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Difficulty getting account set up after my house move - Is my account with SSE or OVO?

  • 4 January 2022
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I have recently moved into a new home.   The existing energy supplier was SSE.  We moved into the property on 10th Dec 2021.  I contacted SSE to transfer the account to my name so that I could get continuity of energy supply.  When I first contacted SSE they said the account had been transferred to OVO energy and that I should contact OVO energy.  I have spent around six hours hanging around on the telephone speaking to either OVO or SSE.  On a few occasions the line just went dead.  I assume that the person I was speaking to couldn't be bothered to pursue the issue.  I managed to get hold of the account number of the previous owner of the property and spoke to someone and gave him this account number.  He managed to find the account.  However, he said that he could do nothing because the previous account holder had not told OVO that he wished to close the account.  I spoke to the previous account holder and he said that he had told you that he had sold the property.   I finally spoke to someone at OVO complaints Dept who appeared to be very helpful.  We went through the process of setting up an account in my name.  He said he had set up an account.  The tariff is the Standard Variable Tariff.  I gave him the meter readings I took when I moved into the property.  I also gave him my bank details he said it could take up to 6 weeks for the DD to become active. Meeting readings would need to be submitted by the 29th of the Month.  I thought that the account had been set up. 

 

Today I received an Email from OVO to say that there had been a technical issue setting up the account and I should phone OVO on 0330 303 5063.  I telephoned the number and the person I spoke to said that she could find no record of my account discussions.  The Email came from Hello@ovoenergy  it was not signed.  Anyone know how I can to get to speak to someone on how to resolve this.

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 5 January 2022, 15:54

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Hey @Galton ! Welcome to the OVO Forum. I’m Blastoise186, a forum volunteer who helps out on here.

I’m really sorry to hear of the trouble you’ve had - this is definitely not how it should have been. As a forum volunteer, I’m unable to resolve this myself as I can’t access the system, but I can give you some advice that will (hopefully) help you get things back on track.

This sounds like a pretty tricky account-specific issue, so I’m not sure how much advice I can give you, but I’ll offer what I can.

The first thing I’d like to say, is thanks for explaining all these details. It really helps us out to understand the story so far and provides context. You have no idea how helpful that is.

When it comes to SSE, I’m afraid that once an account is migrated from SSE to OVO, there’s no going back, not least because it would inevitably just end up being migrated to OVO again automatically anyway (which would cause an infinite loop). While the account belonging to the previous member must be closed down first - and will need to remain closed permanently after that - I think the same rule technically still applies to new accounts created after a migration at the same address. I’ll ask @Tim_OVO to double check that next time I catch up with him.

The reason that the old account has to be closed first, is partially because of the way energy accounts often work on Pay Monthly - especially because there tends to be credit agreements involved as part of the service. The last thing you want to do is to accidentally create a Financial Link within Experian between yourself and a former customer, because that can create a whole rabbit warren that you really don’t want to get into. It is of course possible to sever a Financial Link with the Credit Reference Agencies, but you have to fully disassociate all related accounts first and then approach all of the CRAs individually to run through their processes. It’s a painful process to go through unless you know how it all works.

By having the old account closed down when the previous member moved out and opening a new one when you move in, this makes sure there’s no connection between the two accounts and starts things fresh. It also helps to ensure you’re not chased over someone else’s debts by mistake.

As for solving your puzzle… Hmm… This is definitely a tricky one… I’ve actually spent the last hour reading through your question multiple times and thinking it through, I think it’s the first time in a very long time we’ve seen anyone ask something like this here - and it’s definitely a new one on me. It’s also possible that the dropped calls were unintentional, so I’m really sorry to hear that you got caught by them. OVO deployed a new phone system a few months ago and some of the agents are still learning the ropes with it. This should hopefully improve over time but I can assure you that the Support Team will always try to call you back if the call drops out like that.

The best advice I can think of right now, would be to call OVO in the morning and ask to be put through to the complaints team again, referencing the fact you had an existing complaint open. If you can remember who handled it, that might help the Support Team locate the details as well.

