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

  • 2 September 2021
  • 8 replies
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Userlevel 1

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 1

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 1

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
Badge +4

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
Badge +4

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

A really important question this one, @PhilipJ451 - 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.

 

Interesting to hear that the account is currently with SSE. As @Blastoise186 has advised this means it will eventually be transferred to OVO Energy, however as we’re doing this gradually we can’t request an immediate transfer. If your mum is happy to stay with SSE in the meantime, we’ll get in touch a few weeks before her account is scheduled to be migrated - there’s some more great info on this process on our FAQs

 

 

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.

 

 

If you do decide to go for this option you can check out our current plans and request the switch here - as soon as your mum receives her Welcome email or letter (which can take up to 5 days) you can then add any secondary contacts and apply for the Priority Services Register .

 

Hope this helps decide the best option going forward - let us know if you’ve get any more questions. Also thought it might be worth leaving SSE contact details here, just in case you wanted to check what support they offer in the meantime. :slight_smile:

 

Userlevel 1

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 +4

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.

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