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Can I manage another person's energy account for them?

  • 2 September 2021
  • 23 replies
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Userlevel 2

Hi all,

like many people, I have an aging parent who struggles to cope with modern technology such as online accounts.

I would like to manage my Mum’s energy account for her but her current supplier will not let me do this without a “Lasting Power of Attorney” and my Mum finds that troubling because it makes her think that “the law” is taking over her life.

If we were to change supplier to OVO, could the account have both my Mum and me as joint account holders without the “scary” legal stuff ?

thanks for any thoughts on the matter

PhilipJ

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 3 September 2021, 13:33

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Userlevel 7
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Hiya @PhilipJ451 !

Welcome to the OVO Forum. This is indeed a very, very good question and you're very welcome to ask for advice first. I believe OVO does recognise a valid and registered Lasting Power of Attorney under Property & Financial. The Support Team would be able to help get it set up once the account has been created by the switching process being started. But there's other options too if that's not your thing. Here's one we made earlier! :)

I would probably recommend Secondary Contact Non Financially Liable if you don't want to be responsible for her bills while still having pretty good access to the account. But Secondary Contact Financially Liable is a potential option as well.

You might also want to set up Priority Services Register too. :)

Userlevel 2

Hi,

thanks for that information, the secondary contact sounds like a great solution. I will talk to my Mum about changing supplier.

Thanks

PhilipJ

 

Userlevel 2

Hi again,

I have just read online that the power company my Mum currently uses (SSE or Swalec) is actually now part of OVO!! Is this correct ? and if so can the account (my Mum’s) just be changed over to an account with OVO and then the secondary contact (me) can be added ?

regards

PhilipJ

 

Userlevel 7
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Yup, that’s right. SSE sold their retail division SSE Energy Services to OVO back in January 2020 and OVO currently has permission to use the SSE name and branding under license from SSE Plc for the time being. If memory serves, the license and permission was granted in order to help make the transition easier and take care of some complicated legal stuff. SSE Plc still exists of course and all their other businesses are unaffected - only the retail division was sold off.

I can indeed recommend two possible options here as well. OVO has been working on a migration project to bring all SSE customers over to OVO and if you do nothing, the account will eventually migrate to OVO automatically - and you would then be able to use OVO’s Secondary Contact features and all the other benefits. I can’t give you an estimate of when your mums account will be migrated, but if you choose this option it’s completely automatic and she’ll be notified at least two weeks in advance. Her account balance will also transfer over as well into the new OVO account. Her existing tariff will also be honoured for the remainder of the contract. You would then be able to set up Secondary Contact with OVO after the account is migrated. If PSR is active with SSE before the move, it will be transferred if you use this route.

Alternatively - and I suspect this is probably what you’ll go for - you can jump the queue and switch to OVO now without waiting for the migration. If you choose this option, it’s just like switching to any other supplier. It may result in Exit Fees from SSE but you would be able to come on-supply with OVO in as little as two weeks on a fresh contract. Any spare balance from the SSE account would be refunded if there’s any left after paying the Final Bill. If you choose this option, you’d be able to set up Priority Services Register and Secondary Contact features pretty much the very same day you sign up - literally within an hour of doing so. OVO would then make sure it’s all in place for when the supply switches over. You’ll need to set it up manually though as this option will not migrate PSR over from SSE automatically.

Hope this helps. We’ll be here if you have any other questions.

Userlevel 7
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That reminds me as well actually. I was on my phone yesterday while typing my initial reply, so doing long posts wasn’t easy. There’s two more services that OVO offers which I believe you could both benefit from.

The first one is the Warm Home Discount. This can provide an additional £140 top-up to your Electricity account to help with energy costs over the winter and is available whether you’re on Pay Monthly or Pay As You Go. OVO and SSE both offer this service as part of their licenses. If your mum is part of the Core Group, the DWP will contact her directly with the details and she won’t need to apply. If she’s part of the Broader Group (like me), she’ll need to apply manually to her active supplier (you can apply on her behalf if you’re a Secondary Contact) and it’ll be handled from there. It’s applied as an account credit and is non-repayable - you will never be asked to pay it back. Don’t worry if you don’t end up using it all over the winter either, because any leftover WHD can simply be carried over for future bills as it becomes part of your regular account balance.

