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Why such a large increase to my recommended Direct Debit?

  • 1 February 2018
  • 86 replies
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Userlevel 5
Hey @Victorious and @phatnpil,

We had a similar topic on this so I moved your queries over here, read through for more information.

Is it possible to 'split the difference' with the increase, and see how it goes?

Essentially we can do what you suggest, just give our Customer Care team a call to discuss this. They're available Monday-Friday 8am-6pm on 0330 303 5063.

Tried to phone, but, frankly, do not have the time to wait endlessly on-hold.

We have a Smart Meter so Ovo is perfectly aware of what are energy use is so any idea of where we go to from here, given there is no way of changing the direct debit on your website?


Our wait times haven't exceeded 5 minutes all week, so if you were to call you wouldn't be left waiting long.

The Direct Debit can be updated on My OVO just head to the payments section!
Hey @Victorious,

We had a similar topic on this so I moved your query over here, read through for more information.

Essentially we can do what you suggest, just give our Customer Care team a call to discuss this. They're available Monday-Friday 8am-6pm on 0330 303 5063.



@Eva_OVO Many thanks for your reply, all now sorted 🙂
How can an adjustment of my direct debit be justified without my agreement and taking it to way over my monthly usage? I moved in in late March and allegedly I have used approx £240 electric since then, although £120 of that was used in April??? Since then my usage has been the same as my previous property and is about £35-£40 per month, nobody can answer where 4 times my normal electric usage went even though my routine did not change, and in addition to that they are expecting me to cover nearly £100 of charges from before I even moved in !!! Total joke of a company, and nobody can give you any answers, and it take hours to actually get through to someone, time that I don’t have to waste !!!!
Userlevel 7

More info on the Direct Debit calculations in this topic, @Rookard76 and on this page!

Still want answers, drop us a message on FacebookTwitter or our Help Centre has online chat!

Let us know how it goes 🙂

My direct debit reivew recommends that I increase the payments from £118 to £263 per month although I am £360 in crebit. This is because it estimates that I will use £1676 of energy for the rest of the year.

This seems unlikely because the total cost for the 12 months is £650 (gas) + £440 (electricity) = £1090.

The review says that there are 5 payments left until the end of the year so the amount that will be used will be significantly less than £1676.

How can I get a sensible review?

 

Kind regards,

Ian

You suggest I should pay £130 per month and I need an explanation as well as a reasonable level of payment. Why am I complaining - well using your figures.

  • The credit balance on my account is approx £187.
  • Usage for month to 12 October was £approx £53.
  • You estimate my usage this year as approx £973.
  • My current direct debit is £87 as suggested last month.
  • £87 x 12 = £1044 plus the £187 credit would = £1231 which is already above the £973 you estimate my annual usage as.

In addition, you ask for regular meter readings, which I provide, and you suggest thst regular readings mean you pay only for what you use. I have to dispute that claim in the light of your request for an exhorbitant raise in my monthly payments.

So, please provide a sensible explanation and revise the direct debit downwards.

Userlevel 7

@Ian The Smiler @DisgruntledOf Levy1 this topic has more info on the review process, so does this one

Why oh why.  You have requested I up my DD to a ridiculous extortionate amount.

 

i have agreed to increase it a little to a sensible amount to which your staff have written and agreed they are happy with the change I’ve made for now.

 

however I still keep getting what I assume are automated but threatening emails stating that you will against my wishes, increase the dd to a ridiculous high amount.

 

why have you agreed something with me then undermined that with your silly threats?  It’s awful customer relations. 

I spoke to customer services and the problem was caused by a faulty Smart meter reading. It had submitted 30,000 kWh of gas used in September. This resulted in the vastly increased direct debit.

Does your system do a sanity check on the meter reading? If the one is significantly different to the usual reading how about getting a second one as a validation? I appreciate that I live in a village with patchy mobile reception.

Given the figure of 30,000 kWh  I must be single handedly responsible for global warming and Greta Thunberg’s worst enemy.

Userlevel 5

It sounds like we should’ve added you to our exceptions form, @Lain-coubert, this would've stopped the emails being sent to you. 

 

Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter with your name, DoB and account number to get this sorted. If you don’t use social media, you can speak with the team on our Help Centre that has online chat!

 

 

It’s been sorted now Thankyou.  But was all very infuriating and quite ridiculous up until a few days ago.

I am on a fixed rate tarrif and am currently paying £129 a month by direct debit for dual fuel on a tiny 1980s 2 bedroom mid terraced house. We have insulation which meets current regulations, and have UPVC windows and doors. Ovo want to increase this to £177 a month, which is an increase of nearly 40 %, and is completely unaffordable,  despite 

1) being on a fixed rate - surely the idea of having a fixed rate is that the direct debit is also fixed, so one can budget properly

2) being in credit

3) having installed a brand new  efficient boiler (replacing a 30 year old boiler) so I was expecting the bills to go down

 

There is no way I can afford £177 a month. I have tried and tried several times to increase the direct debit to something affordable - around £140 a month, but the system won't let me. This morning I got an email from Ovo saying they are going to increase the direct debit anyway.  I'm very unhappy about this, as I have tried several times using both the app and the website to increase the direct debit to an amount that is still affordable, and I have also left feedback say it would be helpful to have this function on both the app and the website, but so far nothing has happened. 

