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  • FIRST POST
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 16th Sep 17, 8:02 AM
    • 34Posts
    • 12Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    £500 in credit with Br.Gas
    • #1
    • 16th Sep 17, 8:02 AM
    £500 in credit with Br.Gas 16th Sep 17 at 8:02 AM
    I’ve recently made the decision to appoint a new Energy supplier as my B.Gas ‘Collective Switch Oct.17’ ends on Oct.3rd;…along with 1000’s of others!

    However, I was very surprised to find that I’m actually £500 in credit with B.Gas!

    When I changed to my present B.Gas tariff my payments were £108/month paid by D/D. This was based on my actual usage figures over the previous few years and my usage has remained very consistent. My gas/elect usage has been remarkably similar for years;….but maybe that’s not too surprising.

    I’ve had an email from B.Gas on Sept.14th acknowledging that I’d be leaving them, followed immediately by another email saying that they would be dropping my monthly D/D to £80.53 ongoing.

    I’ve had another email this morning stating my monthly D/D will drop even further to £46.62 ongoing !

    To be fair I don’t monitor my energy D/D very closely and I was very surprised that a credit of £500 had been built up;...is this amount excessive or is it the norm?

    B.Gas appear to have now made a decision to drip-feed some of my credit back to me in the form of vastly a reduced D/D, presumably(?) hoping that I’ll reverse my decision to leave.

    I have B.Gas Smart meters that feed my meter readings back to B.Gas on a daily basis so they can have no excuse that they’ve had to base my charges on estimates.

    When I had my Smart meters fitted (Feb.2016) I genuinely believed that I’d receive accurate bills but that is obviously not the case. In an ideal world I’d really like to pay my monthly D/D bill based on my actual monthly usage regardless of whether it’s winter or summer,…but that appears not to be an option offered by any of the energy companies.

    Does anyone know if there are rules/regs concerning the level of credit a customer can build up before the Energy company actively takes steps to give some of it back to the customer?;

    ...I left my previous supplier (Scottish Power) because of a similar situation. They owed me £800! and were incapable of giving it back to me…for 18 months!
    Last edited by The Big Bamboo; 16-09-2017 at 8:07 AM.
Page 1
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 16th Sep 17, 8:28 AM
    • 2,979 Posts
    • 1,754 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #2
    • 16th Sep 17, 8:28 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Sep 17, 8:28 AM
    If you had a similar problem with a previous supplier I should have though that you'd put a bit more effort into checking with this one.

    I've got a smart meter as well but that doesn't stop me from checking the meter and the bills every month to make sure that they are correct and to make sure that my DD is neither under or over paying to balance at the end of the contract.

    It really does only take a couple of minutes amonth to take a meter reading and put it into your own spreadsheet to make sure that you are on track.

    Just relying on the energy company's computer is a recipe for pain and aggro, Do your own checking and be sure. Likewise use your own estimates and you can then set your own DD. By monitorig your consumption against your estimate you'll know if you are on target to balance your account.

    If I read my meter I know exactly to within a penny how much I owe the energy company (or that they owe me) and I know that if the weather stay's on target then I'll owe them around £3.50 on 18th December when my fix runs out.

    Obviously my estimate wont be that accurate but I only expect to be out by about £20 either way, not £500
    Last edited by matelodave; 16-09-2017 at 8:39 AM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 16th Sep 17, 8:45 AM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    • #3
    • 16th Sep 17, 8:45 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Sep 17, 8:45 AM
    If you hd a similar problem with a previous supplier I should have though that you'd put a bit more effort into checking with this one.

    I've got a smart meter as well but that doesn't stop me from checking the meter and the bills every month to make sure that they are correct and to make sure that my DD is neither under or over paying.

    It really does only take a couple of minutes amonth to take a meter reading and put it into your own spreadsheet to make sure that you are on track.

    Just relying on the energy company's computer is a recipe for pain and aggro, do your own checking and be sure.
    Originally posted by matelodave
    ...very true.

    Thanks for the reply, even though it’s of little practical value with regard to my questions;…when I changed to B.Gas from Scottish Power I did indeed check my monthly D/D and fed them online meter readings on a very regular basis. But my vigilance waned when I opted for Smart meters.

