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Why has my debt increased suddenly with my latest statement?

  • 22 May 2018
  • 8 replies
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Hello, first time using this forum. Long term Ovo customer. I really need some help. My bills are HUGE. Details : 3 bed end terrace. Single parent, one little one, one adult child, both at school/college every day. I am a carer for my son who has ASD therefore am at home a lot. However, everything switched off during day, no TV/radio. One dishwasher load a day (short 40 min wash), quite a bit of washing machine usage (at least 5 loads a week), tumble dryer has broken so not using that. Heating not on at all at the moment and as little/low as possible during winter. One electric shower, used twice a day. I am paying the equivalent of half my mortgage payment, £152 per month. Last month I was in debit by £90, despite a large reduction in usage due to better weather, I am now in debit by £256 (!?). My actual "statement" last month was £139. The figures vary SO wildly. I am not sure what tariff I am on and I am pretty sure I didn't receive the winter reduction either. My projected usage for the next year is nearly £2K!! How is that even possible given details above? I seem to paying more than twice all my neighbours, some with bigger families, some with the TV on all day etc. I simply can't understand it. It's as if I am paying somebody else's bill alongside mine. I have also been warned my direct debit will be increasing and I simply can't afford it. I have done *everything* I can to keep our usage as low as possible but it just gets higher and higher. Can anybody help me or advise? It just seems so utterly wrong. Thank you!
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Best answer by Transparent 22 May 2018, 17:05

Hello @MrsC,

Firstly, thank you being brave enough to open up this problem on the open Forum. The amount of detail you give is really useful. Let's see what help we can now offer:

1. I don't know what area of the country you are in, but please tell us on your Forum Profile because some help is regionally based.

In my area of West Devon, I'd be able to arrange a trained Energy Advisor to visit you at home free of charge within the week. They would sit and listen to the issues, conduct a survey, and take some measurements in a visit lasting about 2 hours.

You'd receive a written report which can be used to open doors for energy-related upgrades & fixtures.

Once I know where you are, I'll try to discover if there is a similar/related scheme in your area.


2. The fact that you have a son with ASD means that you can register with OVO to go on the Priority Services Register. There are a number of benefits, including extra help for those with any sort of impairment, and the ability for you to nominate friends/family/neighbours to communicate with OVO on your behalf.

One of our local Energy Advisors has just completed a registration with OVO so that she can talk with them on behalf of their customer.

PSR is a requirement for all UK Energy Suppliers, not just OVO. It operates within guidelines that are audited by Ofgem, the Industry Regulator.

Energy Companies may not remove a supply to a household which is on their PSR, even if you are in arrears. So that takes a whole heap of worry off your mind at the outset!


3. I think it's likely that you are in Energy Poverty. There are various ways to describe this, but it basically boils down to spending more than 10% of your household income on domestic energy (gas, electric, LPG, oil etc). Since you know your monthly income, quickly calculate this.

You may need to get help from Citizens Advice, local Borough/District Council or your MP, for example. Starting the conversation with "I'm in Energy Poverty" will set the scene and direct them straight towards solutions which will help you.


4. Consider contacting a Debt Relief Charity, such as CAP. They have over a decade of experience and some hearty commendations from No.10 Downing Street!

If they have an office/branch in your area, you will get a home-visit from a Mentor who will start to compile a list of your income and outgoings. They can identify how serious the problem is, and offer to take some/all of your bills and renegotiate them with the Banks and Suppliers.

CAP also has a number of practical "helps" they can offer. You are free to decide what extent of assistance you take from them.


5. What type of heating does your house have?
Electricity?... and storage radiators?
Gas boiler with radiators?

6. What can you tell us about your roof/attic insulation?
Does the house have cavity walls? and do you know if they have been filled with insulation?


I have several other questions but I don't want to overwhelm you. Let's give you a chance to reply to the above points first.

If you don't feel happy giving details on the Open Forum, you can always click on my name highlighted at the top of this posting, and you'll see my Profile. Click on the green Send Message button and you can send me information Privately. You still have anonymity and security, and any of the six Forum Moderators can see a PM Dialogue if you ask them to.
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Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hello @MrsC,

Firstly, thank you being brave enough to open up this problem on the open Forum. The amount of detail you give is really useful. Let's see what help we can now offer:

1. I don't know what area of the country you are in, but please tell us on your Forum Profile because some help is regionally based.

In my area of West Devon, I'd be able to arrange a trained Energy Advisor to visit you at home free of charge within the week. They would sit and listen to the issues, conduct a survey, and take some measurements in a visit lasting about 2 hours.

You'd receive a written report which can be used to open doors for energy-related upgrades & fixtures.

Once I know where you are, I'll try to discover if there is a similar/related scheme in your area.


2. The fact that you have a son with ASD means that you can register with OVO to go on the Priority Services Register. There are a number of benefits, including extra help for those with any sort of impairment, and the ability for you to nominate friends/family/neighbours to communicate with OVO on your behalf.

One of our local Energy Advisors has just completed a registration with OVO so that she can talk with them on behalf of their customer.

PSR is a requirement for all UK Energy Suppliers, not just OVO. It operates within guidelines that are audited by Ofgem, the Industry Regulator.

Energy Companies may not remove a supply to a household which is on their PSR, even if you are in arrears. So that takes a whole heap of worry off your mind at the outset!


