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Is my Direct Debit with OVO Energy set to a fixed amount, even with smart meters?

  • 21 October 2017
  • 16 replies
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As a new customer and one who has normally paid my bills quarterly I have a question as regards to the direct debit method. I was under the impression that your monthly payment can change for example if you use more energy, I was also under the impression if you used less than what you pay monthly that difference gets refunded. Well ive only had two bills, the first one because of being a new customer was a fair bit short of my monthly debit amount but the full amount was taken, now for this month I received an e-mail asking for my meter readings which I submitted, on checking my account I notice it said as I had not submitted my meter readings they had used an estimate, then underneath it had my submitted readings which were less. The correct monthly amount was taken out in this instance but it shows my account as £69.00 pounds. So is this amount an overpayment from the first month plus the difference between the estimate and reading for the second month? If so I thought this got re-credited? I'm not quite sure how this system works. Thanks.
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Best answer by Jess_OVO 29 April 2021, 12:12

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Userlevel 5
As a new customer and one who has normally paid my bills quarterly I have a question as regards to the direct debit method. I was under the impression that your monthly payment can change for example if you use more energy, I was also under the impression if you used less than what you pay monthly that difference gets refunded. Well ive only had two bills, the first one because of being a new customer was a fair bit short of my monthly debit amount but the full amount was taken, now for this month I received an e-mail asking for my meter readings which I submitted, on checking my account I notice it said as I had not submitted my meter readings they had used an estimate, then underneath it had my submitted readings which were less. The correct monthly amount was taken out in this instance but it shows my account as £69.00 pounds. So is this amount an overpayment from the first month plus the difference between the estimate and reading for the second month? If so I thought this got re-credited? I'm not quite sure how this system works. Thanks.

Hey bellevueace,

As a Pay monthly customer, you’ll pay a fixed amount each month. When we issue you with a bill, it will show you exactly how much you’ve used and in turn, the cost.

If your monthly bill is lower than the Direct Debit you’re paying each month, we can look to change your Direct Debit and refund any excess credit (one month's Direct Debit).

Hope you don't mind but I've changed the title of your topic to make it more searchable.

Lucy
Hello Lucy, how does this actually work ? My direct debit is about to be taken from my bank account but it is far, far higher than what my smart meter says my usage is ?

Is it not the case that with a smart meter that I get billed for exactly what I've used, no more, no less ? Shouldn't the direct debit amount change every month to reflect actual usage and not be fixed ?

I don't see the point of a smart meter if I'm wrong.
Thanks Lucy
So why isn't the reading I submit actually used? its always submitted about a week before the payment is taken, as requested by OVO.
Thanks.
Hello,
I have a smart meter for a few months but I still pay the same money every month. Why is that? I'd like to pay as much as a use electricity.
Userlevel 7

Updated on 20/04/21: The info in this update box was taken from this topic:

How do you calculate my Direct Debit?

 

When you come on supply with us, we’ll use your annual usage figures to calculate how much your energy will cost over the year. Once we’ve got the annual amount, we’ll divide this into 12 - this will give us the Direct Debit amount.

If you haven’t got your annual usage figures, we’ll use the national averages. You would then need to send us regular readings for at least 3 months, then we’ll manually calculate your payment amount using your projected usage. More info on this here or watch the video below for a simple guide to Direct Debit calculations - 
 

 

 


Changing my Direct Debit: How to video
 


 

Direct Debit FAQs:

 

See this topic for 7 of the most common Direct Debit questions

 

 

 

Similar question from both of you @sjcsystems @Roman Chmura

Your smart meters send us your readings so we always bill you accurately. These charges are outlined in your statements. Your Direct Debit is a fixed amount that aims to cover this usage all year round. It will remain fixed unless it looks like a change is needed, which is what most customers want.

The issue is that your usage won't tend to be equally spread across each of the 12 months of the year. Most of your costs will be in the winter. Customers don't want to have a high Direct Debit in the winter and a low Direct Debit in the summer. People's income tends to be fixed all year round, and a Direct Debit that stays the same is ideal. This will mean building up credit in the summer and eating into that credit in the winter.

You can view and change this Direct Debit at any point via My OVO here

Tim

I am confused about this too.
Userlevel 5
@Ratlady - feel free to ask any more questions below if Tim's answer didn't clear everything up!

Hi have recently switched to ovo and had a smart meter installed.

 

I'd like to know whether I can have my direct debit vary each month based on my actual usage?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Howdy @Rf87 and welcome to both OVO and to the forum. We’re pleased to have you with us. :blush:

Unfortunately, a variable direct debit like this isn’t really something that’s practical, especially since the Direct Debit system as a whole isn’t really designed to constantly change payment amounts each month. Banks don’t really like doing that! It’s also a bit tricky and risky because if something goes wrong, you could end up with a massive payment attempt that wipes your bank balance out.

