

How do you calculate my Direct Debit when I first join?

When you apply to switch to us, we’ll use your annual usage figures, as well as the unit rates and standing charges on your new plan to calculate how much your energy will cost over the year, if you’re on a fixed rate plan. We’ll divide this into 12 - which gives us the recommended monthly Direct Debit amount. You should be able to find out this annual usage figure from your current supplier. If you don’t know this figure, we can also base this calculation on average usage in your size of home.

For a visual guide to this Direct Debit calculation for a fixed rate plan check out the video below.

How we work out your payment amount when you’re with us

To work out your monthly Direct Debit amount, we:

• look at your energy use to date and how much you’re likely to use until 31 March, or the end of your contract if you’re on a fixed plan
• take into account your current balance and any other costs such as the standing charge and any add-ons you have
• divide the amount by the number of payments left until 31 March, or the end of your contract, and that gives us your monthly amount

Our aim is to make sure you don’t build up unexpected debt by the end of winter, or the end of your contract if you're on a fixed plan.

Why your Direct Debit amount might be different to your bill amount

How much energy you use can change from month to month, so your actual bill might be a different amount to your Direct Debit amount.

But we make sure you’re paying the right amount each month to cover your whole year’s energy use, spread out over 12 monthly payments.

You can make sure your Direct Debit amount stays at the right level by giving us regular meter readings – once a month is best.

If you’re new to OVO, we work out your Direct Debit amount to cover your expected energy use over the next 12 months. We base it on your past year’s energy use if you know it.

If we don’t know it, we’ll ask you about your property and how many people live there, then we’ll base it on the average data for your type of household.

After 2 months we check in to make sure the amount you’re paying is right for your actual energy use. Your Direct Debit amount might then need to go up or down.

How often we check you’re paying the right amount

We review your Direct Debit every 3 months to make sure you are not paying too much or too little for the energy you’re using.

We let you know if your Direct Debit amount needs to change to keep you on track.

When your payment amount might change

Your payments might need to go up or down if something changes, such as:

• your energy use goes up or down
• the price of energy goes up or down – if you’re on a standard variable tariff
• you change which energy plan you’re on
• you missed a payment or recently requested a refund
• you’ve chosen an add-on, such as Greener Electricity or OVO Foundation

If your Direct Debit is too high or too low, then we’ll let you know we’re going to have to change the amount.

If your balance is in credit

It’s good for your balance to be in a bit of credit as it acts like a pot of money to cover when your energy use is higher.

For example, you’re likely to build up credit in the summer months when energy use is lower, but you might need to tap into your credit in the colder and darker winter months when energy use can be much higher.

We check you’re paying the right monthly amount so your balance stays on track for the whole year.

Even if your balance is in credit, it might be that we still need to increase your monthly payments. This would be if we’ve worked out what your energy use is likely to be and that your balance is likely to go below zero by the 31 March or end of your plan.

If your balance goes below zero

If your balance goes below zero, we’ll let you know if your monthly Direct Debit amount needs to go up.

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, we can work it out together – sign up to our payment support tool.

Setting up or changing a Direct Debit

You can set up, change the amount or date of your Direct Debit by logging into your online account and following these steps:

• Go to Home
• Select Set up your Direct Debit
• Choose which day you’d like us to collect your payment each month. This can be any date from the 1st to the 28th
• Enter your Direct Debit amount. You can use our Direct Debit calculator to get an accurate prediction of what you should pay each month
• Put in your details, including your full name, sort code and bank account number
• Select Next
• Check the details you’ve entered are correct
• Select Confirm payments

We’ll send you an email within 3 working days to let you know it’s all set up.

Find out how to set up or change a Direct Debit in the app.

What’s a Direct Debit Review?

As the amount or price of energy you use may change, we’ll regularly check that the payment amount is enough to cover your energy costs. There’s a breakdown of how we work this out on your Direct Debit calculator which can be found on the ‘Payments’ page of your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS).

Need more help?

We’ve got more details on understanding this Direct Debit calculator on the guide below,

Is there any support available if I’m struggling to pay for my energy?

There’s help available if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills – both from us here at OVO Energy and from government schemes and charities as well.

There are many ways we can help – such as setting up a payment plan for you, which spreads the cost of your energy to make it more manageable. If you want to find out about payment plans, you can request one online here – we’ll take you through what you need to do, and ask you for some details.

