Energy Direct Debits: Get money back & your payments lowered Discussion

edited 10 June 2010 at 5:36PM in Energy
326 replies 55.6K views


  • Found this tool

    Take a meter reading and then one a couple of weeks later and it will tell you the cost for that usage. You can then go back to your supplier and tell them how much you want to pay, based on your actual use.
  • Currently with E-On, having switched from Npower in the summer and latching onto a Capped dual-fuel tariff. Paying £99 a month DD as that's what I was paying to Npower to pay off a backlog on a previously-estimated gas bill, am using Online Billing and managed to build up over £330 in credit. Bill this past quarter was £220, leaving me over £110 credit and that's now up to over £220 again following this month's payment.

    Have contacted E-On twice regarding lowering my limit, still nothing happening. Will give them one more attempt via the Online Contact Us page before I begin with Martin's template letters and trying that route.

    Will post again with their next response.
    Where there's a will, there's a way to get something cheaper from somewhere else!! :D
  • In Sept. this year I switched to Scottish Power for Gas & Electricity paying by DD. Two months later they increased my DD by 15% due to my increased usage. You know what, I didn't know my usage would increase in winter !!!!!!!!!!! The hole idea of a payment plan and DD is that it evens out over 12 months as I use less in summer (strangely enough). When I questioned SP they said the system automatically adjust's everyone's DD to accomodate the change in season. When I asked if the system would reduce it in April the response was I could request a review. Strange how a system can seasonally adjust up but not down. Anyway I will be phoning them with a meter reading (even though I gave them one three months ago when I joined) and get it reduced back down. So anyone else using Scottish Power get a meter reading and let your money sit in your own bank account not there's.
    P.S. They also said when the system adjusted my DD up, I was £35 in credit!!!!!!!!!
  • DD increased without any notice by British Gas for gas from £60 to £92 in November. As I was well in credit rang to protest agreed to return to £60 and refund the difference. Then nothing. Another £92 went so rang again this time 'no record of conversation' and 'we will only change it with a meter reading'. I pointed out that the meter is outside and it was their responsibility to read it but to no avail. The BG person insisted that I should read the meter whilst she was on the phone and then agreed to reduce to £66 from January. Lesson being if you have an online gas account put in the readings every month so at least you know where you stand.

    Only have to read it every 12 months (iirc) for safety reasons, it's your responsibility to read your meter.
    Creditors and amounts outstanding as of 22/12/2008

    (un) Welcome Finance - £2429.85
    Natwest Bank - £257.68
    Proud member of the a payment a day challenge!:j
  • SwanJon wrote: »
    A DD plan is an agreement - if you don't like the amount you can try too come to a new agreement (and having your consumption and doing the maths first helps). If you can't come to an agreement then you will need to come off the DD plan. If you cancel the DD you will come off the plan anyway.
    You can't instruct a bank to limit a DD (as far as I am aware) - that is a standing order.
    If you come off the plan you will lose the discount (this may be worth it - do the maths)


    Between the unreliability of DD dates (we've had DD's collected as much as five days in advance of the agreed upon date.) Try doing an accurate budget when you don't know when your account is going to be hit! Early collection because of bank holidays not withstanding and the prepetual price hikes, we cut off access to our account a long time ago.

    We check meter readings with every bill and call if necessary to have the bill adjusted. We pay by cash or cheque, quarterly. Whatever tiny cost savings we might gain from DD is more than compensated for by peace of mind. I get a sense sometimes that a lot of people feel they have little or no control over their utility bills. Granted you can't do a lot about the cost, considering how few people have viable alternatives for heating, but you chose how much you use, how you pay and to whom. Not the energy companies!

    While we're on the topic, can anyone explain to me why the costs remain so high when the wholesale prices have dropped by more than half since the Summer? I've heard the excuses given out the energy companies. We're nearly six months since the bottom dropped out of oil prices (though it baffles me why the cost of oil is linked so closely to the cost of gas. that's another one I need explained), any "reserves" they may have bought must be used up by now or coming close to. I understand the reserve capacity in this country is less than two weeks?

    The energy companies are very quick off the mark to pass on any rise in the wholesale price. Why are they so slow (or do not pass it on at all) when the price goes down. Even petrol in the U.K. is still overpriced compared to say Canada (where its taxed as heavily as it is here).
  • You all have an option of how to pay.

