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  • FIRST POST
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 21st Apr 17, 5:18 PM
    • 122Posts
    • 101Thanks
    fewkeste
    Add your feedback on energy supplier Powershop
    • #1
    • 21st Apr 17, 5:18 PM
    Add your feedback on energy supplier Powershop 21st Apr 17 at 5:18 PM
    I'm just in the process of switching from Robin Hood Energy to Powershop and would like to receive feedback and comments about this new supplier. Apparently they are well established in Australia and New Zealand and are operating in the UK under the Npower licence at present.
Page 6
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 14th Jul 17, 3:42 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    @Powershop Hornet's nest
    Behave now! That's not exactly rewarding our transparency. On a serious note, previous customers addresses and emails are stored as long as is legally allowable, and you'll be flagged in our system if we suspect that you're taking advantage.

    - Powershop Pricing Team
    Originally posted by Powershop UK
    Wow! this comment seems to have stirred a Hornet's nest.

    I must admit, I did expect to be able to buy my power via Powerpacks and make savings in the 20-22% range straight away. When I joined you I was not aware that the 20-22% figure would be an annual average and be much lower in summer (and I presume) much higher in the winter.

    Perhaps to avoid the 'Winter Joiners, Spring Leavers and Winter re-joiners' theoretical scenario I described, you might consider leveling the discount all year round at 20-22%

    After all, by creating a seasonal 'discount differential' you are effectively sowing the seeds of this potential behaviour yourselves.

    If your Powerpack/Future Pack discount was more level throughout the year, the Join, Leave, Join potential would be eliminated/reduced and you would have less new customers thinking they are not getting what they thought they signed up to.

    Certainly when I did my price comparison on the Which? website it was the 22% discounted tariff I was shown that persuaded me to sign up - I was not aware I would need to experience a whole year cycle of lower discount (then presumably higher discount in winter) to achieve the overall quoted figure. I suspect many other new customers will feel the same.

    I'm quite relaxed about this now I know how the model works and intend to stay. Powershop have been more than fair to me - compensating me for losses caused by a delayed switch that was not of Powershop's doing. Therefore PS has scored a lot of Kudos with me, but other new customers who do not straight away achieve the 20-22% saving they were expecting, might be less understanding and sympathetic to you.

    I think your model and way of doing things is very interesting and deserves a chance. It won't be for everyone but those customers who wish to engage re. their energy consumption and potential savings might take a rather more jaundiced view of PS when they don't immediately achieve the savings they expected to make.

    How serious a problem this turns out to be I could not guess but it seems a shame to potentially scupper an innovative way of buying and budgeting power, simply because there is a differential in the discounts you offer at different times of the year. That aspect may not be entirely clear to new and potential customers and it might be construed as an oversight but less charitable eyes may call it something else

    It may well be in the Ts & Cs somewhere but we all know most people don't read loads of Ts & Cs these days.
    • mjtko
    • By mjtko 14th Jul 17, 6:48 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    mjtko
    (2) "Current month" special delivery versus future packs needs to be clearer. Customers should not feel like they MUST buy future packs to hit our best rate. This makes the experience feel like work, which is not at all our intention. Future packs are supposed to deliver an additional experience of value - self managed monthly debits if you like.
    Originally posted by Powershop UK
    I can still foresee a scenario where those customers who are spending less than £50 per month (i.e. the maximum value you can buy with future packs) can lose out.

    For the sake of this argument, let's assume that the algorithm suggests that the special pack I am offered for a particular month is not sufficient to cover my usage. This means I will have a short fall and will need to purchase some standard power (for the sake of simplicity I'm ignoring the very-slightly-discounted 'mammoth bundle').

    Conversely, if the algorithm suggests that the special pack I am offered for a particular month turns out to have overestimated my usage, I'm quids in.

    How is this scenario resolved?

    Now consider: I buy £50 of Future Packs for every month, safe in the knowledge that I'm going way over what my usage will be. How are they allocated? 100% spent of the most discounted packs, sliding all the way down to a full refund for the most expensive packs?

    Hypothesis One
    Seems that the above (and the current plans to heavily discount future packs over winter) would imply that a good approach would be:

    During summer: just buy specials. These guarantee I derive the best value available at any time of year and are offered to subsidise the usage to the maximum discount during these months.
    In preparation for winter: buy all the future packs that are discounted at >= 22% (from the current available packs, this looks like Oct-Nov, and I'm going to assume that Nov-Dec, Dec-Jan and Jan-Feb will offer even deeper discounts.
    Over winter: During these 4 months of winter, also snag any even deeper discounted specials.

