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  • FIRST POST
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 10th Jul 17, 1:25 PM
    • 9Posts
    • 2Thanks
    oEd209o
    Cheaper Tariff - the energy companies duty to advise
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 17, 1:25 PM
    Cheaper Tariff - the energy companies duty to advise 10th Jul 17 at 1:25 PM
    Hi all,

    I did a quick search and couldn't find exactly what I needed so hopefully this isn't a duplicate post.

    I've just discovered, after 4 years of being in our house, that we're on an economy 7 meter and, therefore, a tariff where day time electric is substantially more than night time electric (17p vs 5.6p). It all came about after 9 months of not giving (or having taken) any meter readings - after submitting readings we went from £28 in debit to £477 in debit - quite a shock.

    I thought this was possibly down to me getting a plugin hybrid car 12 months ago and our fixed price tariff expiring but apparently not. I used Scottish Power's site to transfer onto what they said was the cheapest tariff but I still wasn't happy with why we're so badly in debt with them.

    I called SP to discuss as I was worried there was some error somewhere and it was only then that I pushed the agent on why no single rate tariffs came up on their site for me. He said it was because of our meter type and that they only had a duty to tell us if we could save money switching to a different tariff ACCORDING TO OUR METER TYPE.

    Firstly, I feel a bit dumb that my wife and I knew very little about what meter we had and how tariffs work - we've owned a number of houses over the last 10 years so we feel like we should have know this but I guess we've never owned a house with an economy 7 meter!

    Secondly, if what SP are telling me is true, surely this is a massive oversight in both the governing legislation that forces providers to advise of cheaper tariffs AND the providers moral duties to its customers.

    By my rough calculations I think we may have been paying over the odds to the tune of 70% for the last few years and that would wipe out the £500 debt we're in if they agreed they did have a responsibility to tell us to change our meter.

    The really annoying thing is that they have all the data to be able to make this really easy - and automated so why aren't they using it. It took me 30 seconds to log into their site, look at some meter readings we took 14 days apart and calculate that, in those 14 days, we used only 8% of our power at night - I was surprised it was even that high!

    I have a complaint open with SP who are issuing a 'deadlock letter' which means I can then pass it onto the energy ombudsman but does anyone have either any experience with this situation or can give me any advise?

    Thanks in advance
Page 1
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 10th Jul 17, 2:13 PM
    • 4,193 Posts
    • 2,437 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:13 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:13 PM
    There is nothing specific in the Supply Licence to indicate that suppliers are under an obligation to inform customers that they may be better off paying for a meter exchange from economy 7 to a standard meter. Many suppliers will accept an economy 7 meter on a single tariff ( by adding the two usage figures together). This has to be at the request of the consumer. If the supplier has immediately agreed to a deadlock letter then it could mean that they are confident that the EO will not find against them.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 10th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
    • 3,532 Posts
    • 1,403 Thanks
    footyguy
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
    Hi all,

    I did a quick search and couldn't find exactly what I needed so hopefully this isn't a duplicate post.

    I've just discovered, after 4 years of being in our house, that we're on an economy 7 meter and, therefore, a tariff where day time electric is substantially more than night time electric (17p vs 5.6p). It all came about after 9 months of not giving (or having taken) any meter readings - after submitting readings we went from £28 in debit to £477 in debit - quite a shock.

    I thought this was possibly down to me getting a plugin hybrid car 12 months ago and our fixed price tariff expiring but apparently not. I used Scottish Power's site to transfer onto what they said was the cheapest tariff but I still wasn't happy with why we're so badly in debt with them.

    I called SP to discuss as I was worried there was some error somewhere and it was only then that I pushed the agent on why no single rate tariffs came up on their site for me. He said it was because of our meter type and that they only had a duty to tell us if we could save money switching to a different tariff ACCORDING TO OUR METER TYPE.

    Firstly, I feel a bit dumb that my wife and I knew very little about what meter we had and how tariffs work - we've owned a number of houses over the last 10 years so we feel like we should have know this but I guess we've never owned a house with an economy 7 meter!

    Secondly, if what SP are telling me is true, surely this is a massive oversight in both the governing legislation that forces providers to advise of cheaper tariffs AND the providers moral duties to its customers.

    By my rough calculations I think we may have been paying over the odds to the tune of 70% for the last few years and that would wipe out the £500 debt we're in if they agreed they did have a responsibility to tell us to change our meter.

