News

New billing experience being trialed with 50% of online account users - feedback needed!

  • 17 November 2020
  • 20 replies
  • 276 views
New billing experience being trialed with 50% of online account users - feedback needed!
Userlevel 7

A new billing experience

 

In response to member feedback, we've made some changes to the online account billing experience.

 

This is part of a trial affecting half of those that log in. Half of you will get the newer version, which you can tell as you'll see a 'billing history' section. The other half will not see any changes to their billing features. Are you one of those that have seen the changes?

 

We want to hear what you think about our online billing experience! Leave a comment to confirm if you're part of the trial or not, let us know what you like about this billing section, and what you think could be improved. We'll be sharing this directly with the Kaluza teams working on this experience, so every comment helps!

 

One thing to note is that we can’t add you to this if you weren’t part of the random 50%. But if we get good feedback about the new changes, we’ll make this the default view for everyone soon! 


20 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge

Heya Tim!

It looks like I have gotten lucky on this one and I do see it. Which probably also explains some of inconsistent navigation in the sidebar menu (which will likely get fixed soon)! :smile:

It’s a little tricky to give much feedback myself as I’m still in my first billing cycle, but I do like what I’m seeing here.

I especially like the fact that there’s a clear indicator for things like when the last update was and how long is left until the cycle resets. I think I’ve spotted a couple of bugs so far, but I’m probably going to split those out into separate threads to avoid flooding this one.

Userlevel 6
Badge

It seems there’s some weird behaviour with lazy loading various aspects of the My OVO site which also affects the OVO Energy app to a certain extent. Since the new experimental billing experience seems to be the worst affected right now, I’m focusing on that for this report.

 

What’s the problem?
Accessing the new billing experience breaks lazy loading and causes flickering/flashing


How do I make it happen?

  1. Log into My OVO using an account that has the new billing experience trial/flag enabled
  2. Click on Billing History
  3. Click on View current billing period
  4. Click View full billing history


What should happen when I do this?
Lazy loading should load in the content in a way that avoids flickering and flashing


What happens instead?
The entire page appears to flicker and flash as it loads in


Is there anything else you think might be useful to know?
This is also noticeable across most of the My OVO site and OVO Energy app, but the new billing experience is definitely the section that’s worst affected. Tested so far using Google Chrome Version 86.0.4240.198 (Official Build) (64-bit) on Windows 10 20H2 64-bit. I can do separate reports for other sections later if desired. I’ll update with further test results later

Userlevel 7

Thanks @Blastoise186 - one of our devs has actually asked me to keep the feedback all in one place. As this is a trial, it might not be worth having multiple topics on the same feature changes. 

 

I’ll move your topic over to this as another comment, which will appear above this comment here, confusing anyone who sees this comment and wonders what I’m on about…. :rofl:

Userlevel 7

I’ll move your topic over to this as another comment, which will appear above this comment here, confusing anyone who sees this comment and wonders what I’m on about…. :rofl:

 

Done, thanks @Blastoise186!

Userlevel 6
Badge

Hehehe, no worries. As long as you don’t mind this thread being extremely active. I’ve not yet had chance to check this one out on other browsers, but I’m considering testing on Chrome with Android 10, Firefox on Windows 10 and Chrome/Firefox ESR on Debian 10 Buster as well.

That’s about the best I can do to cover as many supported device/browser combos as possible without having Apple hardware.

And yes… I love the way that moderation tools behave!

Userlevel 6
Badge

Just as a quick update on the above. I can also reproduce the same bug using the same version of Google Chrome listed above on Android 10 using my Samsung Galaxy A70.

Since pretty much all web browser apps on Android are Chromium based and I’m unlikely to see any difference with other browsers here, I’m only checking Chrome.

Also, since I noticed that my laptop just updated to Chrome 87.0.4280.66 (Official Build) (64-bit) so I checked again and got the same results, along with Mozilla Firefox 83.0 64-bit, both on Windows 10 20H2 64-bit.

Switching focus to my Debian Linux virtual machine for a second, I also managed it on both Google Chrome 87.0.4280.66 (Official Build) (64-bit) and Mozilla Firefox ESR 78.3.0esr on Debian 10 Buster, GNOME 3.38.1 and X11 running under VMware.

And right as I type this out, I trigger the flickering bug again...