    Being the naïve fool that I am, I believed the Br.Gas hype when they convinced me to take their Smart meters;…no more estimated bills they said,… 100% accurate D/D’s they said,…no need to tell us your readings, …rest assured we’ll do it all for you,….et al. Ha!
    • spiro
    • By spiro 16th Sep 17, 11:25 AM
    • 5,808 Posts
    • 2,791 Thanks
    spiro
    • #4
    • 16th Sep 17, 11:25 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Sep 17, 11:25 AM
    You need to bear in mind that even with a smart meter they don't review your DD after every reading, they often only review every 6 or 12 months as that is the whole point of DD, consistent monthly amounts. During the review, if it's based on a actual reading, they will refund any credit above a nominal amount.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 16th Sep 17, 2:19 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    • #5
    • 16th Sep 17, 2:19 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Sep 17, 2:19 PM
    You need to bear in mind that even with a smart meter they don't review your DD after every reading, they often only review every 6 or 12 months as that is the whole point of DD, consistent monthly amounts. During the review, if it's based on a actual reading, they will refund any credit above a nominal amount.
    Originally posted by spiro
    …you’d think that would be the situation, but it obviously isn’t in my case.

    I’ve had my B.Gas Smart meters for almost 20 months and those two meters feed my usage back to B.Gas on a daily basis,… and yet they’ve still managed to screw it up to the extent that I’m £500 in credit and my ‘notice to terminate’ has resulted in them dropping my D/D to £46!...no consistency whatsoever in my D/D payments and yet they’ve had all relevant up-to-date info at their fingertips.

    My gas/elect usage has remained very consistent for years;… no significant change to my consumption figures whatsoever.

    I’m not overly concerned about the amount of credit tbh,…I’ll just view it as unexpected bonus,…but I’d have preferred it if B.Gas had made good on their promise to deliver accurate billing;…in my case they’ve failed spectacularly to do that;…and that’s with Smart meters!

    They fit Smart meters but it seems that their billing system is incapable of making full use of the info that the Smart meters supply when it comes to accurate D/D’s;…that is unless B.Gas have a deliberate policy of overcharging customers which facilitates an overly large build-up of credit. Surely not???

    What’s the fr*iggin' point of Br.Gas Smart meters?....and to add insult to injury my Smart meters will become ‘dumb’ meters when I complete the switch to my new supplier,… and by all accounts will never be used as Smart meters again,…unless I move back to B.Gas.

    The new generation of Smart Meters (and the technology to run them) should be compatible with all energy suppliers;...they’ve been promising that for several years but I still don’t think there is a definitive date.

    When I think of the Smart Meter roll-out programme the old phrase “a camel is a horse designed by a committee ” springs to mind!;.…sorry, rant over.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 16th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    • 4,196 Posts
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    Hengus
    • #6
    • 16th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    The billing should be 100% accurate as it will be based on actual meter readings.

    The process of estimating your future usage is based on algorithms which have nothing to do with smart meters. That said, one would hope that with actual meter readings, the estimation process would/should be more accurate than it is. I had a situation a couple of years ago when my estimated projected usage shot up (along with the monthly DD). The basis of the computation used was three Winter months usage multiplied by 4. I complained and got absolutely nowhere.

    The message is clear: monitor your account like a Hawk; sadly, most people do not. For example, a quick look at my 99p App called Meters shows me that I have used £3.44 of gas since my last bill, and I have £105.94 in credit to for pay it.
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 16th Sep 17, 4:07 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    • #7
    • 16th Sep 17, 4:07 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Sep 17, 4:07 PM
    The billing should be 100% accurate as it will be based on actual meter readings.

    The process of estimating your future usage is based on algorithms which have nothing to do with smart meters. That said, one would hope that with actual meter readings, the estimation process would/should be more accurate than it is. I had a situation a couple of years ago when my estimated projected usage shot up (along with the monthly DD). The basis of the computation used was three Winter months usage multiplied by 4. I complained and got absolutely nowhere.

    The message is clear: monitor your account like a Hawk; sadly, most people do not. For example, a quick look at my 99p App called Meters shows me that I have used £3.44 of gas since my last bill, and I have £105.94 in credit to for pay it.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Thanks for the reply;…I’d have settled for 75% accurate!

