Read Disputes - What are they?


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If your opening meter reading is incorrect, this could mean you’re paying too much in your final bill. This can happen if an opening meter reading isn’t provided and an estimate is used, or the energy industry modifies the reading given.

As the opening meter reading is shared between the old supplier and the new for billing, to get this amended it needs to be approved by both.

The process for doing this is as follows:
- Take two meter readings two weeks apart
- Use these to calculate what the opening meter reading should have been
- If there’s a significant enough difference between the reading used and our new proposal, a dispute can go ahead
- Send proposal off to the other supplier for approval
- Once they’ve responded, we can amend official reading and rebill
- This process can take up to 12 weeks

If you’re going through a read dispute, we won’t produce a bill until the process is complete. Your Direct Debit will continue, which will build up some credit in your account to cover the bill. Once the dispute is over, your billing will resume a monthly cycle.

Has anyone had to go through this before? Anyone in the process of a read dispute now and need help? Comment below or find more info here..

17 replies

I've recently moved to Ovo and had a nightmare with it all from start to finish. The level of incompetence from all parties is amazing. For something that should be pretty much automatic I can't figure out how it's gone so wrong. No doubt it'll be me that loses out.

I knew something would come back with this transfer. All started when the correspondence I got from OVO said I had until December 4th to submit my reading (I submitted on the 4th) but it wouldn't accept it online so I had to do it over the phone. I was told this would be fine.

Now I understand what has actually happened. Basically OVO have just take it upon themselves to send BG a made up reading (how is that even legal). Meaning BG are now chasing me for missing hundreds ££.

So, first, How do I ask a question on a Saturday to get this sorted? I've been told by my previous supplier (BG) that this dispute needs to be sorted ASAP because if I don't pay the balance they claim I owe before 2nd Jan they will start recovery proceedings. As OVO are shut on a Saturday (they don't make a big deal of that in their advertisements), how do I get this moving quickly? There's not even an email address that I can find.

Second, how do i get OVO to send BG the correct meter readings? The figures that they sent to BG are completely made up. Something that I am furious about.

Any help appreciated here.

Thanks
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@temporary-new-name

Crikey! I feel for you. Sadly I don't have anything to say that can put your mind at rest other than to say you can contact OVO by email at hello@ovoenergy.com Usually it takes about 1-2 days to get an answer. By all accounts you can also reach out to OVO via their Twitter or Facebook pages.

When you email them add your new OVO account number in the opening sentence so they can find your account.

As an additional suggestion could you contact BG and give them your correct meter reading?

Good luck at sorting it...
I appreciate the post Nancy, but the problem is I have absolutely no idea what is happening. British Gas say the issue is with OVO and OVO day it’s British Gas.

when I called OVO yesterday I was told to submit a new reading (which I did). I also emailed OVO too (as I was asked to). I’ve received no confirmation that anything is being done.

as far as I know British Gas will take £260 out of my account on 2nd Jan for something that isn’t my fault. And for something that I haven’t used. In my view this is theft! Yet I am powerless to stop it.

BG Have taken £75 out of my account today for no obvious reason (my previous monthly DD was £130). Yet the bill states it would be 2/01. BG I’ve already said they will instruct debt recovery if I don’t pay the £260 in Jan, but in my eyes I owe nothing.

and no one is prepared to tel me anything. I’m furious that it’s nearly 2019 and this can happen. Why can’t you energy companies pull your finger out and sort it? It really is the most simple thing in the world. It’s called communication and in this day and age it’s the simplest thing in the world to implement.

instead i’ll no doubt be out of pocket in cash terms and time that I have to spend speaking to various people on the phone who cannot/will not help me.

Great start to the new year!
Just to re-iterate. I was informed by OVO to submit meter readings by the 5/12 for my transfer of service. I submitted readings on the 4/12. Yet the transfer used a completely made up figure then on the 29/11.

no one informed me of this. My account states I submitted this reading (I did not). So either your systems cannot distinguish between estimates and actual readings or someone impersonated me and submitted false information.

either way, it’s me having to mop up the mess.
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@temporary-new-name

Given the circumstances and the lack of any proper communication from either British Gas and OVO you need to write a letter of formal complaint to both companies and wait for their response. It's frustrating that you need to do this but it might just speed up the process and give you some answers. If you are not happy with the response or you receive a letter of 'deadlock' you can refer your matter to the Ombudsman, link below...

Both OVO Energy & British Gas are members of this scheme

https://www.ombudsman-services.org/
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Hey @temporary-new-name, I'm sorry to hear you haven't received any communication from us about this. It sounds like the industry have intervened and re-estimated your opening meter readings.

If you submit an opening meter reading to your new supplier, it's checked by the energy industry against your history of readings with your previous supplier. If it's deemed to be "out of line" at all, it may be amended before being send back to both suppliers to open/close your account. We can change this if they've got it wrong. We just need a backup set of readings, and we can send the information off.

During the course of a reading dispute, your billing with us will be 'suspended'. Your Direct Debits will continue to be paid into your OVO account, but we won't deduct any bills until the dispute has been resolved. If you've left British Gas completely at this point, you're perfectly entitled to cancel your Direct Debit with them via your bank. If there's anything outstanding ti pay once this is resolved, you can make a one off payment to cover it. They shouldn't chase you up for anything outstanding if they know there's a dispute ongoing.

It can take up to 12 weeks to resolved a reading dispute. Without your account details, it's difficult to be more specific than this. If there's anything that still needs clearing up, please drop the team on Facebook a message with your account number, full name and DoB and they'll be able to look into this for you.