    Net result: summer is as discounted as possible via specials. Winter is heavily discounted via specials and the future packs. The surplus future pack value will feed into the following spring and/or be refunded at the end of the billing year.

    Hypothesis Two
    During summer and winter: just buy specials. Ignore future packs entirely.

    Net result: Hope that the specials packs offered cover my usage over the year and provide the full ~22% discount.

    Which of the above is the most reliable/valuable approach is impossible to know. The value derived in "Hypothesis One" is based on the assumption of how packs are prioritised for consumption and what the refund policy is. The ultimate yield in "Hypothesis Two" is based on an opaque algorithm that may or may not get things correct.

    TL;DR: I am still confused about the best approach or what the likely outcome of the two scenarios above is. In the end, I'm in a position where I have insufficient data to determine what my power costs are going to be over the course of a year. The only things I can say for sure are:

    1. my power costs certainly won't be lower than the Easy Saver rate
    2. my power costs certainly won't be higher than the Easy Saver Promise

    Other than that, they could fall anywhere within this range. Some customers may do better, and some may do worse. But it doesn't seem that those who put in more effort are rewarded for it necessarily, as a lot of this is based purely on guesswork.
    • MothballsWallet
    • By MothballsWallet 14th Jul 17, 7:19 PM
    • 11,435 Posts
    • 15,025 Thanks
    MothballsWallet
    Seriously?

    The changing face of energy supply.

    What was the conclusion from your external legal advice regarding a customer who is flagged in the system as taking advantage / money savers? What happens to someone flagged in your system as 'taking advantage'? Are you saying your recourse will be to refuse to supply energy to a customer / money saver, this being the case?

    Else it's an empty statement.

    Watch out, here comes a money saver, money saver alert......
    Originally posted by fredandwilma
    I get the feeling that their "external legal advice" comes from a legal practice in NZ and not in the UK - it's a different world out there you know?
    Always ask yourself one question: What would Gibbs do?
    Married to an immigrant.
    Even my PC is nicknamed "GIBBS".
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 15th Jul 17, 9:29 AM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    Certainly when I did my price comparison on the Which? website it was the 22% discounted tariff I was shown that persuaded me to sign up - I was not aware I would need to experience a whole year cycle of lower discount (then presumably higher discount in winter) to achieve the overall quoted figure. I suspect many other new customers will feel the same.
    Originally posted by fewkeste

    There is no such tariff despite what PCWs would have you believe. Powershop only offers one standard variable tariff for the energy that it supplies you with; this tariff rate is used for all billing purposes.

    Note the following:

    Quote: Easy saver promise: is the price quoted and you will pay for your first year, or the equivalent price if your usage is higher or lower from what you entered for your quote.
    Unquote

    Easy Saver Promise is a promotion (have a look at your Welcome Letter) underwritten by the terms and conditions so it is a guaranteed total first year cost.

    Quote: Easy saver (displayed in the quote as "Shop for Powerpack offers"): is the price quoted showing how you can beat our Easy Saver Promise price by buying bundles of electricity called Powerpacks to cover your usage before the end of you're monthly billing cycle. Unquote

    Note the loose wording. No certainty of achieving this is given and there is no reference to Easy Saver in the terms and conditions or Welcome Letter. For the avoidance of doubt, this is what the terms and conditions state about powerpacks:

    Quote Powerpacks, Benefits, Discounts and/or Bundles

    a We will from time to time offer discounted Powerpacks in our online shop. You can purchase these by logging in online and purchasing them, or via our mobile app. Powerpacks may have conditions attached to them which determine their validity (for example, they may only cover electricity supplied after a future date). Powerpacks may have additional conditions attached to them (for example, vouchers which must be redeemed by a particular date). You must comply with any additional conditions attached to the Powerpacks that we tell you about when you buy them. The discounts available through our Powerpacks reflect when customers need them the most, so proportionately more discounts are available in winter than in summer.

    b If, before you have used any Powerpacks, the supplier of part of the Powerpack – for example a voucher- ceases to sell through Powershop (for example due to receivership or liquidation), or we suspend its ability to sell through Powershop, we may cancel those Powerpacks and credit you their original purchase price. We will tell you if we do this.