The problem here is probably partially down to the previous account holder not closing the existing account properly and this may have confused the system somewhat, which might have caused your issues in getting set up. Without the ability to access the systems myself, I can’t say for sure though and I’m only able to make a rough guess at best.

It might also be helpful for the previous account holder to contact OVO and make sure his/her account is definitely either fully closed, or in the process of closing down (such as preparing to generate a Final Bill). Pretty much any stage of that account closing should unlock the supply for you to assume control with a new account in your name.

Tim and Jess should be back in the morning and they might have some more advice for you. I’m also watching this thread so if you reply, I’ll be notified.

Thank you for your reply.  It reiterates the issues but does not address the problem.   The end result is that OVO have agreed to be my supplier, including which payment plan I am on, their Standard Variable Rate.  They have sent me an Email to say they, that is they, are having a technical problem.   They need to solve THEIR technical problem and issue the account documentation.   I do not see why I need to discuss their technical issues.  If they need further information they should contact me and request it.  Telephoning serves no purpose as those to whom I speak deny all knowledge.    More cynical acquaintance has said that power companies are prevaricating concerning new accounts on the Standard Variable Tariff which in this case they are legally bound to offer.   I will not accept this and have every confidence that they will solve their problem and issue the account details which they have agreed to.  What I want is the telephone number of a manager with the authority to resolve this issue.  I thank you once again for your help.

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I’m so sorry to hear of the difficulty you’ve had in trying to set-up an OVO account following your house move, @Galton - particularly now you’ve received an email advising you of a further technical issue requiring you to give the team another call.

 

Just to clarify a few of the points raised by @Blastoise186 - this isn’t what we’d expect during the usual ‘Change of Tenancy’ process, ordinarily you should be able to open an account regardless of whether the previous occupier has let us know they’ve moved out, so I’m wondering whether the recent transfer of this account from SSE has disrupted things. Unfortunately without access to your account here we’re not able to determine exactly what might be behind these issues but want to reassure you that if you’ve moved in to a house that we supply you’d certainly be eligible to set-up an account on our variable tariff (known as the Simpler Energy plan).

 

I appreciate that you’ve already spent some time on the phone trying to get things sorted, however we’re not able to offer a contact channel directly to a manager. The best next step would be to give the Support Team a call - if the team aren’t able to get things sorted at the first point of contact I’d suggest you raise this as a formal complaint which can be escalated to a manager or dedicated complaints agent if needed. It’s worth mentioning that all calls made to OVO are recorded so we can locate these recordings (based on the phone number you used to call in) to investigate any short-falls in service if required.

 

Once again, I’m really sorry it’s not been a smooth journey getting things up and running and hope the team can put things right quickly for you.  

Thank you blastoise186 for your reply.   I have written to the head of customers services of both OVO and SSE asking them to intervene and resolve this situation.   As far as I can gather only the gas account was transferred to OVO for some reason SSE objected to the electricity account being transferred.  I got an email from someone called Leanne at OVO which said that "Your account will be registered with SSE and I have raised a case with them to get your account set up. You can use case number ******* as reference".  I'm assuming that this means  both gas and electricity accounts will be with SSE. I have yet to hear further from either OVO or SSE.  It would be helpful if all energy companies gave callers with unique problems a single named point of contact.  Using contact numbers just starts the whole process afresh : there is no continuity.

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No worries.

It sounds like OVO and SSE are attempting to get this all sorted out for you. I don’t know which side your account(s) will be on yet, so you’d have to wait and see. However, one thing I can say is this. No matter which side your accounts are initially set up on, you’ll eventually be on OVO anyway due to the SSE to OVO Migration that’s currently in progress. I don’t know when your account would migrate if it needs to, but you’ll definitely be kept informed if that happens.

I think you’ll find however, that OVO has been testing out a new way of customer service that’s a bit like what you describe… But a lot more powerful… That’s all I’m able to say right now as Tim and Jess have asked me to avoid leaking too many spoilers.

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