Spark Energy and some advice I have for their customers

  • 23 November 2018
  • 26 replies
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I have just read on the BBC News site that Spark Energy in Stirling, has ceased trading. You can read the official statement from Spark's Board on their own website here.

OVO Energy has put in a bid to take over the accounts of its 290,000 customers, obviously subject to the agreement of the Liquidator and the Energy Regulator.

Ofgem is well aware of the issues, and no customer should be cut off in the meantime. So please don't panic.

It will take a while to sort out those accounts which are in arrears or those where the contract-term is about to end.

If any Spark customers are reading this, and would like further advice, then you may post here by joining the OVO Forum. It is open to everyone, not just existing OVO customers. However, Spark Customer Service is still operating so any questions regarding Spark or your account should be directed there.

The Forum members are not professionals, nor employees of OVO. But we're a friendly bunch, and have a wealth of knowledge between us.

26 replies

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Just following up my own post... I suggest that any Spark Energy customers take a meter-reading this weekend. In the unlikely event of any later dispute over whether you were in credit or arrears when Spark ceased trading, you will be able to refer back to this.

May I clarify: just because the company has ceased trading doesn't mean that your energy Contract has ceased. It hasn't! The contracts with existing Sparks customers are an asset of the company, and will be treated as such by the appointed liquidator/administrator.

And because your Contract remains "live", you are also still protected by the Consumer Rights Act. So this is good news.
Hi Ovo!

With Spark going bump I have been informed by Ofgem that Ovo has taken over my account. I, along with around 100 other people in my building have a 'complex' meter with two MPAN's, due to having an Economy 10 type system.

Has anything being put into place to cater for all of the Spark customers with complex meters, as Spark seemed to be the only supplier who catered for them? I know Npower have some people on a legacy plan, but no new people can join it.

Awaiting your reply.
What is going to happen to us Spark customers who have 'complex' meters installed?
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Welcome @Doddy0078 ... and that's an excellent question to start off with.

Firstly, the announcement is for OVO to take over your account administration. At the moment it will still be badged as a "Spark" account.

Secondly, OVO already has customers with E10 tariffs. Things only change once they get a Smart Meter installed, because there isn't a Smart Meter tariff with more than 7 hours of 'economy use'.

Thirdly, OVO are a long way into writing a new in-house tariff and billing system. It's operational but fairly frugal on end-user functionality at the moment. Some customers are on the Trial scheme, providing feedback. So whilst there's active programming going on, it's actually a pretty good time to evaluate what's required for existing Spark users.

And finally, the entire country will soon be changing over to a new strategy for energy-purchase. It's based on a half-hour variable tariff and requires the newer SMETS2 Smart Meters to operate. Ofgem and the Government call this system Demand Side Response whilst OVO sometimes refer to it as Time Of Use (TOU) tariff.

The golden rule with tariff and billing systems is not to change anything too quickly. Ofgem get very upset with Suppliers who end up annoying customers, and tend to fine them. So don't expect any sudden changes from OVO!
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Hey @Doddy0078 - I've moved your original post over here to keep all Spark chatter in one place. @Lucy_OVO has also posted some info about this change here.

Hope this helps.
Hi, in a way it does!

However, in the past couple of months I tried to switch away from Spark as they wouldn't fit me a smart meter. The switch to eon was blocked both times by Spark! I know of one Spark customer who at the advice of Ofgem cancelled his direct debit, Spark have now increased his tariff as he 'breached contract'. I really dislike Spark, but I'm stuck due to the meter situation.

Can Ovo switch those of us with the complex meters over and swap our meters, I for one won't mind losing the 3 hours as I can save money on a cheaper tariff.
I have an FIT account with SPARK Energy do I need to do anything ? Or does it change over automatically ( FIT 00679734), Regards MR R Phillips
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I have an FIT account with SPARK Energy do I need to do anything ? Or does it change over automatically ( FIT 00679734), Regards MR R Phillips

@JAGuarxkrv8T nothing will change for you, you'll stick with Spark as your FIT provider unless you change. More info on OVO Energy's FIT proposition here

Thanks,
Tim
Anymore news on what's happening with contacting Spark customers to let us know what and when it's all happening haven't heard a single thing from anyone since it all happened nearly 3 weeks ago
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Hey @bearpoohbear

All the info we can provide is right here.

https://forum.ovoenergy.com/news-and-updates-47/hot-off-the-press-we-ve-got-spark-energy-joining-the-ovo-family-5284

As it stands Spark are still operating so any questions would need to be directed at them in terms of any communications that need to be sent out. OVO is not yet responsible for that as Spark is operating in its own right until further notice.