    The main reason I’m a bit peeved with my situation with Br.Gas is that it’s a very similar situation to that the one I had with ScottishPower several years ago which precipitated my move to B.Gas in the first place.

    My credit with ScottishPower started to climb at an alarming rate and at one point it stood at £1150;…a realistic monthly D/D would have been about £80/month at that time.

    They once promised me a £350 rebate,…but they actually added £350 to my already vastly inflated monthly D/D which ended up at about £470 for that particular month!,…It really was a farcical situation and they were obviously incapable of sorting it out;…they blamed computer upgrades and associated billing problems and it dragged on for well over a year. Their support help-desk even stopped replying to my emails!

    I eventually got my all my money refunded when I moved to B.Gas ;…I think they were glad to see the back of me.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 16th Sep 17, 4:49 PM
    • 2,979 Posts
    • 1,754 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #8
    • 16th Sep 17, 4:49 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Sep 17, 4:49 PM
    Have you actually been looking at your bills, statements or on-line account to see if it is in fact accurate.

    It may have your consumption down to the penny and shows your account getting more and more in credit, perhaps you haven't looked and noticed it yourself.

    They may have the attitude that if you aren't botheerd then they'll just leave it until you are
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • glennevis
    • By glennevis 16th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    • 112 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    glennevis
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    "I’d really like to pay my monthly D/D bill based on my actual monthly usage regardless of whether it’s winter or summer,…but that appears not to be an option offered by any of the energy companies."

    EDF do.
    They moved me from fixed monthly DD to quarterly billing for the actual amount (like the good old days) when I requested it. No change to the tariff.
    • Joyful
    • By Joyful 16th Sep 17, 10:56 PM
    • 2,193 Posts
    • 1,127 Thanks
    Joyful
    The way the payment plans work is they are checked every 6 months. If there is too much credit at 6 months the Direct debit is lowered. At the 12 month stage any over payment is paid back into your bank. You will have had access to monitor online, and if you thought your credit balance was too high then you could have lowered it. Coming towards Winter you should have a good credit built up but we do not know what your winter bills come in at. British Gas gave you tools, it was up to you to use them.
    I am an employee of British Gas.The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Centrica, its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 17th Sep 17, 8:34 AM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    The way the payment plans work is they are checked every 6 months. If there is too much credit at 6 months the Direct debit is lowered. At the 12 month stage any over payment is paid back into your bank. You will have had access to monitor online, and if you thought your credit balance was too high then you could have lowered it. Coming towards Winter you should have a good credit built up but we do not know what your winter bills come in at. British Gas gave you tools, it was up to you to use them.
    Originally posted by Joyful
    British Gas gave me Smart Meters!.. 20 month ago, with all the hype and promise that they’d do it all for me!....set your meters to send readings every day (which I did) and you’ll have accurate bang up to date billing ,… no more wildly fluctuating D/Ds,….rest assured, we take care of it all, they said!;….patently untrue!

    As a Br.Gas employee you really can’t get away with a glib comment like “British Gas gave you tools, it was up to you to use them.!”
    ...is that stance part of your official Br.Gas ‘customer care’ policy? i.e. ” it’s the customers fault for not double checking that we’re doing our job properly”.
    • Joyful
    • By Joyful 17th Sep 17, 8:56 AM
    • 2,193 Posts
    • 1,127 Thanks
    Joyful
    Smart meters only mean the meter reads are correct. It does not change the way the payment plans run so I stand by what I say. Yes I work for BG but I also have my energy supplied by them. Maybe this makes me more aware of how things work. With the online management I check my bills, know my usage and if I think due to a milder year that too much credit is building up I reduce my monthly DD amount. This to me, is giving the customers(i.e me) the way to monitor their accounts. People who know me on the boards are aware that if anything is wrong I would be outspoken, but in this case I don't think the company have done anything wrong. If you look on the My Energy part of the website,it will show how much you used through the winter last year. Your DD should be set to cover this including any credit. Of course if we have a milder year that means we use less that would get picked up at the 6 or 12 month point.
    I am an employee of British Gas.The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Centrica, its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 17th Sep 17, 8:57 AM
    • 2,979 Posts
    • 1,754 Thanks
    matelodave
    You did have up to date billing, you just chose not to check it.