Our dedicated team is also specially trained to support you. They can make sure you’re receiving any financial assistance from the government that you’re eligible for, and take you through payment support schemes that are available.

You can find out more about these schemes and where to seek free, independent advice right here.

89 replies

Hi. Only recently returned to OVO and boy what a mistake that is.

after 2 months Direct Debit increase 75%. Told them no in no uncertain terms.

complaint made on this and the smart meter not working properly. No response when asked for the rationale used to calculate this ridiculous increase.

Anyone else had a massive increase in direct debit outside of the price gouging increase?

Userlevel 7
+3

Hi, if you have come off a low fixed tarrif, OR you chose to fix a new tarrif rather than go on the standard rate, you could see up to 500% of increases (as was nearly my choice), direct debits are based on usage, and transferring from another supplier may have also affected ovos ability to estimate.

My original dd was proposed to jump from 400 a month to 783 but taking advice from this forum and associated energy savings, i have actually stabilised my dd to the 400 even with the rise.

Userlevel 7

Hi @RDM and welcome to the OVO online community,

I appreciate the concern that Direct Debit increases like these can cause. I’d echo the advice given by fellow OVO member, @Jequinlan above, whilst the average variable price cap increase may not apply if you’ve just finished or started a fixed plan, there may also be other factors involved.

We’ve got a full guide to our Direct Debit calculations, online tools and links to further support in the guide below.

If you’re worried about these payment increases or would like to double check they are correct our Support Team are on hand to offer more tailored advice. The quickest way to reach the team is via our webchat which you can find here.

A SSE orphan here . Yes Ovo do seem to think that estimating my usage at almost 3 times my actual usage is the way to go even though i’m on a smart meter & they get data every 30mins.

Their recent direct debit check-in tactic is scary & so far off real usage.

I’m 2 months in to a 12 months fixed term. My usage hasn’t changed. As I said No rationale given for the 75% increase.

I have tried customer services on both the direct debit and the smart meter not working properly and despite being transferred to different people for over 90 minutes on the phone - the call dropped and no one got back to me.

Twice in 6 weeks Ovo has tried to ramp up my DD , the first one i was to late to stop but managed with todays. In the 7 or so weeks i’ve been with them my credit has doubled to 5  months payments in advance yet they still want more. And there’s  the £200 loan/not loan to come in October that they don’t account for.

So far the call centre staff have been good pity about the managements business practices.

Userlevel 7
+1

When it comes to that £150 Council Tax Rebate thing, OVO cannot factor that in at all because that money will go to your bank account, not your OVO account. Because there’s no guarantee that everyone who gets it will actually top-up their energy accounts with the cash and no way for OVO to even know who qualifies anyway, it’s safer for the system to disregard that cash for now.

It’s a similar story with the £200 loan. The system will factor that in once it sees it in your account, but not before. After all, the government could still change their mind and pull the plug! Personally, if I do get it I’ll probably just leave it untouched and allow OVO to take it back over the next five years. And if I move, I’ll make sure the remaining balance gets put back into my account credit as well. I don’t exactly need the money but I’ve got no way of opting-out, so this is all I can do.

@Blastoise186Seems like you’re the only one to mention the £150 CT rebate in this thread , was there a reason for that.

The £200 loan/not loan whilst i’ll agree is not a given & is best not counted towards forward projections in direct debit payments ,i fear that the projected Oct22 cap rate rise may be used by the suppliers as a reason to add a bit extra as a just in case , even though this is not a given either.

Userlevel 7
+1

I like to cover all bases, because inevitably someone will probably ask why that CT Rebate doesn’t get factored in by Insert random supplier name here. I do it this way partially for the SEO (this forum gets tons of it), but also to help others find this information via the most likely keywords they might use.

The next price cap increase will be handled by the algorithm in the same way as any other. If anyone tries any funny tricks though, Ofgem will throw the book at them.

I do have some evidence that OVO’s algorithm works though. I deliberately massively overpay to the point where not only does each of my monthly payments wipe out that months bill completely, but it also leaves some spare cash which adds to my already huge pile of spare credit that’s further boosted by the Warm Home Discount. The system is constantly trying to force my payments down by an average of 50% but I keep overriding it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in my case, that £200 “loan” forces my Direct Debit recommendations to plummet through the floor. I’ve got a fixed rate deal that’s good until October 2023 anyway and my bill is never more than £40 a month right now. So I’m not too worried, even if the system keeps wanting me to drop my payments to below £20 a month to burn through my credit.