Please could anyone help or give me some advice? I have tried to follow Ovo's request to increase the direct debit, but £177 is simply not affordable, so I can't possibly agree to it, and the system won't allow me to enter a figure I can afford. I know in a worst case scenario I can cancel the direct debit and pay the amount I can afford by monthly standing order instead (I have done this before with a different company, when we simply could not agree on the direct debit amount) as I refuse to run up an overdraft due to unreasonable direct debit demands, but it really is a last resort, and I would rather avoid this action if at all possible.

Userlevel 5

You won’t be able to increase the Direct Debit to an amount less than we suggest, @JennyRB, this is something you’ll need to call our Collections team about. They’re available on 0800 0699 831 option 4, Monday-Thursday 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

 

They’ll go through your account with you and they can calculate a Direct Debit which is affordable for you. 

A bit puzzled - my direct debit is £147. Month, February usage was £45 and March so far £66, I am £207 in credit - yet my DD is going to increase to £174 -we have a gas Aga we use for toast and kettle and only have lights TV etc - they will automatically adjust my DD - this adjustment does not seem to match my energy usage 

Userlevel 7

Hi @paulbrash and welcome to the OVO online community,

 

An understandable question given the upcoming increase to your Direct Debit, which doesn’t seem to align to your current energy costs.

 

Just to double-check, are you currently on our Simpler Energy plan? As this is our variable tariff, the rates on this plan are liable to change.  If you’re on this plan you should’ve been advised of an upcoming price increase from April 1st, due to a rising cost of wholesale energy. We understand this price change may be worrying so have more information and links to additional support over here.

 

We regularly check your Direct Debit amount based on your projected energy costs for the following year, so if there’s an upcoming change to your unit rates and standing charges, this might explain the adjustment you mention.

 

If you haven’t already we’d recommend checking out the ‘Direct Debit calculator’ which you can find by logging in to your online account or OVO app (download for Android or iOS). This tool helps to explain how we work out the appropriate level for your monthly payments to make sure you finish you fixed plan with a clear balance. If you’re on our Simpler Energy plan we’ll use the same calculation method, but use the anniversary of the date you rolled on to the Simpler Energy plan as the ‘End of plan’ date.

 

I hope this information helps - Do pop back if you need any more general advice.

I think the DD is far too much, however I’ll wait for the next review and then report back with I told you so ! 

I’m currently over £200 in credit with my OVO account, but OVO want me to pay in advance for energy which I haven't used, and wont use for several months, and have now increased my direct debit payments from £178 per month to £210 per month, I spent over an hour on the phone  explaining to them that I’m having a log burner fitted which will power my heating, so my energy cost should be coming down and not going up, but the member of staff couldn’t grasp this infomation, I guess they just on a money grab at the moment, would appreciate some advice, I thought about cancelling my direct debit and having a monthly bill, at least this way I wont be paying six months in advance for energy I wont be using.

Thanks 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @Jumbo ,

I’m afraid this is going to be the same story with any supplier. The easiest way to get your payments down, is to ultimately reduce your electric and gas usage. Once OVO has seen that during the winter - for example - you’re using less go juice than forecasted, this will result in the system adapting again and most likely let your payments drop. In the meantime, the easiest option is to just ask for a refund every so often. This is designed to protect both yourself and OVO.

The idea of a fixed rate tariff is that you do 12 equal monthly payments during the year and build up credit during the summer, so that you don’t end up in debit during the winter - or at least not as much. What you’re describing sounds like normal behaviour for any fixed rate deal and you should ideally let it continue to run that way. You’ll thank me later if you do.

Do not cancel you DD though, or you’ll be at the mercy of the variable rate tariffs. If you currently have a fixed rate deal, OVO requires that you keep the Direct Debit active at all times. If you’re on variable rate, well prices have gone up as of April and you might be using more power than you expected.

I should also mention that OVO stores your cash in a holding account and they can’t touch that cash until after a bill is issued. After all, OVO has to be able to return your spare credit at anytime with or without notice, so they can’t do anything other than just leave it alone.

I’d also recommend checking out the Direct Debit Calculator in MyOVO. This will help you to understand OVO’s calculations. If you still think they’re wrong and you don’t have a Smart Meter, ask for your Estimated Annual Consumption figures to be recalculated.

I’m currently over £200 in credit with my OVO account, but OVO want me to pay in advance for energy which I haven't used, and wont use for several months, and have now increased my direct debit payments from £178 per month to £210 per month, I spent over an hour on the phone  explaining to them that I’m having a log burner fitted which will power my heating, so my energy cost should be coming down and not going up, but the member of staff couldn’t grasp this infomation, I guess they just on a money grab at the moment, would appreciate some advice, I thought about cancelling my direct debit and having a monthly bill, at least this way I wont be paying six months in advance for energy I wont be using.

