Blog

Statement 'Could you pay less?' section: Are you being overcharged? Perhaps not...

  • 8 August 2020
  • 4 replies
  • 288 views
Statement 'Could you pay less?' section: Are you being overcharged? Perhaps not...
Userlevel 4
Badge

Updated on 09/09/20: As well as the info below, please see this topic and this topic on the ‘Could you pay less’ statement feature

 

BEWARE Government mandated statements on emails and annual statements. They mislead.

I have just had an email from OVO with my quarterly bill. At the end is a question asking “Could you pay less?” with a statement that I could save £137 pa**.  A similar calculation comes with every email enclosing  a quarterly bill.

But that does not mean OVO is overcharging or that I could actually save anything! 

I realised that the saving would be less because of the £60 cost to exit dual fuel. But it still seemed to be a big enough saving with a full year to go.

Or was it?  At present, I get £7.50 per quarter per fuel as a self-service reward, £60 per year. The SSR is not on new contracts, so I’d lose that too.

So the £137 potential saving is actually more like £17. If I had not looked further, I would have thought that I was being hugely overcharged as an existing customer , which is totally against OVO ethos.

 

But I didn’t spot that immediately.

Initially I searched on MyOVO for how to change my tariff but failed to find anywhere I could apply, so I filled in all of the information on the main web site. It showed a monthly cost of £82 instead of £95, and said how wonderful that I was already a customer of OVO so therefore I could do this within MyOVO , and encouraged me to click the link.

Good news! We already supply your home, so we can give you a more accurate quote and set your account up faster. If you are already an OVO customer at this property please log in and complete your renewal in MyOVO.

BUT, as I’d found, MyOVO does not have anywhere to allow me to change my plan.  The email needs to say (as @Tim_OVO says in this post) that if you are within a contract term, you need to do this on webchat.

That is, if webchat still exists - there is no obvious option for it today. Perhaps because it is mid afternoon at a weekend during the Covid-19 crisis.

SUGGESTION: The email ought to highlight (as a reminder to existing customers who might do as I started to do, thinking they were being cheated) not only that

**This plan might be subject to materially different terms and conditions…

but perhaps a bit about those terms and conditions. The comparison quoted showed my existing tariff, so the system KNOWS that I have both a £30 per fuel exit cost, and a £30 per fuel self-service reward, total £120, which I’d lose.

 

I’m flagging this up so that if others are looking they do not get upset like I started to be.


4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks for doing the maths @EverythingNeedsAUserName !

As you rightly point out, the format of this Tariff Comparison Box is stipulated by Ofgem in order to comply with the Government’s initiative to simplify the billing and tariff structures. But in doing so, it’s now too simplified and misses the useful information which us consumers need.

As this move comes from HMG there is no reason why you couldn’t raise this with your MP in a Constituent’s Letter (which can be sent as an email). If you word it carefully, your MP can add comments asking for an explanation of why the strategy is woefully failing to achieve what the Government intended, and then send it on to BEIS.

There are accepted protocols as to how this must be dealt with promptly and accurately.

The response from BEIS will be sent to your MP who will copy it to you. That gives you the opportunity to discuss whether it is satisfactory or that changes need to be made.

 

Before you do so, can I point out that change is afoot anyway, and that you might wish to evaluate these two points first:

  1. The Targetted Charging Review will alter the way we are charged for the network services portion of our energy bills. Have a look at what @ArundaleP has posted about this, and put your comments and questions over there on that Topic.
  2. We will soon face options for Time Of Use tariffs. These won’t be contracts defined by annual rates that can be checked across comparison sites. It is therefore likely that BEIS/Ofgem are already considering what needs to be in the Tariff Comparison Box for customers on a variable tariff. Have a look online on Ofgem’s website. If you can’t find anything about it, perhaps that is a point which your MP could be asking on your behalf.

Then post back here and keep us informed of what’s happening please!

Userlevel 4
Badge

Thanks for the links @Transparent . There is a lot to read there, which will take some time and effort. Thanks, I think :wink:

I had seen the post and not fully taken in that this would be the way forward for all, as was a short list of customers to whom it would apply.  I had also thought that was many years away when everyone had a Gen 2 smart meter.

Userlevel 7

Thanks for starting this discussion, @EverythingNeedsAUserName - you've just earned the ‘Money saver’ badge for this!

 

It started as a brilliantly honest review of the ‘Could you pay less’ section of your statement/summary, which I think will be really handy to anyone else who gets confused with this ‘feature’.

 

I’d like to move what has become our very first ‘Time of use’ roll out discussion to a separate discussion. I’ll post this now, move the relevant comments over, and then send a link to the new thread. @EverythingNeedsAUserName if you have an objective to this, let me know and I can move it back. 

 

Update: here's the new discussion topic on TOU tariffs and comparisons


In my opinion, time of use tariffs aren’t going anywhere, and they will become much more prevalent. So it’s really good to be able read (and for people to find) this discussion on tariff comparison feasibility.

Userlevel 4
Badge

@Tim_OVO that sounds like a very sensible idea..

Jim

Reply