Thanks.
Thanks Nancy. I appreciate the response but much of this doesn’t make sense. The estimated reading was supplied to OVO before I submitted my opening reading. I’ve no idea who did this (I had been told by OVO that I had to submit a reading before 5th December, which I did but the ‘false’ reading was submitted on 29th November by someone).

I've submitted a formal complaint to OVO and British Gas as I don’t want to have to wait 12 weeks while BG are threatening debt recovery for money I don’t owe.
Just to follow up on the Read Dispute that I submitted to OVO. I've heard from British Gas (my previous supplier) that they only received a correct reading for the Electricity meter and not both Gas & Electricity.

BG are blaming this on OVO for submitting the wrong readings to them on 29th November. All I know is that this seems to be getting deliberately dragged out and I'm caught in the middle.

I've submitted emails, online contact and used this forum. I've raised official complaints to both BG and OVO. Yet I hear almost nothing (at least BG have got in touch. Even if it is to deny it's their problem).

Can someone please just sort this out?
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BG are blaming this on OVO for submitting the wrong readings to them on 29th November. All I know is that this seems to be getting deliberately dragged out and I'm caught in the middle.

Can someone please just sort this out?


Not good to hear, @temporary-new-name

The readings used in a transfer will be decided on by a third party on behalf of the new supplier (us in this case), but the suppliers involved can get them changed.

If this reading dispute needs chasing up, get in touch with our Customer Care team to get this done.

We're on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ovoenergy/

Twitter: @OVOEnergy

Email: hello@ovoenergy.com

Phone: 0330 303 5063
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@temporary-new-name

Don't waste your time emailing or using Twitter, this is clearly causing you distress which needs prompt answers. Telephone the above number, they're usually very helpfully.
@temporary-new-name

Don't waste your time emailing or using Twitter, this is clearly causing you distress which needs prompt answers. Telephone the above number, they're usually very helpfully.


That would be a great idea, only they're not open at weekends. I work during the week and I'm usually way too busy to be making calls and having to explain (for the tenth time) the whole sorry saga over & over again.

As you say, it is causing me distress, but neither BG or OVO seem to give a s***. It's the same scripted replies and repeating of the same 'stuff' to sort it out. Either that or one just blames the other.

I'm just amazed, that in 2019 two companies cannot communicate more effectively and that, what should be a simple process, causes so much hassle. It's incredible that I can switch bank accounts, all debit card payments migrated, all direct debits seamlessly migrated, all communication done through an app, with security checks through the app & any future payments made incorrectly to the old bank seamlessly arrive at the new account... Yet changing, what is effectively just a change of billing & administration (who sends bills for gas & electric) is so chaotic with no one knowing what is happening and just blaming each other.

I'm leaving it now and just ignoring the bills BG continue to send me. If it does go to debt collectors then I'll let OfGem sort it out.
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@temporary-new-name

Obviously I can't advise regarding debt collectors but I would think any such action would fail anyway under the circumstances. You've taken all the right steps to resolve the issue but either BG or OVO are preventing or delaying resolution.

Whilst I do understand how annoying this situation is for you it might be best to take @Tim_OVO advise, I know that means going out of your way but at least you can demonstrate you've exhausted every avenue of support.

I'll end on a familiar mock Latin aphorism, it seems quite fitting under the circumstances, you'll have to Google it's meaning...

'Illegitimi non carborundum' 😉
I didn't realise about the number. Are you sure on that? Obviously it's past 1pm now so i can't check but the web site says it's mon - fri only.

Regardless, I can't be bothered now. I've contacted both companies to record the objection (three times). The first one I submitted with Ovo only went through to BG for electric (Ovo seemingly ignored the gas). The second time was with BG, because they hadn't corrected the gas, and the third was corrected earlier this week with ovo, after I found out Ovo had only queried the electric with BG (which was never a problem anyway). So we'll see if it gets sorted. Although time is counting down to when I refer to OfGem.

As I've said. I just don't understand how in 2019 this can even be a problem. It's such a simple thing to sort out. I'm an IT consultant and I deal with processes far more complex than this, with businesses & government departments and data that is far, far more complex than sending 2 sets of 5 digit numbers. Often using designs & solutions that have already been designed and proven. Why can't the energy companies?
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@temporary-new-name

I'm sure it will be solved sooner or later, it's just a shame your stuck in the middle of the two companies while they sort it out and being powerless to do anything to speed things along must be infuriating.

If worst case scenario happens and neither company can resolve the issue you should eventually receive a letter of deadlock at which time you will have the opportunity to fight your case through Ofgem

I don't know if you've seen this video but it should help you understand the process.

See this link: Energy complaints procedure: A video guide
I am currently trying to leave OVO and although I had a smart meter fitted, they are still claiming after over 8 weeks that they have incorrect final meter readings. They have now advised me it may take up to 12 weeks to sort this out, whilst they are sitting on £290 of my money. I have reported them to the Ombudsman.
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I am currently trying to leave OVO and although I had a smart meter fitted, they are still claiming after over 8 weeks that they have incorrect final meter readings. They have now advised me it may take up to 12 weeks to sort this out, whilst they are sitting on £290 of my money. I have reported them to the Ombudsman.


Sorry to hear this, @UnhappyOVOcustomer, unfortunately validating the final readings can take a little longer if there's industry issues.

It sounds like we've raised a read dispute, read through this topic for more help with this.

Here's some more information on our complaints procedure.
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@UnhappyOVOcustomer

Watch this weeks episode of BBC Watchdog, they helped the OVO customer who was on that show and he was owed several hundred pounds. OVO sorted the problem pretty quick in that instance.

Watch from 26 mins onward

BBC Watchdog Episode 5

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