Userlevel 7

Hi @BristolMatt @ollyelec @Jem16 @lizit @Brixton Dave @Badbod - you all commented on this topic about the online billing layout:

 

 

Can you have a look at this topic, and check if your online account is part of this 50% trial? We’d love to hear what you think of the billing experience! 

Userlevel 2

Hi @BristolMatt @ollyelec @Jem16 @lizit @Brixton Dave @Badbod - you all commented on this topic about the online billing layout:

 

 

Can you have a look at this topic, and check if your online account is part of this 50% trial? We’d love to hear what you think of the billing experience! 

Just checked and no I don’t appear to be on the trial as the tab I see just says Billing.

Userlevel 7

What are your latest thoughts on this billing section, @Jem16? I know the feature hasn’t changed, have your opinions of it changed though….? 

Userlevel 2

What are your latest thoughts on this billing section, @Jem16? I know the feature hasn’t changed, have your opinions of it changed though….? 

Mainly I don’t see a need to daily billing as I don’t have a smart meter ( and don’t want one either ) so the daily billing only includes the Standing Charge.

What I don’t like and find very confusing is the Interest Reward now. Previously with a monthly bill I saw the Interest Reward on each bill so easy to follow. Now I have a monthly summary where sometimes there are 2 Interest payments, sometimes just one and sometimes none. I cannot keep track of it at all.

Userlevel 7

Valuable feedback, thank you @Jem16 :blush:

 

@Jequinlan @Transparent have a quick look at your online account to check if you’re part of that 50%, and let us know your feedback on the billing experience either way. Now is our chance to make an impact on this!

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks @Tim_OVO but I don’t think I’m in the 50% that are on the new interface.

I can see my billing history, however, by clicking on the button I’ve circled here in red

 

But as it’s not labelled Billing History, I’m assuming that doesn’t count!

That’s a bit of a relief. I can now get on with answering the other 30 Topics waiting for me to add something!  :cold_sweat:

Userlevel 6
Badge

Thanks @Transparent , I can help there.

If you’re looking at the current cycle on the trial version, there’ll be a bar at the top that acts like a counter showing how many days are left in the current cycle.

Your screenshot doesn’t look like the new one as far as I can tell.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

The only bar I can see is this one   :wine_glass:  :beer:  :tumbler_glass:

Userlevel 7

The only bar I can see is this one   :wine_glass:  :beer:  :tumbler_glass:

 

I’ll drink to that. :beers:

 

Yep @Transparent you’re part of the control group 50%. Your feedback (if and when you can provide it) on this original billing experience is just as valuable as those on the new version. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

.

I think we need to view Orion differently…

 

… on which note, may I introduce the 2021 User Interface to the BillingSystem  - Betelgeuse!

 

 

Unlike previous billing software, OVO’s Orion software has an underlying structure based on daily calculations.

Whilst we currently still expect to receive monthly statements, these are a pretty poor representation of how Orion operates beneath the bonnet.

As we anticipate the move towards genuine Time Of Use tariffs, the entire concept of monthly reporting becomes less useful. Moreover, the text and numerals which form the basis of the Statement are difficult to assimilate.

Instead of numerical data, we need to see trends - visual indications of how our actual usage of electricity and gas compare with the annual estimate on which our Direct Debits were set at the start of the contract.

 

To that end, allow me to unveil the Betelgeuse graphical interface:

 

 

This graphic shows the entire annual view for a customer, Arthur Dent, whose contract started on 13th January. We are seeing it as if from a date at the end of September.

When Arthur selected this tariff from OVO, he had entered his Annual Consumption Rate from a previous bill, and provided a few basic facts about his house: number of bedrooms, how it was heated, if he had an electric vehicle etc.

The tariff assessor software calculated his estimated yearly spend as £1230 and Arthur agreed the contract start-date of 13th January.

The green line shows the monthly Direct Debit payments being taken on 14th of each month thereafter.

As is usual, the payments are estimated such that his account will be a month in credit by the end of the 12-month contract. This is shown at top-right }

To see how that estimate is arrived at, Arthur can view the light blue (electricity) and light orange (gas) curves which would be typical for a house such as his (assuming, of course, that the house is not demolished to make way for an intergalactic super-highway).

These light blue/orange curves can act as a guideline by which Arthur can judge if his usage is more or less than was predicted before he accepted the contract.