Hopefully this helps, but shout if you have any other questions.

Darran
Hello
i was a Sparc energy customer. Ac No. edited by moderator

i understand that Ovo have taken over the business now.
The property was rented until 5th October 2018, since then it has been empty.
i have now sold the property & wish to settle the bill I have it he following meter readings:
gas 0074 - 94
electric - 38887
How can I pay this?
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Hi @Rhockley

Although OVO now own Spark, they are still operating as a separate business so you will need to contact them directly to get help with this.

Here is an article on Spark which gives you everything you need to get in touch with them.

Darran
Spark was terrible anyway and so I'm rather glad they went bust.

What do I have to do to move?
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Spark was terrible anyway and so I'm rather glad they went bust.

What do I have to do to move?


Have a read of this topic, @nicferrier - lots of advice here!

In short, you can switch supplier to OVO just like normal, as Spark are still operating

Sort the switch here!
I am the owner of the building, the tenants moved out at then end of September 2018. The meter readings are incorrect for my "Sorry to see you go" account. Its almost 6 months and my account isn't sorted. I can't find an address to send a complaint to. They don't answer any emails and Im tired of phoning from the USA. LCS who seem to be dealing with the query are just as unresponsive. Anybody have any ideas for me? Thanks
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Hi @Dessie - just to check, is this an OVO account or a Spark account you're referring to?
Hi Nancy no it’s a Sparks account. There is no address on their paper account or on the webpage. They don’t respond to emails and calling isn’t solving the problem either.
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Hi @Dessie - We've bought Spark energy, but they'll continue to trade as normal. If you've got an account with them, it'll remain with them and the customer services team will still be available for any help you need.

Cheers,
Nancy
The customer service is terribly inadequate
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Hi @Dessie

If you're not getting (adequate) responses from emails to Spark Customer Service, and this problem dates from 6 months ago, then you should be using their Complaints Procedure.

There are three stages. In effect you've already used the first stage by contacting Customer Services.

Send an email to customerservice@sparkenergy.co.uk with the word Complaint in the Subject Line and at the start of the main body text. If you've been given a named contact then mark it for their attention.

They have 5 days to respond, and you can request that they do so by email so that you retain a copy with a date/time stamp.

If that's unsatisfactory, reply stating that you aren't yet satisfied. That effectively means you've moved to the final stage which must be completed within 8 weeks.

I would be surprised if it were allowed to go any further because the next step would be to refer to the Office of The Energy Ombudsman. That gets reported in publically-available statistics, so all Energy Suppliers will do their best to avoid it happening!

Post here again if you require any clarification.
Hi Ive sent over 5 emails as you suggest with the word complaint in the subject line. Ive even sent one to LCS whom I believe is their debt collector with the word Dispute/Complaint...Ive written to LCS by mail. Still nothing. So I guess its onto the Energy Ombudsman for me??
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@Dessie If you've had a "live" complaint for 8 weeks, then you are legally entitled to request a "Deadlock Letter".

Unless you can show that you have followed the advertised Complaints Procedure of your Energy Supplier, the Office of the Energy Ombudsman is unable to accept your case.

If you can't get a Deadlock Letter from Spark, then the Ombudsman will expect to see a copy of the first letter/email you sent which bore the word Complaint. If the date it bares is more than 8 weeks distant, then that will suffice.

Please try to ensure that the information you provide to the Ombudsman is clear and precise. Their effectiveness in reaching an appropriate resolution depends on the quality of the details which you can supply. I recommend you include a list of correspondence with date, recipient and subject line.

I have always found them polite and helpful.
Definitely followed their requirements. What is a Deadlock letter?
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A Deadlock Letter is when the Energy Supplier (eg Spark) writes to you stating that they are unable to resolve your complaint. They should automatically issue this after 8 weeks anyway.
Thanks for your advice and help. They haven't even acknowledged my email (s) complaint. Despite the website saying

"Step 1: Get in touch
If you're unhappy, contact us at customerservice@sparkenergy.co.uk or give us a call on 0345 034 7474. We’re here 8am to 6pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. You'll talk with one of our dedicated team who're here to help and will answer any questions you have. They'll provide you with a complaint case number and will aim to have your complaint resolved within 24 hours "


So Im doubting a "Deadlock letter"

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