F.A.Q.

OVO Energy Live billing platform and monthly summaries - What do I need to know?

  • 5 November 2018
  • 39 replies
  • 2855 views
OVO Energy Live billing platform and monthly summaries - What do I need to know?
Userlevel 7

Updated on 11/04/22 by Jess_OVO

 

Here at OVO, we’re always on the lookout for ways to make managing your energy account easier. This is why we developed a new billing system in-house and have now moved the vast majority of OVO member accounts over to this new platform. As part of this we’re changing the way that we calculate your energy costs and the frequency this is displayed on your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS). This means that when you login, you can now see your account balance update daily, based on the most recent reading you’ve submitted manually or we’ve received automatically from your smart meter.
 

Traditional Energy billing model


Traditionally energy companies would receive meter reads either

  • From customers reading their own meters and submitting a read.
  • From smart meters directly.

 

On a specific date each month or each quarter, they’d look at the latest meter read they had received to bill you and generate a statement. This might have been based on the latest smart meter read, it might have been based on the last read you submitted manually or it might be based on an estimated meter reading if there was no meter reading received for that day.

 

This model makes anticipating and budgeting your energy costs harder as you’re only able to see how much your usage is costing at certain intervals throughout the year.
 

So how does live-billing help?


We started developing this up-to-date billing solution as OVO members told us that the traditional model of issuing a monthly or quarterly statement can make it difficult for them to feel in control of their energy costs. Particularly at times of increased usage, having to wait until the next statement was issued can cause increased anxiety and may result in members restricting energy usage or worrying about the next payment due. With up-to-date billing you now get a clearer idea of how much your energy use has cost every day and keep track of your balance throughout the month.

 

This means that the balance shown on your online account is always an accurate reflection taking into account

  • The cost of your energy usage, as calculated and billed with each time your smart meter sends us a reading or you submit a reading manually.
  • Daily standing charges.
  • Payments and refunds.

 

Monthly Summaries

 

Along with the way your charges are shown on your online account, you’ll also notice a difference to the statement that’s emailed or sent to you each month. We’ve streamlined the information we give you into a monthly summary. This will be emailed or posted to you either monthly or quarterly depending on your previous billing frequency. All previous monthly summaries can also be downloaded on the ‘’Billing History’ page of your online account:

 

Exact appearance may vary


How to get the best out of the new online account

 

As we’re able to calculate your charges whenever we receive a reading, the live-billing platform is ideal if you’ve got a smart meter set to send us readings either daily or half-hourly. We’ll then adjust your balance based on actual usage figures each day at midnight. If you’ve not yet got a smart meter installed this might be the perfect time to take the leap.

 

If you’ve already got one installed but it’s currently sending us monthly readings, we’d recommend contacting our Support Team to request an update to your smart meter reading schedule.

 

Got any more question about how your account billing works? Comment below, we’re happy to help.

 

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

 

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

 


39 replies

Userlevel 1




I'd be interested to know what your family members prefer about the old system, is it the statements or something else?



Julian.




Thanks for your reply. You say 'Statements will no longer be how we primarily communicate costs and balances to customers as this information (costs and balances) is available on the website and app, updated throughout the month.'



As my other two family members do not have smart meters they only let you have their readings once a month so their costs and balances can only be updated when they send you readings or are they missing something?
Userlevel 2




Thanks for your reply. You say 'Statements will no longer be how we primarily communicate costs and balances to customers as this information (costs and balances) is available on the website and app, updated throughout the month.'



As my other two family members do not have smart meters they only let you have their readings once a month so their costs and balances can only be updated when they send you readings or are they missing something?




Apologies @teebee I'm only referring to the new smart meter experience. Until your family members have smart meters installed they will remain on the existing system and will continue to be billed how they currently are, using a combination of meter readings and estimates. Sorry for the confusion.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Following my comment above, if I insert the usage details into my spreadsheet and "fiddle" the meter readings to give the correct results, the meter readings are way out from those that I take manually from the smart meter at the end of every month.



I really think we need statements, I'm not feeling at all happy about these figures now, I would like to have more detail as explained above.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Thanks @Darran_OVO and @Julian_OVO



This solves my problems, November now works out spot on but I have a problem with October which I will PM to you Julian.