 

Each day the energy actually used is obtained from his Smart Meter and plotted on the Betelgeuse graph.

January and February were unusually cold, meaning that the actual gas usage in dark orange was higher than the original estimate.

During those 6 weeks, Arthur also used slightly more electricity (dark blue), but it remained roughly in line with the prediction.

Using energy advice which he obtained from other members of the prestigious OVO Forum, Arthur changed his lighting to LEDs and by mid-April his electricity usage has fallen below the original estimate.

As “today” is the last week of September, Arthur is able to view his combined costs for electricity and gas on the magenta line. This shows a prediction (dashed line) of a slightly higher annual cost than the first estimate of £1230.

That enables him either to slightly increase his monthly Direct Debit, or alternatively return to the Forum where he can ask a question about how to add more insulation in his attic.

 

To comply with Ofgem regulations, the Statement/Bill for any month can be viewed (or downloaded) by clicking on the month name (in black) at the bottom of Betelgeuse. Incompleted months are greyed out.

To see the Usage Histogram for a month, Arthur clicks on the relevant actual gas or actual electricity line within that month. This shortcut avoids him having to use the sidebar menu.

 

So there we have it. All that needs to happen is for the Dev-Team to write the code and send me a crate of Bordeaux by way of a design fee. :wine_glass:  :blush:

Userlevel 6
Badge

Erm… I don’t know if you deserve a crate of Bordeaux or a lifetime supply of the stuff with the way you’re going!

Personally though, with the way that trends are shifting these days and the fact that Time of Use tariffs become more popular, having the daily number crunching is brilliant. My smart meter should activate soon but I love how the platform recalculates my account balance and status within 90 seconds of a manual reading going in. I’m coming close to the end of my first billing cycle, so I’ll soon be able to give more feedback there too.

Userlevel 6
Badge

I’ve had a bit more time to play with the new trial version and there’s another quirk I’ve noticed which is a bit of a regression. It’s something you’ll probably only notice if you’re a new customer who’s still in the first billing cycle.

It looks like I have to click View current billing cycle in order to pull up the current cycle, yet since I’m in my first cycle right now, nothing shows up until I do.

The first thing you see on the new trial experience

I feel that it might be more ideal if Billing history either always defaults to showing the current cycle first, or defaults to showing the current cycle for a member who’s currently still in the first cycle and then switches to the full history later. Or possibly allow the member to choose which one they’d like. :sunglasses:

Userlevel 7

@Transparent Betelguese is a really interesting. Keen to make sure some others se it, @Jequinlan @ArundaleP have a look at Transparent’s billing system idea and report back. 

 

 

.

 

 

I had written out a couple of questions, but in doing this, I figured out the answer to both. 

 

The Y axis running total of £. But I’m concerned that Aurthor doesn’t seem to be using much gas or electricity at all between March - September. Is he travelling for those months?

 

The green line is an account balance. It’s always decreasing, but shoots up after every payment. A lovely way to check you’re on target.  

 

It’s not too different to the Yearly usage section, where you can compare your actual usage to the same period the year before. But Betelguese does this with your balance AND your charges in one handy chart. I like it. 

 

 

Userlevel 6
Badge

I’m not really sure if this affects only the new trial experience, but I noticed the Warm Home Discount gets presented in a bit of a weird way.

The summary at the top gets flipped and says:

Your current charges so far are -£140 (assuming your balance was precisely £0 before the Warm Home Discount went in).

It also seems to flip the Current balance section to show Total charges as “in” rather than “out” and puts an entry under my Electricity account (Charges in detail) referencing the Warm Home Discount as a line entry of -£140. It’s a bit more tricky to understand the entries like this. I sort of feel like it would be better to have any discounts under a dedicated section of the breakdown.

It effectively makes it all show up as something like this:

Current Balance

  • Starting Balance
  • Total Charges
  • Direct Debit
  • Card Payment/Top-Up Payment
  • Current balance

Charges in detail

Electricity

  • Standing charge
  • Energy use charge
  • VAT
  • Warm Home Discount Core/Broader Group Payment
  • Subtotal

Upgrades

  • OVO Beyond
  • OVO Foundation

Credit for billing period

 

I also think the dividing lines in the table are also a bit too faint to be visible. Would a different colour and increased line thickness help make them clearer?

Reply