It’s really easy to apply for and takes just a few minutes. If you get approved, the account credit will be applied once it’s ready. :)

The other one is the Priority Services Register, which is a really cool service that I think you will definitely find useful. There’s a whole bunch of features available and all of them are completely free of charge. As a bonus, it’s a consistent experience across all suppliers and PSR can even extend beyond your supplier. With your consent, the PSR registration can be shared with other entities like network operators for the purposes of providing additional support - and is only shared when necessary.

The information held on the PSR is otherwise confidential and is guaranteed never to be used for marketing or anything else beyond the agreed purposes of the PSR itself. You’ll never get random sales or marketing calls as a result of using this service.

There’s quite a few features on offer with the PSR and I haven’t memorised all of them yet, but it’s always personalised based on what works for you. Here’s a few of the most popular ones - but there’s loads more as well!

  • Duplicate Bills/Statements - which allows a duplicate copy of all bills to be sent to a second person as well as to the account holder (which doesn’t interfere with Secondary Contact and doesn’t make the recipient liable)
  • Special formats for all communications - such as Large Print, Braille, Audio CD and others. OVO can even arrange a phone call every month to read the bills over the phone too
  • Engineer Password - this lets you set a password that any visiting engineers, meter readers or any other visitors that stop by on behalf of OVO must provide to help prove their identify on top of the usual measures like ID Cards
  • Meter reader visits - If your mum struggles to read her meters and doesn’t have working Smart Meters, this feature means OVO can send out an engineer or meter reader every month to take meter readings and submit them on her behalf at no extra charge
  • Moving the meter - if your mum is happy to read her own meters but can’t reach them easily, OVO can arrange to relocate them for easier access
  • Advance notice of power cuts - this is especially useful if you have medical equipment that relies on electricity. This feature allows you to get advance notice of all planned power cuts in plenty of time so you can be prepared
  • Nominating a Secondary Contact - this feature is available both with and without PSR in different forms, but is especially useful either way. As the name suggests, it allows the account holder to grant permission for a second person to speak to OVO on their behalf

You can set up Priority Services Register online, by post or over the phone but I think the Warm Home Discount might be online-only for the Broader Group. But as long as you have Secondary Contact permissions, I think you’d be able to request WHD on behalf of your mum.

Whichever way you go, we’ll definitely be happy to answer any questions you have anytime. :)

Userlevel 7

Updated on 27/07/23 by Emmanuelle_OVO

 

We’ve changed our process for gaining implied consent (discussing an account on behalf of an account holder) 
 

To make sure we’re keeping our customers’ data as safe and secure as possible we’ve made some changes to how non-account holders can get in touch.

 

Historically, if a non-account holder was able to answer enough questions about the account, there were certain things that could be discussed or actions taken under 'Implied consent'. This is no longer the case.

 

We’re now asking the account holder to be present at the same time as a non-account holder gets in touch, so they can give permission for us to speak to the non-account holder, or add them as a secondary account holder. 

 

A really important question this one, particularly for those who are looking to support a friend or relative when it comes to their energy account.

 

Our community volunteer has already covered the support we offer at OVO in depth:

 

 

I believe OVO does recognise a valid and registered Lasting Power of Attorney under Property & Financial. The Support Team would be able to help get it set up once the account has been created by the switching process being started. But there's other options too if that's not your thing. Here's one we made earlier! :)
 

 

I would probably recommend Secondary Contact Non Financially Liable if you don't want to be responsible for her bills while still having pretty good access to the account. But Secondary Contact Financially Liable is a potential option as well.

 

You might also want to set up Priority Services Register too. :)

 

Worth mentioning here that being a Secondary contact allows you to call us to discuss an account on someone’s behalf, but in order to make any changes (such as setting up a Direct Debit or new contract) you would need to be a financially liable contact (or have the main account holder’s permission during the call). 