Thanks 

it took the Ombudsman to sort my account out its worth a try 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

A couple of things to note there:

  1. You cannot go to the Energy Ombudsman without first using the Complaints Process at https://ovoenergy.com/feedback 
  2. The Ombudsman does not have to rule in favour of the customer - in actual fact, they can rule in favour of the supplier if they find the supplier is doing everything correctly
  3. If the Ombudsman rules against you, it’s game over unless you want to take the matter to court (and that’s an expensive and risky option!)

I strongly recommend you try to resolve the issue with OVO first. The Energy Ombudsman only usually gives you a single chance at each case. If you waste it, you may not get another one.

The Ombudsman ruled in my favour after months of trying to solve it with billing of course it should be a last resort but i went there after there was no other option left to me my account has now been corrected im happy with my letter of apology and my £40 goodwill payment its just a shame there was a need to have to take such action and yes it can be won by the supplier as well i had lots of evidence in my favour so it was a pretty smoothe process 

Userlevel 7

Hi @Jumbo 

 

I work at OVO and I wanted to step in to back up our community member, @Blastoise186. Specifically with regards to that suggestion of having a Direct Debit payment that stays the same for 12 months, which requires a build up of credit in the summer, ready for winter. We’ve always done that, but it’s vital we do it now with prices being so high. If you under pay in those 12 evenly monthly payments, debt can very quickly get into the hundreds of pounds by January. See this topic for more info:

 

 

Just some things to call out though:

 

I should also mention that OVO stores your cash in a holding account and they can’t touch that cash until after a bill is issued. After all, OVO has to be able to return your spare credit at anytime with or without notice, so they can’t do anything other than just leave it alone.

 

I can’t verify this info. Either way if and when you have credit that you need refunded, you can request this easily online

 

A couple of things to note there:

  1. You cannot go to the Energy Ombudsman without first using the Complaints Process at https://ovoenergy.com/feedback 

 

A correction here: you’re able to contact the Ombudsman directly if you raised an issue/complaint with OVO at least 8 weeks ago. 

 

Still, I’d agree that it’s worth trying to resolve your complaint directly with OVO first. It’s quicker and easier for everyone involved. 

 

I hope this helps, let us know if you have any questions - just bear in mind we can’t access your account or off account-specific advice. I know you called out making a change in the home (log burner) that will reduce your usage, so keep a look out on the online account for refunds and direct debit amount reduction options. 


Tim

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @Jumbo

 

Your log burner sounds interesting as you said it will power your heating. Will it be connected to radiators or underfloor heating pipes, or is it a standalone log burner?

Is it completely replacing your current gas or electric current heating system?

We have a standalone log burner, but also have our mains gas central heating for the vast majority of the time and the odd occasion use an electric heater instead if working from home in the day time sometimes. 

Ovo keep trying to increase my direct debit. They’ve tried 3 times since April and each time I have spent over an hour on the phone trying to get them to explain how they calculate the amount. I still haven’t had an explanation.

I only use around £40 worth of electricity per month. I pay £60 per month. In April they wanted to increase by DD to £139 a month! The latest figure was £96. I am currently £47 in credit.

I am on the ball and keep an eye on my account but I wonder how many people just accept what Ovo tell them?

I told them yesterday that if they insisted on increasing my DD to £96, I would cancel the DD and pay each monthly bill as it is  generated. They then agreed that £96 was too much and put it back to £60.

I am not at all impressed with Ovo’s customer service. I never had these problem with SSE.

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @JulieM ,

I think part of the problem here might be the fact SSE - or in fact, most suppliers - were never as pro-active at updating Direct Debits as OVO is and you may have gotten used to that old style way of doing things. OVO uses more or less the same routines as everyone else does, but gives you more transparency because the Direct Debit Calculator in MyOVO is the only tool of its type that I know of across the market. That tool will show you how OVO runs the numbers and how they got their figures.

Times are changing and this pro-active stance is intended to be ultimately in your favour. By starting to build up a credit now, you won’t swing as far into debit during the winter. I pay in £40 a month and spend about £30 to £38 a month, but with a reserve of £240 credit always on tap in my account and a unique set of circumstances in my flat, my bills are pretty flat across more or less the entire year. It took a while for OVO’s system to figure this out, but with a whole years worth of Smart Meter data in Half-Hourly Mode, the billing platform has learned that I can safely drop my payments if I want to and still be in credit.

The whole idea is to make sure you’re in credit at the end of your contract by a reasonable amount. If you try to override - while you are entitled to do so - there is a risk you could end up in debt come January. OVO is trying to help you to avoid that, but I strongly recommend you play with the Direct Debit Calculator to find a suitable middle ground.

Also, you can’t compare this years prices to last years prices I’m afraid. If you do that, you’ll end up being thrown completely off track.

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