3. I think it's likely that you are in Energy Poverty. There are various ways to describe this, but it basically boils down to spending more than 10% of your household income on domestic energy (gas, electric, LPG, oil etc). Since you know your monthly income, quickly calculate this.

You may need to get help from Citizens Advice, local Borough/District Council or your MP, for example. Starting the conversation with "I'm in Energy Poverty" will set the scene and direct them straight towards solutions which will help you.


4. Consider contacting a Debt Relief Charity, such as CAP. They have over a decade of experience and some hearty commendations from No.10 Downing Street!

If they have an office/branch in your area, you will get a home-visit from a Mentor who will start to compile a list of your income and outgoings. They can identify how serious the problem is, and offer to take some/all of your bills and renegotiate them with the Banks and Suppliers.

CAP also has a number of practical "helps" they can offer. You are free to decide what extent of assistance you take from them.


5. What type of heating does your house have?
Electricity?... and storage radiators?
Gas boiler with radiators?

6. What can you tell us about your roof/attic insulation?
Does the house have cavity walls? and do you know if they have been filled with insulation?


I have several other questions but I don't want to overwhelm you. Let's give you a chance to reply to the above points first.

If you don't feel happy giving details on the Open Forum, you can always click on my name highlighted at the top of this posting, and you'll see my Profile. Click on the green Send Message button and you can send me information Privately. You still have anonymity and security, and any of the six Forum Moderators can see a PM Dialogue if you ask them to.
Thank you so much for your response. Firstly, I will private message my location and would be pleased to see an advisor if that service is available to me. I wasn't aware of the priority services register and will look into this. Whilst I don't need any help in terms of communication myself, it is useful to know there is a level of protection. I would agree that I spend around 10% of my income on energy, however, my situation has largely been brought on by divorce and foregoing my career following my son's diagnosis which has obviously left me in a difficult financial situation. It really is only my inability to fathom what on earth on going on with the charges, the huge fluctuations and why on earth I would be looking at a projected cost of £2K a year when the national average is just over £1K. Further, why I didn't receive the warm home discount (as I have previously) and why my debit balance has increased by £166 in one month when the actual energy usage was, according to Ovo, £136. In terms of the property, it is spread over 3 floors, the upper being a loft conversion with excellent insulation. The house is around 20 years old with cavity walls, I am unsure of the insulation in that respect but no work has been carried out on it in the time I have lived here. We have double glazing. The radiators have been turned off since March. The boiler is around 10 years old I believe, last serviced around 18 months ago. I have turned it down as much as I can. Finally, searches on comparison sites suggest I am paying too much but I can't work out how accurate that is because it is so difficult to be clear on usage. I have put all of this information here as it may be useful to others in similar situations. I note you say there are further questions, which I will answer as best as I can.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Thank you @MrsC,

For the benefit of others who may come across this Topic at a later date, I confirm that I'm now using the Private Messaging feature of the OVO Forum so we can discuss matters confidentially.

If others believe they are spending 10% or more of their household income on energy (see my Point 3 above), then please post here on this Topic.

The background detail provided by @MrsC is very useful. Within our PM conversation we will be heading in the direction of her meter-readings and working out whether the OVO bills are accurate. But we're a little way off that yet.

The first place I look, when I see a Post like this, is at your USER PROFILE for this Forum. Would all Users please fill this out with the basic background details like which Tariff you are on and when it started.

You don't need to give an accurate address (I haven't). But Energy costs change according to your location. So even if you put something as vague as "Deepest Darkest Mid-Wales" it's still helpful in answering your questions.

[Note to Moderators/ @Lucy_OVO ] Can we please add Tags here for
Energy Poverty
Billing
Meter Reading
Debt
Statement
Money

My Ninja Tagging button still isn't working!!
Userlevel 7

Hi @MrsC and thanks for posting. I've moved the topic and tweaked the title a bit.

 @Transparent has done a Ninja-esq job as usual. Your usage costs are difficult to pinpoint from a computer screen, but there's free, impartial advice on how to get theses costs down here: https://www.cse.org.uk/

As for why your charges (and debt) have risen sharply the last few months, it's likely down to meter readings being submitted for the first time in a while. So the charges have caught up. We'll need our Care team to check though. Send a message to us on Facebook, Twitter or email We’re on FacebookTwitter and our Help Centre has online chat, and we’ll get this checked.

Tim

Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Thanks @Tim_OVO,

Just to clarify the link Tim gave to the Centre for Sustainable Energy, you need to go to the Advice Tab and then look along the list of yellow Topic Headings at the top of the page.
Hello,
*Edited by moderator*

I'm the owner of the propertie
*Edited by moderator*

Ovo was the supplier when I get the house.
Since then I change supplier and I want to pay my balance.
Actually my balance is 1150.32£
I'm sure there is a mistake, because nobody is living in the propertie yet. It's going under major repair.
I called you on the 5th of February 2019 to give my meter reading. And I still receive bills of 1150.32 £. I was suppose to get an email but nothing.

How is it possible ?
Can you help me please solve this problem.

Best Regards,
Userlevel 7

I called you on the 5th of February 2019 to give my meter reading. And I still receive bills of 1150.32 £. I was suppose to get an email but nothing.

How is it possible ?


Thanks for posting @pfayon

I've hidden some of your post as it had personnel info in it.

If the readings used at the end of your time at OVO are correct (check by looking at the bill in MyOVO), then it must be the readings we've used to open your account to when to took over the property.

Did you give us readings when you moved in? If so, make sure these were used in your first bill!

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