    If we offer discounts and/or bundles that are not Powerpacks, for example, a bundled discount (where another product or service is provided as part of the gas or electricity agreement) we will specify the conditions relating to that discount and/or bundle in the additional terms and conditions which will be part of your welcome pack. Unquote

    I switched to Powershop with my eyes open as the Easy Saver Promise is equivalent to a very competitive fixed deal. I also accept that there is a high mathematical possibility of getting a lower annual cost by buying powerpacks; however, I know that if I do not reach the projected savings associated with the Easy Saver offer, then I have no legal redress against the supplier.

    A bigger concern to me at the moment is the protection of my credit balance. PS Energy Limited is not a licensed energy supplier; it is a wholly owned limited subsidiary of NPower.

    Quote: PS Energy UK Limited, company number 09850654. Registered office: Windmill Hill, Business Park, Whitehall Way, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 6PB, registered in England & Wales. Powershop is a trading name of PS Energy UK Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Npower Limited (company number 03653277). Unquote

    Under English Law:

    A parent entity (domestic or foreign) of a limited company cannot be held liable for the debts of that subsidiary upon its insolvency unless it has contractually agreed to accept such liability.

    It may be that the contract is written in such a way that there is consumer credit balance protection. To give me the reassurance that I am seeking, I have asked Ofgem for confirmation that it is content that appropriate consumer protection is in place. For its part, Powershop has said that full protection is in place should NPower wind up its subsidiary and that it is looking to update its literature.

    Finally, I am not for a moment suggesting that there is anything Machiavellian going on here. Powershop's offer is a unique product in a market based on fixed and standard variable rate tariffs. That said, in my view, to portray Easy Saver and Easy Saver Promise as tariffs on PCWs is confusing to potential switchers. Even Powershop's own website states that they are only effective prices.
    Last edited by Hengus; 15-07-2017 at 9:37 AM. Reason: Typo
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 15th Jul 17, 1:10 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    What Which? indicated
    There is no such tariff despite what PCWs would have you believe. Powershop only offers one standard variable tariff for the energy that it supplies you with; this tariff rate is used for all billing purposes.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    The Which? comparison site showed me the standard tariff I would pay (Std 15.026p, E7 8.442p, daily SC 15.761p) and then said something like I could achieve these rates (Std 11.739p, E7 6.594p) if I bought all available Powerpacks.

    Incidentally,there was no mention of any reduction to the SC implying it would stay the same - incorrect. I now know the SC also benefits from the discount via Powerpacks and Future Packs as they are applied to the whole bill.

    I put the standard and advertised achievable reduced rates into my prediction spreadsheet and, at standard tariff, my 8000kWh consumption (40% E7) worked out at £1048.92 (undiscounted) and at the advertised achievable reduced tariffs £819.40 - a 21.9% reduction.

    That is what I expect to achieve based on what Which? showed me in my quote.

    As per my previous post - I actually expected to achieve this from the outset but now I know how the discount profile changes (will change) throughout the year, as long as I achieve 21.9% reduction from the Standard Power tariff I'll be happy.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 15th Jul 17, 1:18 PM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    The Which? comparison site showed me the standard tariff I would pay (Std 15.026p, E7 8.442p, daily SC 15.761p) and then said something like I could achieve these rates (Std 11.739p, E7 6.594p) if I bought all available Powerpacks.

    Incidentally,there was no mention of any reduction to the SC implying it would stay the same - incorrect. I now know the SC also benefits from the discount via Powerpacks and Future Packs as they are applied to the whole bill.

    I put the standard and advertised achievable reduced rates into my prediction spreadsheet and, at standard tariff, my 8000kWh consumption (40% E7) worked out at £1048.92 (undiscounted) and at the advertised achievable reduced tariffs £819.40 - a 21.9% reduction.

    That is what I expect to achieve based on what Which? showed me in my quote.

    As per my previous post - I actually expected to achieve this from the outset but now I know how the discount profile changes (will change) throughout the year, as long as I achieve 21.9% reduction from the Standard Power tariff I'll be happy.
    Originally posted by fewkeste
    I am in danger of just repeating the same points for the sake of it. I suggest you look at the 3 tariffs on the WhichSwitch website, and your own contract with Powershop and determine for yourself whether the Easy Saver rate is guaranteed as would be the case with any other fixed or standard tariff (assuming no tariff charge or +/- on usage)
    Last edited by Hengus; 15-07-2017 at 1:59 PM. Reason: Add to info
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 15th Jul 17, 3:03 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    @Chris bay What months were these Future Packs?
    C: Future Packs
    These are all at a percentage discount as follows; 16.5%, 16.9%, 18.3%. Rule of thumb is that you always buy all discounted Powerpacks.
    Originally posted by Chris bay
    @Chris bay

    What months were these Future Packs associated with?