Peter
Userlevel 2
Glad to hear it @PeterR1947 . Sorry about the delay, I've been having a few problems posting in the forum.
Userlevel 4
I'm all for change if it those changes work but I'm not confident OVO can pull this off successfully without any technical errors. I've needed to contact OVO quite a number of times this year due to inaccuracies and billing errors and I fear a new system will only bring about even more complications. I think we should still have a monthly statement, like many people I rely on my monthly statements to check OVO is charging me the correct amount, you know where you are with one of those and if you've downloaded them you don't need to keep logging in to My OVO to check what you've been charged under this newer system. I might even consider leaving OVO if I don't like this new change.
I joined OVO in 2014 and have been very happy with them until the new billing system was introduced at the end of 2018. At no time have I received a communication telling me that monthly statements were no longer being issued. I have just stumbled on this forum (never knew it existed!) and discovered the rationale behind the new system. It seems that some customers don’t like or find monthly statements confusing. Whilst the new system may be helpful to them why should those of us who prefer the traditional monthly downloadable pdf statement, have that option removed? If there is ever a dispute of any kind we no longer have anything concrete on our computers or printed that will help argue our case.
Userlevel 4
@windpower



Well said! Like you I prefer the monthly statements so I can use the data to make comparisons at the end of the year. You know where you are with a monthly statement but this new system which I only read about in another forum post seems confusing and less useful. I'm guessing that much of the reasoning behind this new idea is more and more people use mobile phones to access their account. Whilst it might be useful to those people I don't use a mobile phone for anything other than telephoning people. Computers are far more useful and at least they have big screens for short sighted people like myself.



Here's a link to the post about the ending of monthly statements:



https://forum.ovoenergy.com/new-ovo-smart-meter-experience-116/billing-and-statements-what-do-i-need-to-know-5148



Having read the above article and not really understanding how this will work I have a question for OVO..



Q1: If my daily usage is displayed together with standing charges and VAT does that figure reset back to zero after my monthly bill is generated? If not how do I calculate what my next bill will be, do I take off the previous month?



Q2: What about if I want to calculate the number of units I've used throughout the year so I can get a comparison elsewhere, how would I do that?



Vote below to save our monthly bills! 🤓
Userlevel 1
Does this mean the daily Calorfic Value will be used to calculate the running total for Gas?



WIll the Smart Meter be updated daily with the Calorfic Value?
Userlevel 1
What value of Calorific Value will be used on the yearly statement on the 2 year fix?



Will it be based on 365 daily values for Calorific Value as supplied to you by National Grid?
Userlevel 2
Hi @Slinky - I understand this concern and the industry doesn’t have a great reputation here. I can try to reassure you that we feel the new system is much more capable at spotting and preventing problems but I think ultimately it is up to us to prove this over time and we are dedicated to doing so.



I’ll respond to your comments regarding monthly statements in further replies below.
Userlevel 2
Hi @windpower @Slinky



Firstly I’d like to thank you for coming to the forum and posting your thoughts. We are reading them and they are influencing our decision making.



During a calendar month we receive readings from your smart meters (every day or month depending on your preference), and every time we do we calculate the consumption and cost since your previous read. We sum this up per calendar month and that is the amount that is charged to your account balance, this has replaced billing on an arbitrary day each month and nothing in between.



Traditionally you would be billed once a month on a date chosen by when the energy industry processes just so happened to complete your switch to a supplier. We have aligned billing to calendar months now as we believe that customers can better compare and understand usage and costs between calendar months than between arbitrary billing months. I’d be interested to know what you think of this approach.



Currently you can see monthly costs and how they have been calculated in the first section of the home page. You can expand each monthly section by clicking on the links to see more detail.



Based on feedback received we’re now in the process of moving monthly charges onto separate pages. The new pages will show detailed charges and discounts for each month and will make it easier to print and store these for your records.
Userlevel 2
Answers to your two specific questions @Slinky :



Q1: If my daily usage is displayed together with standing charges and VAT does that figure reset back to zero after my monthly bill is generated? If not how do I calculate what my next bill will be, do I take off the previous month?




Daily usage is shown independently from standing charge, we want to make it as clear as possible how your charges were calculated. Each calendar month’s charges are independently calculated.



Your total energy charges are worked out on a daily basis and applied to your balance so you’re always up-to-date. The daily usage figures are the amounts of fuel you have consumed. As the amount you are charged is affected by any discounts, upgrades and VAT, we show the total charge calculations separately.