 

There’s also a lot that can be now managed online or via our OVO app (available for Android or iOS)  if your mum was happy to grant you access once she’s switched over. we find this can really help those who might just want to keep an eye on things on someone’s behalf.

Userlevel 2

Jess_OVO, thanks you for the detailed and helpful reply. As you say, Blastoise186  has given me a lot of useful advise but it is so good to get your info as well. I am already with OVO myself and was planning to get my Mum’s account switched.

regards

PhilipJ

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Well in that case, there’s even better news for you as well.

If your mum does consent to allow you to manage her online account and you use the same email address for her account as you do for your own one when you initiate the switch, then this unlocks some additional and really clever magic tricks. MyOVO has full support for multiple accounts on the same email address and doing so activates the account switcher feature, so that you only have to remember one set of login details. It even works on the app too!

It’s a feature I’d love to be able to play with myself, but I only have one account and therefore can’t use it. No doubt that it will make your life a bit easier though. If you later switch one of the accounts away from OVO but still have the other active, the closed account will simply be removed from your list while the other remains accessible.

I am trying to submit meter readings for my dad who is housebound and has had a stroke. He was moved to Ovo when SSE was sold to them. He was put on the priority register by SSE and they sent someone to read his meter as a result but Ovo haven't sent anyone.

Like many 85 year olds he has never had an email address or used the internet even before stroke meant it was impossible. My sister tried to set up an online account for him (with us doing it on his behalf with his consent) but found it impossible as details given "didn't match" their records. I presume this is because they ask for date of birth which he has never given SSE or Ovo (from speaking to other frustrated people who had same problem)

My sister sent his meter readings 3 times by email and we received replies saying readings gone on and thankyou.  Now when she submits another from the exact same email with double checked correct account number and street address she is told they can't take the reading as it is not from the email associated with his account. This makes no sense. He has never had an email address in his life and only my sisters same email address has ever been used to submit the readings - which were accepted without trouble 3 times.

He finds communication on the phone too difficult because of stroke.

Just have no idea how to submit a reading for him.

I repeat it has been impossible to set up an online account / app for him and he could not manage it so that is NOT a solution for him. He can't ask for a meter reader to come to the house (which he is suppose to have anyway) without logging on to the account he can't set up online.  Its just round and circles.

With SSE all you had to do was reply to a text message to send a reading!!!!!

Userlevel 7

I’m so sorry to hear of the difficulty you’ve had when trying to submit meter readings on behalf of your dad now his account has joined us, @FedUp.

 

Sounds like you and your sister have already followed the usual process to get an online account set-up, so I’m sorry to hear that hasn’t been possible. If there were any details missing or incorrect on your dad’s previous account we may not be able to activate the account online but our Support Team should be able to help get this sorted via webchat or over the phone - find a link to these contact channels here.

 

Have you thought about being added as a secondary contact added to the account so you can more easily submit meter readings and discuss things with us in future? We’ve got more advice on this process on this related thread.

 

I hope this information helps get things sorted. 

My friend - the account holder - is very ill and her mental health is depreciating. She has asked me to act on her behalf on a significant Billing case with OVO that is long outstanding but she doesn’t have the mental capacity to deal with this so she has asked me to liaise with OVO.

My issue is that I can’t seem to get anybody at OVO to take ownership of this issue which is disappointing. I’ve been passed around a bit and the data I’ve been given is somewhat ambiguous. 

How do I escalate this in OVO? We are not dealing with a standard issue for a standard customer here, it’s all rather frustrating and sadly what I’ve come to expect these days from most service providers. I’m not having a go by the way, I’m just saying it how it is. 

Thank you.

Bruce

  

Userlevel 7

Hey @BrucePhillips,

 

Really sorry for the issues you’re having,

 

In order to discuss billing you’d need to be added as a financially liable contact, in order to do so you’ll need to contact Support on 0330 303 5063 with your friend.

 

Or, if you have power of attorney you can send across the documents via Web Chat or WhatsApp. If you explain more about the issue, we can provide general advice here on the OVO Forum. But we don’t have access to customer accounts.