    Billing and DDs are two separate things. You were probably billed correctly and you had the info yourself to determine whether your DD was OK.

    As I said before, you had the info, you chose not to do anything about it and BG didn't see a need to give you your surplus as you hadn't asked for it. They probably would have at some time but at their leisure or at a 12 month review.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 17th Sep 17, 8:57 AM
    • 4,196 Posts
    • 2,440 Thanks
    Hengus
    but we do not know what your winter bills come in at. British Gas gave you tools
    Originally posted by Joyful
    Suppliers have both the EAC and AQ provided to them on a transfer of supply. In the OP's case, you also have more than 12 months of accurate data from a smart meter. Most suppliers do not offer online 'tools' but they seem to manage to review and adjust the monthly DD payment as required. If a £500 credit balance has been allowed to accrue, then BG must accept some responsibility for its failure to review present and past usage and adjust the DD amount accordingly.
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 17th Sep 17, 9:51 AM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    Smart meters only mean the meter reads are correct. It does not change the way the payment plans run so I stand by what I say. Yes I work for BG but I also have my energy supplied by them. Maybe this makes me more aware of how things work. With the online management I check my bills, know my usage and if I think due to a milder year that too much credit is building up I reduce my monthly DD amount. This to me, is giving the customers(i.e me) the way to monitor their accounts. People who know me on the boards are aware that if anything is wrong I would be outspoken, but in this case I don't think the company have done anything wrong. If you look on the My Energy part of the website,it will show how much you used through the winter last year. Your DD should be set to cover this including any credit. Of course if we have a milder year that means we use less that would get picked up at the 6 or 12 month point.
    Originally posted by Joyful
    ...if I was your boss at Br.Gas I'd promote you for such a marvellous rebuttal ;…even though it’s complete tosh.

    My energy usage has remained entirely consistent for both gas and electricity for many years and I really saw no reason to closely ‘monitor’ my account to ensure that it was being administered accurately, and more importantly, prudently by Br.Gas;…that is the job of Br.Gas,…that is what Br.Gas promised they’d do for me when the Smart meters were fitted.

    I honestly don’t remember receiving an email or phone call to say:…”by the way,…make sure you constantly check what we’re charging you,…otherwise your credit will spiral ”.

    There is absolutely no reason why Br.Gas allowed my credit to build up to such an extent other than a failure of Br.Gas’ internal systems/procedures. Br.Gas asked that I set up my meters to send readings EVERY day,…which I did (and which they have,…for the past 20 months).

    Br.Gas had all the info they needed at their fingertips to get my billing in order;

    …blaming the customer (i.e. me) because I foolishly believed what they’d told me says more about Br.Gas than it does about me.
    • aj_m
    • By aj_m 17th Sep 17, 12:21 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    aj_m
    Your usage is consistent, and you presumably used the correct figures in the comparison when you switched. So you knew at the outset a pretty accurate cost for the year, so must also have known what the dd should have been set at?

    There are certainly issues with the way many companies handle large credit and debit balances, smart meters eliminating estimated bills are a big part of the solution but as you have seen are not a panacea.

    We all have to stay vigilant, a few minutes every few months is all it takes. Companies do it because they know they can get away with it, don't let them.
    • spiro
    • By spiro 18th Sep 17, 9:27 AM
    • 5,808 Posts
    • 2,791 Thanks
    spiro
    ...if I was your boss at Br.Gas I'd promote you for such a marvellous rebuttal ;…even though it’s complete tosh.

    My energy usage has remained entirely consistent for both gas and electricity for many years and I really saw no reason to closely ‘monitor’ my account to ensure that it was being administered accurately, and more importantly, prudently by Br.Gas;…that is the job of Br.Gas,…that is what Br.Gas promised they’d do for me when the Smart meters were fitted.

    I honestly don’t remember receiving an email or phone call to say:…”by the way,…make sure you constantly check what we’re charging you,…otherwise your credit will spiral ”.

    There is absolutely no reason why Br.Gas allowed my credit to build up to such an extent other than a failure of Br.Gas’ internal systems/procedures. Br.Gas asked that I set up my meters to send readings EVERY day,…which I did (and which they have,…for the past 20 months).