    1.Quartely when the bill comes in

    2.VDD Quarterly variable direct debit

    3.FDD Fixed Monthly Direct Debit

    You will receive a discount for each of these methods, biggest being the FDD, but if you are agreeing to switch to a fixed direct debit with the company you're with then read your meter first!

    Most companies use 4 meter readings a year, one for every quarter and if you dont want to be over/under charged then stop being so lazy and read your meters!!!

    If on the other hand you are switching to a new supplier, get an old bill out and look at the breakdown, it will tell you how many units you have used over the quarter or the year and a price can be worked on on this basis.

    Having a standing charge may also benefit you if you are a low user, for example:

    If one company has a daily standing charge of 19p and a unit price of 13p but also has a no standing charge tariff where you get your first 300 units of electricity for 18.6p and then 13p for the rest of the quarter, you need to know if your consumption will be higher than 300 units (much higher before you will benefit)

    Look at it like this: 300 X 18.6 = £55.80 (no standing charge but now you have a lower rate of units to use up)


    19 X 93 = 17.67 and you will be on the lower rate of units for the whole quarter anyway (Using 93 as I just wanted an example of how many days in 3months)

    If you want cheaper bills, do your homework and use your head!!
  • dwiggdwigg Forumite
    21 Posts
    Not many comments about nPower so far.

    I've been with them for about 4 years and they try to increase my DD probably every four months or so. Last time was November, taking the gas DD from £40 to £60. I keep a track of usage and costs, so know how much I need to pay each month to cover a years usage.
    Each time they increase it I call them to discuss usage and prices etc, and they have ALWAYS reduced the DD back to where it started. This time they even offered to reduce it to lower than the original £40pm, but I know I need to pay £40, so that's what it was re-set to.

    Have to say that they are typically very courteous and helpful, and only once have I been told rubbish in order to try to bluff me into a higher DD - that time I was told it was illegal for them to supply gas to me if I already owe them - it always had to be paid for before I receive the gas!

    Anyway, I like the nPower service I'm getting so thought I'd mention this.

    I've used E-on before for other things and find them to be amoral, greedy and dishonest, so wouldn't use them if the choice was them or scaveging for twigs to rub together for a fire.

    For your comparison, my dualfual fixed tarrif DD's are: Electric £35pm, Gas £40pm.

    PS, if you're working out your yearly DD's based on usage, don't forget to include any loyalty / cash-back into the equation. As an example, nPower pay you £100 per year for taking dual fuel.
  • kat1982kat1982 Forumite
    23 Posts
    check your usage for the last year, and work out at your prices as they are at the minute- energy suppliers will calculate any direct debit increase now basse don what you usually use between now and the last winter bill (march/april), taking into account any credit or debit you have. the aim is to get you at a 0 balance for the end of winter, so you can build up a credit over the summer to prepare you for winter.... once april comes and you can calculate usage apr 08- apr 09, your direct debit can be reset to your average usage but if you reduce your dd now, or have the credit back, chances are based on what you use that you will have a debit to pay back over summer, leaving you in exactly the same position next winter...
  • Eon increased my direct debit for dual fuel from 108 to 162 in September, then another unexplained hike to 223 in November. Just challenged them over this - "oh we don't know how whit has happened - it should be £173. Sometimes the computer works the Dds out wrong and we have to manually change them. Yeah right!!! They were clearly hoping I might not notice. They instantly reset it, but I shall be keeping a close eye on them.
  • backfootbackfoot Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Eon increased my direct debit for dual fuel from 108 to 162 in September, then another unexplained hike to 223 in November. Just challenged them over this - "oh we don't know how whit has happened - it should be £173. Sometimes the computer works the Dds out wrong and we have to manually change them. Yeah right!!! They were clearly hoping I might not notice. They instantly reset it, but I shall be keeping a close eye on them.

    This is a great example of a totally unnaceptable response from the Energy company. If it were me, I would want a full written explanation of how the error had occurred.

    How can the computer get this wrong?
    How many other people are affected by this bug?
    If it is wrong and it happens frequently why hasn't it been corrected?
    What were the particular and peculiar circumstances that caused the error?
    Why was a further review prompted so soon after the previous one?

    That's just for starters.Incompetent theiving ..........:mad:
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