 

Hope this helps. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @BrucePhillips

As well as the good advice from @Emmanuelle_OVO ,you may find that a formal complaint needs to be raised

https://www.ovoenergy.com/feedback

There is a dedicated complaints team. 

If after 8 weeks or a deadlock letter, the Energy Ombudsman can then be contacted who would liaise with OVO and the customer to resolve the issues. 

I also suggest your friend signs up for the priority service register

https://www.ovoenergy.com/register-for-priority-services

https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/priority-services-register

 

Thank you Emanuelle and Jeffus I really appreciate your informative responses.

My friend is now on the priority register and I’m now on the liability contact list.

Let’s hope the home meter check on the 16th derives the right outcomes.

Bruce

Userlevel 7
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Thank you Emanuelle and Jeffus I really appreciate your informative responses.

My friend is now on the priority register and I’m now on the liability contact list.

Let’s hope the home meter check on the 16th derives the right outcomes.

Bruce

You are more than welcome to post details of the issues, obviously without personal information. There are a pool of very experienced OVO customers on the forum who can sometimes help offer advise or sign post information.

Hope it all works out. 

My partner called to change the name on our PAYG account and all the credit - over £140 - was wiped out!! Where has it gone and how do I get it reinstated. 

Userlevel 7
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We can’t check from here as we’re forum volunteers. Please try calling 0330 175 9669 or Live Chat to https://help.ovoenergy.com .

One possibility is that you closed the existing account and opened a new one, in which case all existing credit will be refunded by cheque iirc.

Userlevel 6

Hey @Arthurscott 

 

Did you manage to get this matter sorted?

Not yet as I’m bracing myself for the length of time it takes to get through to a real person. As the answer stated I did call and do a name change. I believe if we can both be present when I call back we can add my name to the account in order to get the credit back. Failing that a cheque will be mailed. What does iirc mean? It’s the last word in the first reply.  Thank you.

Userlevel 7
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iirc means ‘if I recall correctly’ !! I also had to look it up 😄

Userlevel 6

Hi @Arthurscott 

 

Yes, if you call when together they can get this done no problem, if you’ve not called already.

 

Worth mentioning here that being a secondary contact allows you to call us to discuss an account on someone’s behalf, but in order to make any changes (such as setting up a Direct Debit or new contract) you would need to be a financially liable contact (or have the main account holder’s permission during the call). 

 

Hopefully the Support Team have been able/will be able to get the issue regarding the credit resolved for you too.

So far it’s taken 12 months for an ongoing issue that still unresolved for one of OVO’s vulnerable customers. My mother was taken seriously ill 12 months ago, and since I‘ve become her primary carer.

At this time, when she had her faculties, we contacted OVO and I was authorised on the account to speak on her behalf. I’ve made several calls to them since to try and resolve an issue with the smart meter screen not registering. With medical equipment and such in constant use it’ll be nice to monitor how much the next bill will be and current usage etc. since OVO took over, the smart screen has stopped working.    

Today, I chased this up with OVO (FYI I’m calling every 8 weeks) and this is the final straw. I’ve been told I’m not authorised to speak on behalf of my mother despite calling several time in the past with no issue. 

why do OVO treat their vulnerable customers with such contempt?

Where has my name disappeared to? I never has issues before speaking with someone.

Why does it take a YEAR to have an ongoing issue still in it’s unresolved state?

 

I’ve given up on OVO , just as the same it don’t *edited by moderator* for my mother.

 

Userlevel 6

Hey @MackUK 

 

Sorry to hear about this.

 

Do you now have Power of Attorney? This can be added onto the account by the team and you can speak on behalf of your mum freely, you can send over the required documents to this email address: customerservice.admin.team@ovoenergy.com.

 

I’ve linked to a similar thread that may also be helpful:

 

I’m also going to have the Forum Support reach out to you to see if they can help further with this, look out for a Private Message here soon: https://forum.ovoenergy.com/inbox/overview ​​​​​​

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