Our usage is £36/month including s/c & vat , we’re £240 in credit & they wanted to put our DD up to £88/month , so at the moment their algorithm doesn’t seem so good.

Userlevel 7
+1

Ahh ok, I see what you mean now and yeah… That’s not quite what I’d expect either. There’s a small possibility that it’s an account specific issue and I can’t help you fix those I’m afraid. Have you checked out the Direct Debit Calculator at all in MyOVO? It will usually give you a breakdown as to how OVO got to those figures and may help to solve this puzzle.

Ultimately, it should get more accurate as time passes but sometimes, people with unusual edge cases can throw the system off. For example, a gas meter that gets tons of usage during one season/three months but is otherwise completely shut down for nine months of the year has been known to throw a lot of billing systems off track, including OVO’s. However, I think OVO has fixed that particular case since then, or at least implemented safeguards if memory serves.

In actual fact, I’m an edge case myself. The system appears to have a difficult time figuring out how to handle my account occasionally, but generally has learned to handle it better over the last 18 months. It’s what comes with my usage patterns being wildly different to most people!

In this case, I would definitely recommend asking the Support Team to recalculate your Estimated Annual Consumption figures as this may nudge the algorithm to rethink your estimates. It could just be that your EAC isn’t matching up to reality very well and this is one way to fix it.

If I can think of any other suggestions that may help, I’ll be sure to let you know.

+1

Hello,I recently had an e mail from you to suggest increasing my payment to £420 a month ,following a conversation with your call centre I agreed to increase to £300 per month ,I think that there are still some observations I need to make to ensure your understanding of how much energy I use ,I think you may be basing your estimates on the property type and not my usage ,I live in a four bedroomed property and only use one bedroom (as there are only two of us in the property ) that's the first thing, secondly I have a solar array generating (at max) 4,8 KW ,thirdly I also have 6.5 KW of rechargeable batteries in the loft ,the house is fully insulated with triple glazing .over the last moth my amount of energy usage (electric ) is less than £2 a day and gas is negligible as I only use it for central heating ,I also have a economiser to heat hot water from the solar power .so can you explain why I need to pay £400 + a month ?

Userlevel 7
+2

Hi @Ron Hardie

That is a good question. Just so you know i don't work for OVO. A few of us try to help where we can.

The OVO estimates of your "Future Annual Consumption" is what drives the direct debit.

You can see the OVO estimates here

https://account.ovoenergy.com/plan

Over time this should automatically get more accurate as the OVO system sees how much energy you actually use.

Do you mind us asking what it says now compared to what you expect to use over a year?

When you first signed up to OVO did you give them an estimated annual usage for gas and electricity that they could use?

How long have you been with OVO for the system to adjust the Future Annual Consumption?

Whenever you see quotes in the press these are based on the ofgem typical consumption values of 2900 kWh of electricity and 12000 kWh of gas. Do you use less than that given what you have said about your solar/battery setup and the fabric of your house?

+1

thanks for the response and in answer to the question with regard to usage I never gave any info so I assume the algorithm used ifs for a ‘typical’ usage I am assuming that as time goes on OVO will understand more fully what my actual usage is and amend the DD to compensate ,I have no real issue with building up a credit but just didn’t want it to be massive for no reason ,it makes sense that as you say its using ‘typical’ usage figures ,with my set up I also need to factor in the feed in Tariff payment I receive and the fact that I have an economiser fitted to heat the hot water from solar as well ,I have a first generation smart meter and am not at all sure this is accurate ,I would like it changed and the smart meter checked for accuracy but so far no one seems to want to do that !

Userlevel 7

Hi @Ron Hardie,

Great to hear about the solar panels you’ve got installed there. Just in case you haven’t spotted it we’ve got a guide to all things solar over here.

It’s worth mentioning that as you are paid for your generated energy directly, these FiT payments don’t affect the Direct Debit calculations on your account.

Have you manage to get logged in to your online account yet? This is the best place to check how your monthly payment amount is calculated using the Direct Debit calculator. You can also check whether we’re currently receiving meter readings from your smart meter. Check out the guide below for help with this:

Do you know what type of SMETS1 smart meter you have installed? As all SMETS1 meters are being remotely upgraded to allow them to communicate with all energy suppliers, we wouldn’t usually offer a SMETS2 replacement. I’m sure our community smart meter fan, @Blastoise186, would be happy to help check if your meter should be updated yet, if you’re able to post some photos of the meters here.