    The really annoying thing is that they have all the data to be able to make this really easy - and automated so why aren't they using it. It took me 30 seconds to log into their site, look at some meter readings we took 14 days apart and calculate that, in those 14 days, we used only 8% of our power at night - I was surprised it was even that high!

    I have a complaint open with SP who are issuing a 'deadlock letter' which means I can then pass it onto the energy ombudsman but does anyone have either any experience with this situation or can give me any advise?

    Thanks in advance
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    Cheapest tariff offerings for your meter type should be provided on your bills. (as you have been advised by the supplier)

    A complaint based on different metering is one without foundation
    (e.g. if you had a PPM, you are not advised of cheaper tariffs available if you had a credit meter)
    So I wouldn't worry the ombudsman service with that.

    I very much doubt a £500 accrued debt (how did that occur?) would be covered by a different meter. Perhaps you could show your calculations for that please.
    You'd be better off paying monthly by DD - that would save you money usually, and would have precented a £500 debt accruing in the first place (unless you failed to provide regular meter readings, and the debt is now due to a catch up bill after many years)

    Good luck!
    Last edited by footyguy; 10-07-2017 at 3:21 PM.
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 10th Jul 17, 4:30 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:30 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:30 PM
    @footyguy - appreciate your response!
    I get the argument about pre-paid meters but I still don't feel like I'd be 'bothering' the ombudsman with my challenge, I feel strongly that there is a better way that things could be done to benefit consumers. All the information is at the fingertips of the provider and I feel like they either do have a duty to inform of cheaper tariffs or they don't. PPMs aren't really put in due to usage patterns, more financial situations as far as I'm aware? In my utopia, the energy companies would inform you regardless or your meter type, econ7, single, PPM whatever - the same way the would inform you that you could save by switching to DD rather than paying quarterly.

    With regards to the debt, here's my VERY crude calcs which I've had to base on 14 days of use across June/July:

    Day Use @ 16.92p = 217 units / £36.72
    Night Use @ 7.682p = 19 units / £1.46
    Total Use over 14 day period = 236 units / £53.61

    Total yearly cost calculated by multiplying £53.61 x 26.07 (the number of 14 day periods in the year) = £1397.61 / 6152.52 units

    Single rate tariff = 11p per unit, therefore 6152.52 x 0.11 = £676.78

    Econ7 cost £1397.61 - single rate cost £676.78 = £720.83

    ** I accept that this may not be the best way to calculate this but as I said, it was VERY rough - if someone's got a better approach then I'd be happy to use it **

    Finally, we do pay by DD and we have been bad at submitting readings (2 kids under 3 years old will do that to some people!)
    Last edited by oEd209o; 10-07-2017 at 4:34 PM.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 10th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    • 3,532 Posts
    • 1,403 Thanks
    footyguy
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    ... a tariff where day time electric is substantially more than night time electric (17p vs 5.6p)...
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    ...
    Day Use @ 16.92p = 217 units / £36.72
    Night Use @ 7.682p = 19 units / £1.46
    ...
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    I can't believe I'm responding to this, but I just wanted to to save the above
    (My highlighting)

    Which tariff with SP are you on exactly? (and which supply region?)

    The day & night rates you quote is consistent with the suppliers (expensive) standard variable tariff (although I can't see that exact price for any supply region)
    In comparison their day (flat) rate is about 2p chearper than on E7

    I'd be surprised if any E7 tariff was charging almost 18p day and almost 8p night if they are selling flat rate on a comparative tariff at 11p.

    Why haven't you consulted a comparison site and switched?
    You seemed to be an a very expensive tariff

    We only pay about 11p day rate and a similar price night rate to what you express, although that is with a supplier that is currently not accepting new customers at present.
    But if we were to choose from currently available tariffs, I'm sure we could come somewhere close to those fugures.
    Last edited by footyguy; 10-07-2017 at 5:21 PM.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 10th Jul 17, 6:41 PM
    • 26,815 Posts
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    Cardew
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 6:41 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 6:41 PM
    I thought this was possibly down to me getting a plugin hybrid car 12 months ago
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    Presumably you have been charging this car during the day?

    Having an E7 tariff and charging the car during the 7 hours cheap electricity period(using a timer) is standard practice for most people with an electric car.