However, the way that OVO handles your account balance is a bit like a credit card. Every month your payments go in and get added to the balance, while every day your balance drops by the appropriate amount. The clever thing with OVO however, is that your account balance gets updated daily so you always know how much is actually still available even before you get the bill. It’s safer to run off a fixed Direct Debit, but OVO will automatically adjust your payments if needed.

This is probably fairly close to what you’re after, so hopefully it’s a reasonable workaround.

I can see where you’re coming from, but that would rely on banks being willing to support it, which isn’t likely to happen.

Userlevel 7

Updated on 01/03/22 by Jess_OVO

 

Your Direct Debit amount might not change month to month, even if you’ve got smart meters installed.

 

However, we’ll regularly check your Direct Debit amount is enough to cover your usage costs. As your smart meters send us your readings regularly, these Direct Debit check in’s are more accurate than if we’re estimating your usage.

 

Your usage tends to be higher in the winter and lower in the summer which would mean much higher monthly payments in winter, if your Direct Debit varied month to month. Having a more stable Direct Debit amount should allow you to spread your usage costs out throughout the year- building up credit in the summer to see you through the following winter. We find most members prefer things this way as it allows for easier monthly budgeting all year.

 

Have you checked out the Direct Debit calculator on your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS)? 

 

Exact appearance may vary

 

This can be found on the ‘Payments’ page and really helps you keep track of how we use your usage data to work out the appropriate monthly amount. 

 

We’ve got more details on understanding this Direct Debit calculator on this great guide:

 

 

 

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

 

There is 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.

 

 

OVO member but not got a smart meter yet? - Book today!

Interested but not yet an OVO member? - Check out our plans!

 

I’m no longer an OVO customer, so not worried any more

Hi All

Things seem to have settled after my move from SSE and i just enter my readings on the 24th as asked on Portal (app still states 21st?) and i get an itemised bill through 4/5 days later with how much i have used, cost for elec/gas all broken down.

Once i receive the bill i pay that day or the following. Simple.

I am on the Simpler Energy on Demand tariff for both and have just received an email that states the massive price increases and that if i pay by DD i will get a slight reduction, it also suggests a monthly payment amount.

If i go ahead with setting up a DD when will it be taken? 

Will i still get a monthly ACCURATE bill like i am now when i enter my readings?

Also what happens if i have monies spare on month, can i overpay if i want and build up a ‘surplus/credit’?

 

Thanks

Sorry i forgot to add that the new ‘tariff’ is also named -Simpler Energy, it’s just that i will be making a monthly DD.

 

Cheers

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Howdy @bilabonic , welcome to OVO! And also welcome to the forum. :)

Could you fill out your forum profile for us? It helps us to help you more easily if you stop by in the future.

Here’s some good news. You are correct in every single element of your question, but here’s a breakdown for you.

If i go ahead with setting up a DD when will it be taken? 

You can choose a preferred payment date when you set up the Direct Debit and can change it at anytime. Feel free to choose a date that works for you.

Will i still get a monthly ACCURATE bill like i am now when i enter my readings?

Yup, the bill will show exactly like it does now, except that it’ll reflect you paying by Direct Debit and will no longer ask for immediate payment.

Also what happens if i have monies spare on month, can i overpay if i want and build up a ‘surplus/credit’?

You can indeed. In fact, it’s a good idea to have a bit of surplus credit if possible. Any credit that doesn’t get spend on the latest bill is automatically carried forwards to future bills and stacked on top of future payments. If you make manual payments partway through the month, these will also go into the same pot.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, I’m all ears.

Little update, just been in touch with OVO who were confused about the different rate i get though on the same Simpler Energy Plan, but by just adding a DD.

After a while was put through to someone who could find the new rates coming in on April 1st.

What i forgot to ask was when to set up the DD, they gave me an approx amount but no dtae.

I would like it to be as near to my billing date to keep things simpler, i suppose it being slightly after it than earlier would be better and i could could manually pay any shortfall and keep anything over?

As i have have only ever had one bill i was going to go with the 1st of every month, i always give readings on the 24th and had my last bill on the 1st (5 days later).
Would anyone recommend this?

I have added what i know to my profile and will update it more when at home when i have the details to hand.

 

Cheers

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Thanks, that helps us out.

If you have access to MyOVO, you can go into Payments and check your Direct Debit settings from there - including the payment amount and date. If the payment date isn’t set to what you’d like it to be, please feel free to change it to suit your liking - the 1st of the month is definitely fully supported and I know that because I use the 1st of the month myself. If you make any changes, it’ll likely take a few days to fully update everything.

As for your meter readings, I’d recommend experimenting to see what you’re comfortable with. Ideally, you’ll want to put the reading in about five days before the payment date.

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