    Can you list for each month what % discount your Future Packs above were? - these % you cite don't match with anything I've seen.

    I'm trying to find out if the % discount offered for a Future Pack changes throughout its availability period or if it stays the same until it's no longer available.
    Last edited by fewkeste; 15-07-2017 at 3:09 PM.
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 15th Jul 17, 3:08 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    A tariff V a discount on a tariff
    I am in danger of just repeating the same points for the sake of it. I suggest you look at the 3 tariffs on the WhichSwitch website, and your own contract with Powershop and determine for yourself whether the Easy Saver rate is guaranteed as would be the case with any other fixed or standard tariff (assuming no tariff charge or +/- on usage)
    Originally posted by Hengus
    I do understand that my tariff is the Standard Power tariff and that what I'm quoting is merely a discount (albeit a claimed to be achievable discount) off the Standard tariff.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 15th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    I do understand that my tariff is the Standard Power tariff and that what I'm quoting is merely a discount (albeit a claimed to be achievable discount) off the Standard tariff.
    Originally posted by fewkeste
    We are on the same page. Claimed - yes, but no way is there contractual certainty. Conversely, Easy Saver Promise is a contract term.

    The ‘problem’ that Powershop has had is that it is trying to fit its Powerpack discounts/promise into PCWs that are based solely on tariffs with standing charges and unit prices. Understandly, it doesn’t want its one standard tariff to appear to be uncompetitive. The danger with this approach is that it can confuse potential switchers who never read the small print.
    Last edited by Hengus; 15-07-2017 at 4:17 PM. Reason: typo
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 15th Jul 17, 4:16 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    Ahem!
    The danger with this approach is that it can confuse potential switchers who never read the small print.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Myself included I'm afraid
    • neilsedaka
    • By neilsedaka 18th Jul 17, 1:35 PM
    • 284 Posts
    • 88 Thanks
    neilsedaka
    It appears that Powershop are no longer listed in the MSE Cheap Energy Club price comparisons. Does anyone know why that would be?
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 18th Jul 17, 2:10 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    I'll ask
    It appears that Powershop are no longer listed in the MSE Cheap Energy Club price comparisons. Does anyone know why that would be?
    Originally posted by neilsedaka
    I was in an email exchange with MSE about Powershop tariffs - I'll ask and post on here.

    (MSE Laura has already posted in response to my email so I won't post again after all.)
    Last edited by fewkeste; 18-07-2017 at 2:43 PM.
    • MSE Laura
    • By MSE Laura 18th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    MSE Laura
    It appears that Powershop are no longer listed in the MSE Cheap Energy Club price comparisons. Does anyone know why that would be?
    Originally posted by neilsedaka
    Hi neilsedaka,

    I've checked this from our end and it looks as though Powershop is still displayed on the Cheap Energy Club results page.

    You'd need to make sure you were just comparing electricity-only tariffs, as this supplier doesn't supply gas. It could also be that based on your usage, the tariff is more expensive than others and so appears further down the list of results.

    Hope this helps.
    MSE Laura
    • geoffW
    • By geoffW 18th Jul 17, 10:10 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 69 Thanks
    geoffW
    Hi neilsedaka,

    I've checked this from our end and it looks as though Powershop is still displayed on the Cheap Energy Club results page.

    You'd need to make sure you were just comparing electricity-only tariffs, as this supplier doesn't supply gas. It could also be that based on your usage, the tariff is more expensive than others and so appears further down the list of results.