    Just get a decent E7 tariff, and also run appliances where possible overnight.
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 10th Jul 17, 7:47 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:47 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:47 PM
    Presumably you have been charging this car during the day?

    Having an E7 tariff and charging the car during the 7 hours cheap electricity period(using a timer) is standard practice for most people with an electric car.

    Just get a decent E7 tariff, and also run appliances where possible overnight.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Yes I have - as I said, I have only just discovered we're on an Econ7 tariff otherwise I would have used the scheduled charging. The unit prices i quoted are, I believe, their Standard Online tariff - as we hadn't realised our fized term had expired - not sure what the prices were before.
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 10th Jul 17, 7:58 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:58 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:58 PM
    I can't believe I'm responding to this, but I just wanted to to save the above
    Originally posted by footyguy
    Why can't you believe you're responding to this - I'm not trying to provoke an argument here, but you are hinting at something that I'm doing wrong here?? If the purpose of you highlighting the unit prices was to bring attention that I made a typo, then apologies for that - I'm only human :-)

    Which tariff with SP are you on exactly? (and which supply region?)
    Originally posted by footyguy
    We're currently on their standard online - the fixed deal we were on expired. We're in Cambridgeshire
    I'd be surprised if any E7 tariff was charging almost 18p day and almost 8p night if they are selling flat rate on a comparative tariff at 11p.
    Originally posted by footyguy
    That's what the guy at the end of the phone told me.
    Why haven't you consulted a comparison site and switched?
    You seemed to be an a very expensive tariff
    Originally posted by footyguy
    We came to Scottish Power via USwitch and I did a comparison the other day - it said SP was still the cheapest.
    We only pay about 11p day rate and a similar price night rate to what you express, although that is with a supplier that is currently not accepting new customers at present.
    But if we were to choose from currently available tariffs, I'm sure we could come somewhere close to those fugures.
    Originally posted by footyguy
    Sounds like you have managed to get a good deal, I'll keep looking but with the best will in the world I don't believe an Econ7 tariff will work for us when the wife & kids are at home all day so have requested to have the meter changed.
    • FullForce
    • By FullForce 10th Jul 17, 8:55 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    FullForce
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 8:55 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 8:55 PM

    Day Use @ 16.92p = 217 units / £36.72
    Night Use @ 7.682p = 19 units / £1.46
    Total Use over 14 day period = 236 units / £53.61
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    I appreciate you said it was only a rough, crude calculation but to get £53.61 as a result of the sum of £36.72 and £1.46 is very rough indeed!

    And if you think you can get SP to supply you single rate at 11p/kWh on their standard varible tariff, then go for it!

    As footyguy indicates, it's about 50% more than that no matter what supply region you are in.
    (you can see that from uSwitch too)
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 10th Jul 17, 8:59 PM
    • 457 Posts
    • 427 Thanks
    House Martin
    As a long time meter reader with a strong interest in Eco 7 meters I think the supplier should be warning every customer that they either bill them single tariff, or switch meters when the occupier clearly is at a loss on a multi rate meter.They have all the records and can easily see that they are paying too much..I have been seeing these Eco 7 meters fitted to entire streets and many areas of towns just to encourage night use so that power stations keep busy at night.Some towns were selected for eco 7 meters even when they were built with mains gas central heating..Towns such as Worksop and Retford and many others , usually close to large power stations.
    The ombudsman should step in and end this nonsense and make suppliers toe the line or fine them. I hope the OP logs a complaint to the ombudsman.
    • FullForce
    • By FullForce 10th Jul 17, 9:04 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    FullForce
    Yes I have - as I said, I have only just discovered we're on an Econ7 tariff .....
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    So you've been on E7 for at least a couple of years (been on default tariff for a year, and presumably were on a fix for at least 12 months before that)
    even if you have not been taking regular meter readings yourself in that time, you would have received numerous (estimated) statements/bills that would presumably not only specify you were on an E7 tariff but would have the give away signs of 2 registry readings

    And you say you are not trying to provoke an argument here.
    If the jury are still out on that one, I'm sure it won't be too much longer before they reach a unanimous verdict
    • victor2
    • By victor2 10th Jul 17, 9:15 PM
    • 4,698 Posts
    • 3,131 Thanks
    victor2
    With regards to the debt, here's my VERY crude calcs which I've had to base on 14 days of use across June/July:

    Day Use @ 16.92p = 217 units / £36.72
    Night Use @ 7.682p = 19 units / £1.46
    Total Use over 14 day period = 236 units / £53.61

    Total yearly cost calculated by multiplying £53.61 x 26.07 (the number of 14 day periods in the year) = £1397.61 / 6152.52 units

    Single rate tariff = 11p per unit, therefore 6152.52 x 0.11 = £676.78

    Econ7 cost £1397.61 - single rate cost £676.78 = £720.83

    ** I accept that this may not be the best way to calculate this but as I said, it was VERY rough - if someone's got a better approach then I'd be happy to use it **
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    How do you heat your house and get hot water? If it is electric heating them even your VERY crude calcs are totally meaningless, even if the arithmetic was corrected.
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 11th Jul 17, 8:35 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    So you've been on E7 for at least a couple of years (been on default tariff for a year, and presumably were on a fix for at least 12 months before that)
    even if you have not been taking regular meter readings yourself in that time, you would have received numerous (estimated) statements/bills that would presumably not only specify you were on an E7 tariff but would have the give away signs of 2 registry readings

    And you say you are not trying to provoke an argument here.
    If the jury are still out on that one, I'm sure it won't be too much longer before they reach a unanimous verdict
    Originally posted by FullForce
    Yes we have been on E7 for a few years and I think the standard rate for about 6-9 months.
    There's no arguments from me that I should have know we were on E7, but my wife was the one who originally sorted the electric out so last week was the first itme I had even looked at a bill.
    As you say, I can see on the bill that there are 2 unit charges (very last page of the bill), but if I quickly glance at the bill to see how much I owe and what tariff I'm on, the first page of the bill gives me how much the DD is, how much I'm in debt, advises me I could save £44 a year by not being on the standard tariff and states the tariff that I'm actually on SPs "Standard Online" - no mention of E7 at all.

    I just want to highlight that my post was about what the duty of the energy companies is in advising about cheaper tariffs, whether anyone had managed to have any luck getting any money back on the basis that they have never been advised they didn't use enough energy at night or any advise on how to approach the case with the ombudsman.
    Although I appreciate the advice that I need to make sure I'm on the right meter and tariff or completely change my energy consumption habits by using 3 times more energy at night, I realise all of this now.

    Finally, I am not after an argument, I am after people's expereinces and advice on the duty of the energy company.
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 11th Jul 17, 8:36 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    How do you heat your house and get hot water? If it is electric heating them even your VERY crude calcs are totally meaningless, even if the arithmetic was corrected.
    Originally posted by victor2
    Oil fired heating
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 11th Jul 17, 8:37 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    I appreciate you said it was only a rough, crude calculation but to get £53.61 as a result of the sum of £36.72 and £1.46 is very rough indeed!

    And if you think you can get SP to supply you single rate at 11p/kWh on their standard varible tariff, then go for it!

    As footyguy indicates, it's about 50% more than that no matter what supply region you are in.
    (you can see that from uSwitch too)
    Originally posted by FullForce
    My mistake - I was rushing the post inbetween meetings. I don't believe I ever said I expected to get 11p on the standard rate - this was a fixed until July that the advisor offered me
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 11th Jul 17, 8:42 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    As a long time meter reader with a strong interest in Eco 7 meters I think the supplier should be warning every customer that they either bill them single tariff, or switch meters when the occupier clearly is at a loss on a multi rate meter.They have all the records and can easily see that they are paying too much..I have been seeing these Eco 7 meters fitted to entire streets and many areas of towns just to encourage night use so that power stations keep busy at night.Some towns were selected for eco 7 meters even when they were built with mains gas central heating..Towns such as Worksop and Retford and many others , usually close to large power stations.
    The ombudsman should step in and end this nonsense and make suppliers toe the line or fine them. I hope the OP logs a complaint to the ombudsman.
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Thank you! Not because you agree with me, just because your post is on topic.
    My concerns are that the way SP word their tariffs it is impossible to tell whether it's an E7 tariff or single rate. The energy companies have all the figures at their fingertips to be able to tell whether you are using the minimum amount of energy at night to make E7 right for you.
    Again, I'm stupid for not knowing exactly what tariff & meter I was on, I shouldn't have lapsed onto the standard rate BUT what I do expect as a customer is to be given the right advice by the professionals.
    I will be taking it up with the ombudsman and will update if it goes anywhere, which I'm not hopeful of
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 11th Jul 17, 8:52 AM
    • 4,193 Posts
    • 2,437 Thanks
    Hengus
    Thank you! Not because you agree with me, just because your post is on topic.
    My concerns are that the way SP word their tariffs it is impossible to tell whether it's an E7 tariff or single rate. The energy companies have all the figures at their fingertips to be able to tell whether you are using the minimum amount of energy at night to make E7 right for you.
    Again, I'm stupid for not knowing exactly what tariff & meter I was on, I shouldn't have lapsed onto the standard rate BUT what I do expect as a customer is to be given the right advice by the professionals.
    I will be taking it up with the ombudsman and will update if it goes anywhere, which I'm not hopeful of
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    Before you do, I suggest that you have a read of the Supply Licence:

    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/licences-codes-and-standards/licences/licence-conditions

    Schedule 1 to SLC31A: Could You Pay less? on page 280 spells out the level of detail required by Ofgem. The EO can only be guided by what is in the Supply Licences. It is not the Regulator and it is in no way linked to Ofgem. If you want to raise the matter with Ofgem, then e-mail them at:

    consumeraffairs@ofgem.gov.uk

    Expect only a short and very polite reply. Ofgem will not investigate individual complaints but they are responsible for the content of what goes into Supply Licences. Changes to the content of Supply Licences requires an across the board industry consultation before any changes are made.

    Best of luck.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 11th Jul 17, 10:53 AM
    • 26,815 Posts
    • 12,995 Thanks
    Cardew
    The energy companies have all the figures at their fingertips to be able to tell whether you are using the minimum amount of energy at night to make E7 right for you.
    Originally posted by oEd209o
    There are several points on the above statement.

    Firstly SP cannot place you on a 'normal 24/7' tariff if you have an E7 meter. Some companies can aggregate the two readings i.e. 1,000kWh on daytime and 300kWh on night would be treated as 1,300kWh on a normal tariff(I have this arrangement with British Gas)

    Let assume an energy company knew your consumption pattern and advised you to stop E7 and go on a normal tariff. Then the customer gets an Electric car(like yourself) and that advice is now redundant. Would you file a complain for the wrong advice?

    Similarly many people switch off oil fired/LPG boilers in the summer and use the immersion heater for hot water. Should the Energy companies know you have oil CH and intend to take this measure.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 11th Jul 17, 10:58 AM
    • 17,008 Posts
    • 11,186 Thanks
    molerat
    There are several points on the above statement.

    Firstly SP cannot place you on a 'normal 24/7' tariff if you have an E7 meter. Some companies can aggregate the two readings i.e. 1,000kWh on daytime and 300kWh on night would be treated as 1,300kWh on a normal tariff(I have this arrangement with British Gas)

    Let assume an energy company knew your consumption pattern and advised you to stop E7 and go on a normal tariff. Then the customer gets an Electric car(like yourself) and that advice is now redundant. Would you file a complain for the wrong advice?

    Similarly many people switch off oil fired/LPG boilers in the summer and use the immersion heater for hot water. Should the Energy companies know you have oil CH and intend to take this measure.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Further to the above highlighted, even with the new regulations covering restricted hours metering charged at single rate coming in September this will still be the case as E7 is specifically excluded from those requirements.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • oEd209o
    • By oEd209o 11th Jul 17, 1:38 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    oEd209o
    There are several points on the above statement.

    Firstly SP cannot place you on a 'normal 24/7' tariff if you have an E7 meter. Some companies can aggregate the two readings i.e. 1,000kWh on daytime and 300kWh on night would be treated as 1,300kWh on a normal tariff(I have this arrangement with British Gas)

    Let assume an energy company knew your consumption pattern and advised you to stop E7 and go on a normal tariff. Then the customer gets an Electric car(like yourself) and that advice is now redundant. Would you file a complain for the wrong advice?

    Similarly many people switch off oil fired/LPG boilers in the summer and use the immersion heater for hot water. Should the Energy companies know you have oil CH and intend to take this measure.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Thanks, I am aware that SP cannot put me on a single rate without a meter change - I have requested the meter be changed.
    I think in the situation you stated, no I would not raise a complaint - I accept that if my usage changes, it's on me to notify the energy company my situation has changed. I guess that I do feel like, when switching providers or taking a new service, they have a duty to advise you on what the right service is for you.
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