Q2: What about if I want to calculate the number of units I've used throughout the year so I can get a comparison elsewhere, how would I do that?




We currently have some breakdown of usage in the Usage section of the site. We’ve started working on providing a year view of your energy usage on the account. As part of this, we’ll display the annual number of units used.
Userlevel 2
Hi @Russell

Does this mean the daily Calorific Value will be used to calculate the running total for Gas?

WIll the Smart Meter be updated daily with the Calorific Value?

What value of Calorific Value will be used on the yearly statement on the 2 year fix?

Will it be based on 365 daily values for Calorific Value as supplied to you by National Grid?




The daily charges for gas consumption are based on the daily calorific values we received from the National Grid. Unfortunately it isn't possible to update every smart meter with every daily change in calorific value, meters hold a representative calorific value that is used to calculate kWh for gas for the IHD while what you see in your online account is the billed charge using the true calorific value for that day.



Statements will be created using the billing information you see in your online account and as usage will already have been billed for these will be based on the daily calorific values as mentioned above.
Userlevel 4
@Julian_OVO



Thanks for the feedback and for answering my questions. In fairness I don't yet fully understand this new system and I don't suppose I will until I've seen it in action. So when does it go live? I can't see any changes in my account section yet.



BTW, in your first post you mentioned the following:




  • This method of billing is prone to problems at many different stages and often leads to confusing bills, inaccurate estimation, bad Direct Debit recommendations and uncertainty over how much you should be paying.

My account is currently £509.92 in credit and my direct debit was due to be increased when I changed tariff to a 2 Year fix last November (2018) however I asked that OVO don't increase the DD due to my high credit balance. Will this new system see my DD's reduce? I'm a single person and don't use huge amounts of energy and I would rather invest my huge credit balance rather than OVO get all the interest..
The proposal to move monthly charges onto separate pages and with extra details sounds like an improvement - if I've understood it correctly! Also having complete calendar months 1st day to last day would be excellent and helpful to those of us who have for many years before OVO existed kept our own records in spreadsheets. It sound like OVO are listening.
Userlevel 4
I like the idea of billing from the first of each month but how does that work when you start contract mid-month?



I think as long as we have all the same information as was on our monthly statements and all in the same place without us having to visit several pages it could work, as I said before until we actually see how it looks nobody knows for sure. It might be brilliant or it might be a right pain to work with.



Perhaps OVO can show us all a dummy bill so we can decide based on the actual evidence.
How does one get a credit balance refund now? When I try to request a refund I’m told that I cannot get a refund of my balance as I haven’t had a statement generated.



Now very confused!
What does my account balance not equal to the amount I have paid minus my charges?
should my account balance be the same as my latest statement?
Userlevel 7
How does one get a credit balance refund now? When I try to request a refund I’m told that I cannot get a refund of my balance as I haven’t had a statement generated.



There's a lot of topics on this, @falkirk81



Click here to see them all, there's a few possible ways, so have a look at the topic titles to see which one fits your situation!



@emlouw - this will be because there's a 'balance brought forward' figure, from the previous bill.
Utility bills are often requested by banks and similar as proof of address. The old statement format achieved that, as it was in the format of a letter with my name and address and I successfully have used it on a few occasions. You appear to now have taken that away. Given that the functionality to generate the statements was clearly already in place, you have taken a retrograde step. I don't suppose you are going to reinstatement proper statements now, but it is frustrating that you have removed something that customers like me found useful.
Userlevel 4
When will we start to see this new billing system in operation? Currently MyOVO is still displaying the same information I've been seeing all along, I can even see and download monthly statements like I've been doing for the last 3 years. Admittedly daily usage graphs were an addition a while back but I see those more as a novelty feature really, they certainly don't help me make any savings. If I notice I've used more energy one day compared to another it's usually expected because I've been doing some washing or hoovering or I've cooked a roast, I do those kind of things most days so peaks and troughs on the graph are normal. As I say it seems more of a novelty to see that information.
Good article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Good article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.



Read something similar in another thread. Be sure to check it out too



Utility bills are often requested by banks and similar as proof of address. The old statement format achieved that, as it was in the format of a letter with my name and address and I successfully have used it on a few occasions. You appear to now have taken that away. Given that the functionality to generate the statements was clearly already in place, you have taken a retrograde step. I don't suppose you are going to reinstatement proper statements now, but it is frustrating that you have removed something that customers like me found useful.

Reply