Let us know if this would help.

+1

Thanks for the useful response ,yes I am aware that the fit payment will not affect my DD I guess the point I was making is that with energy price increases at least the FIT payment offsets it somewhat ,yes I do have access to both my online account and the app which allows me to keep an eye on my day to day usage and direct debit ,I think my point in the first instance was that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all ,although I live in a four bedroomed property we (two of us) only use one bedroom as my kids are long gone ,one room is my ham radio shack, one is a spare room and one doubles as a spare room and an ironing room ,we have invested a lot into the property as energy efficient as possible by having solar panels with battery storage, an economiser to heat hot water from solar triple glazing and full wall and roof insulation ,my point is that the OVO algorithm won’t take account of this and so pre supposes (I Think) that as it a four bedroomed house there are four people here with attendant energy costs ,I am resigned to the fact that I will be overpaying effectively for the next few months until there is sufficient data to accurately predict usage .

as far as the smart meter is concerned it is an old one and my concern is not with the meter itself but with the screen in the house which is old ,clunky and vastly inaccurate ,that's what I need a new one for to keep an eye on what's going on ,I do have a separate one to show me the house versus solar panel generation and use

Just before OVO and SSE merged my direct debit was £64 a month. I am £370 in credit and I have just been told my direct debit will increase to £174

I live alone in a one bedroom flat.

Userlevel 7
+1

Hi @richard c ,

I’m one of the forum volunteers here. Just so you’re aware, I don’t work for OVO myself and can’t access your account.

If you’re on any Standard Variable Rate tariff, then the price cap is increasing dramatically on the 1st October 2022 and your prices will be increasing as a result. OVO has decided to adjust Direct Debits now to help you build up credit ahead of time to avoid you falling into debt.

If you’re on Fixed Rate however, please remember that only the tariff rates are fixed and payments will still vary if you end up using more energy than predicted.

There’s more advice and support in my guide below.

Cancel your direct debit and set up a  standing order through your bank for the amount you are using hope that's helpful

Userlevel 7
+1

Cancel your direct debit and set up a  standing order through your bank for the amount you are using hope that's helpful

This is not a valid solution as Standing Orders are not a supported payment method. Please try to avoid posting speculation like this.

It is not OVO’s job to manage my savings. They are not a bank or my accountant. This is a condescending policy that assumes that I do not have the ability to manage my money, treating me like a child whose parent puts some money away for me in a piggy bank.

I want to pay what I use not enter into a saving scheme. It is interesting how they do not have an option for customers with a good credit score to pay each month for what they have used, however variable it is. Just like I do for my phone bill.

What they are doing is using the credit from customers like me to offset the debt from other customers. This is the exactly the kind of behaviour that causes a run on the backs and their collapse. If all customers in credit stopped their direct debit until the credit is used up OVO would go bust.

Userlevel 2

As you have been transitioned from SSE to OVO check that your Estimated Annual Usage figures match, OVO quadrupled my usage figure and demanded a 100% increase on Direct Debit.

Complain on Trust Pilot and give 1* review, it worked for me, they phoned within 24 hours and manually set my DD to what SSE were requiring.

+1

I repeat what i posted in a similar thread, DD is the cheapest way to pay.  Switching to a standard credit arrangement will cost you over £200 per annum in additional charges (OFGEM typical user).

Think very carefully before taking this step.

Much better to work out from realistic consumption figures and prices what a reasonable DD should be and then go into bat with customers services with data rather than emotion.

Hi my Dd is £260 and i have a credit over the summer of £1000 and now the email i received said i have an increased bill to a £404 even maybe of i spend £300 in the winter . It ‘s ridiculous I stayed more then 40 min on the phone waiting for someone to answer the phone. Every time it s an increase and never calculate what we spend not what is the general spend …. I really don’t understand why you don’t have people answering the phone or an email to get an aswer .

Userlevel 7
+1

Hi @Oana89 ,

I’m one of the forum volunteers patrolling the OVO Forum.

If you wish to set a Direct Debit freeze against further increases for three months, you can try calling 0800 069 9831 as the Collections Team are able to do this for you. Please be aware they’re incredibly busy just like all of OVO’s teams because of all the recent government announcements, but someone will get to you as soon as they can.