    Hope this helps.
    MSE Laura
    Originally posted by MSE Laura
    I was going to give Powershop a try but unfortunately they have just had a huge price hike. A shame.
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 18th Jul 17, 11:21 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    Price increase - What price increase?
    I was going to give Powershop a try but unfortunately they have just had a huge price hike. A shame.
    Originally posted by geoffW
    Are you sure? Where did you find this out? I'm a customer & I'm not aware of a price rise.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jul 17, 8:18 AM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    I was going to give Powershop a try but unfortunately they have just had a huge price hike. A shame.
    Originally posted by geoffW
    I have just checked. Powershop's standard variable tariff hasn't changed. This tariff underpins what Powershop calls its Easy Saver and Easy Saver Promise tariffs.
    • geoffW
    • By geoffW 19th Jul 17, 5:12 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 69 Thanks
    geoffW
    Are you sure? Where did you find this out? I'm a customer & I'm not aware of a price rise.
    Originally posted by fewkeste
    I use the MSE Cheap Energy Club, they say I would now be paying an extra £97 pa, an increase of £74 from my quote of two weeks ago.
    However I have checked the Powershop website and the prices are the same as before, so maybe it's the way Cheap Energy Club have recalculated the prices, check it yourselves. They have the unit rate as 12.957 per Kwh which Powershop say is next years price promise (this is lower than the 13.503p Kwh they now promise).
    Complicated isn't it?
    • fewkeste
    • By fewkeste 19th Jul 17, 5:42 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fewkeste
    Change to the way MSE shows Powershop
    I use the MSE Cheap Energy Club, they say I would now be paying an extra £97 pa, an increase of £74 from my quote of two weeks ago.
    However I have checked the Powershop website and the prices are the same as before, so maybe it's the way Cheap Energy Club have recalculated the prices, check it yourselves. They have the unit rate as 12.957 per Kwh which Powershop say is next years price promise (this is lower than the 13.503p Kwh they now promise).
    Complicated isn't it?
    Originally posted by geoffW
    The rates you are shown depend where you are in the country, so I couldn't check your rates as my region (East Midlands) would be different. What MSE told me was they were unable/unwilling to show the best rate somebody COULD achieve (by buying all the discounted powerpacks) because it relied on customers taking additional action after they had joined.

    I then made the point that the whole purpose of the Powershop way of doing things was that you do buy discounted powerpacks and that only a crazy or wasteful person would sit on the standard tariff and do nothing. The specific reply I got was:

    'Thank your for your feedback on this. The energy market is changing and these different, more innovative, tariffs are emerging so we'll need to think about how we'll cater for these.

    We're continuing to look into this, but we've had guidance from our internal compliance team that it'd be wary of showing users a rate of a tariff where further action is needed to get this rate. For now we do have information about this on Powershop tariffs on the Cheap Energy Club comparison results page.'


    So, it's causing a bit of head scratching at MSE. Don't show the best rate you could achieve and you penalise Powershop. Show only the standard tariff and again, you penalise Powershop. Tricky one to get right. I think there needs to be a lot of asterisks and footnotes. The Which? comparison website showed the 'best price' you could achieve - that's why I signed up for Powershop.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jul 17, 5:59 PM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    The rates you are shown depend where you are in the country, so I couldn't check your rates as my region (East Midlands) would be different. What MSE told me was they were unable/unwilling to show the best rate somebody COULD achieve (by buying all the discounted powerpacks) because it relied on customers taking additional action after they had joined.

    I then made the point that the whole purpose of the Powershop way of doing things was that you do buy discounted powerpacks and that only a crazy or wasteful person would sit on the standard tariff and do nothing. The specific reply I got was:

    'Thank your for your feedback on this. The energy market is changing and these different, more innovative, tariffs are emerging so we'll need to think about how we'll cater for these.

    We're continuing to look into this, but we've had guidance from our internal compliance team that it'd be wary of showing users a rate of a tariff where further action is needed to get this rate. For now we do have information about this on Powershop tariffs on the Cheap Energy Club comparison results page.'


    So, it's causing a bit of head scratching at MSE. Don't show the best rate you could achieve and you penalise Powershop. Show only the standard tariff and again, you penalise Powershop. Tricky one to get right. I think there needs to be a lot of asterisks and footnotes. The Which? comparison website showed the 'best price' you could achieve - that's why I signed up for Powershop.
    Originally posted by fewkeste
    As I said in previous posts, Powershop is trying to fit its offers into a standard tariff table. I am not surprised that the MSE Compliance Team is keeping this under review. As PCWs are Ofgem accredited then presumably Ofgem will have a view.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 19th Jul 17, 6:21 PM
    • 4,516 Posts
    • 2,693 Thanks
    Hengus
    I use the MSE Cheap Energy Club, they say I would now be paying an extra £97 pa, an increase of £74 from my quote of two weeks ago.
    However I have checked the Powershop website and the prices are the same as before, so maybe it's the way Cheap Energy Club have recalculated the prices, check it yourselves. They have the unit rate as 12.957 per Kwh which Powershop say is next years price promise (this is lower than the 13.503p Kwh they now promise).
    Complicated isn't it?
    Originally posted by geoffW
    I have just run a quote on the Powershop website for my usage and postcode and the standard variable and the Easy Saver tariff rates haven't changed.Interestingly, the Easy Saver Promise cost has risen by £5 a year.

    Query:

    1. PS worried that more customers will do nothing and just go with the fixed price equivalent tariff?

    2. Just matching movements in the fixed price market?

    3. PS anticipating an increase in the SVT in the next 12 months?
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