    Br.Gas had all the info they needed at their fingertips to get my billing in order;

    …blaming the customer (i.e. me) because I foolishly believed what they’d told me says more about Br.Gas than it does about me.
    Originally posted by The Big Bamboo
    So if we have a cold or mild winter you use the same amount of gas, I don't think so.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
    • The Big Bamboo
    • By The Big Bamboo 18th Sep 17, 10:10 AM
    • 34 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    The Big Bamboo
    So if we have a cold or mild winter you use the same amount of gas, I don't think so.
    Originally posted by spiro
    I don’t much care for the inference of your post by the way; however you’re entitled to think what you like.

    My actual gas and electricity usage for the past 3 years has been remarkably consistent;…literally no more than £10/15 a year difference on both gas and elec;…it surprised me to honest, but there you have it.

    p.s. and for what it’s worth the past few winters/summers where I live in Cheshire have been quite similar overall. Perhaps that explains it;…a really bad winter would see my gas bill rise considerably,…along with everyone else’ bills. Not sure why you see an issue with my ‘consistent’ energy consumption.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 18th Sep 17, 11:02 AM
    • 4,196 Posts
    • 2,440 Thanks
    Hengus
    There does seem to be a worrying development emerging in this forum vis-a-vis DD reviews (and ultimately credit balances).

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5713249

    Have some suppliers now taken a management decision to improve cash flow/reduce borrowing costs by using a rolling 12 month cost projection at the mid contract review point rather than a zero balance at the end of contract term when setting DDs? One wonders.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 18th Sep 17, 1:38 PM
    • 3,532 Posts
    • 1,403 Thanks
    footyguy
    I’ve recently made the decision to appoint a new Energy supplier as my B.Gas ‘Collective Switch Oct.17’ ends on Oct.3rd;…along with 1000’s of others!

    However, I was very surprised to find that I’m actually £500 in credit with B.Gas!

    When I changed to my present B.Gas tariff my payments were £108/month paid by D/D. This was based on my actual usage figures over the previous few years and my usage has remained very consistent. My gas/elect usage has been remarkably similar for years;….but maybe that’s not too surprising.

    I’ve had an email from B.Gas on Sept.14th acknowledging that I’d be leaving them, followed immediately by another email saying that they would be dropping my monthly D/D to £80.53 ongoing.

    I’ve had another email this morning stating my monthly D/D will drop even further to £46.62 ongoing !

    To be fair I don’t monitor my energy D/D very closely and I was very surprised that a credit of £500 had been built up;...is this amount excessive or is it the norm?

    B.Gas appear to have now made a decision to drip-feed some of my credit back to me in the form of vastly a reduced D/D, presumably(?) hoping that I’ll reverse my decision to leave.

    I have B.Gas Smart meters that feed my meter readings back to B.Gas on a daily basis so they can have no excuse that they’ve had to base my charges on estimates.

    When I had my Smart meters fitted (Feb.2016) I genuinely believed that I’d receive accurate bills but that is obviously not the case. In an ideal world I’d really like to pay my monthly D/D bill based on my actual monthly usage regardless of whether it’s winter or summer,…but that appears not to be an option offered by any of the energy companies.

    Does anyone know if there are rules/regs concerning the level of credit a customer can build up before the Energy company actively takes steps to give some of it back to the customer?;

    ...I left my previous supplier (Scottish Power) because of a similar situation. They owed me £800! and were incapable of giving it back to me…for 18 months!
    Originally posted by The Big Bamboo
    Sorry, but I am confused by your post.

    If your monthly payments of £108 pm were based on previous usage data, and your usage has not significantly changed, I don't see how you can be in £500 credit now (assuming this is based on an up to date reading) - that's almost half of what you have paid in the last 12 months.

    If you really have only used about £700 worth of energy compared to the £1200+ you were told by BG it would cost you, then your comparison was widly off (which means you may not have been on a very good deal for you)
    Ensure you use accurate consumption levels for any comparison you do now.

    If you do end up switching supplier (as you say you are going to), then the old supplier will produce a final bill for you, and you should then receive any accrued credit back accordingly.
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