Energy Direct Debit Overcharging: Reclaim Successes

edited 10 June 2010 at 4:33PM in Energy
65 replies 22.6K views


  • I'm with Eon, duel fuel online etc etc.

    I set my prices low for 2009, just before the late summer increases, and for my conscientiousness, they increased my dd from 80 to 112, saying that my current payments would not be enough! Go figure. Anyway, I reluctantly agreed to let them do this.
    Yesterday I received a letter telling me that my dd was going to be increased again to 137. I was not very happy about this, so I called them this morning. I informed them that after my last payment I was 138 in credit. They told me that this was not sufficient credit to cover the winter, and ideally I should be 300 in CR before the winter to cover extra fuel used. I told them that there were only 2 of us in the house, both working full time, and could not possibly use 137's worth of fuel every month and that I was not going to let them increase my payments, as the increase from 80 to 112 a few months ago was designed to cover the winter usage. The lady on the phone put my figures (I gave her today's meter readings) through their 'caluclator' (ahem) and it still insisted I needed the increase. I told her I was still not having this! She then said she'd calculate my usage manually for me. After a few minutes on hold, she came back and agreed with me, I am paying enough.
    Ok, so stand your ground, and ask them to calculate manually, and go prepared with your meter readings. Incidentally, my boiler was replaced in April, so my gas usage has reduced (they noticed this) and so I should be paying less, not more. We'll see how the winter goes, I guess.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my drivel!
  • frjack_2frjack_2 Forumite
    18 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I'm with Scottish Power, dual fuel.

    I was notified, last week, that they wanted to increase my DD from £40 to £55.

    I emailed, telling them not to increase the DD. or I would bail out. They replied with a bunch of figures (which I later found to be estimated) for my last 12 month's consumption, followers by more figures, which didn't quote any assumptions or base figures. The upshot was the deigned to decrease my DD to £52.

    I emailed them again and stressed that they should not increase the DD, under any circumstances, or I would cancel the DD and bail out. I gave them until 5pm on Monday to reply, confirming this.

    On Monday, I received an email stating my complaint had been escalated and would be dealt with in 5 days... The DD was due in 48 hours! So... I got on the phone and by sheer luck, got through to someone who actually knew what they were talking about and wanted to help.

    I explained the situation and presented my figures (based on the figures my account history provided) which indicated my DD could possibly be increased to £43. The lady I spoke to examined the figures used (and only partially quoted by the previous respondent!) and informed me the figures sent to me were vastly over estimated - a 30% increase in consumption had been assumed, despite my consumption decreasing for the past 2 years!

    After some sensible talk and figures from her, I agreed that it was too late to change this month's payment, but that the DD will stay at £40, until it is reviewed again, in March... and she transferred me to a discounted tariff (no ties or fees)!

    Always challenge this and ask for detailed consumption figures, then do your own calculation and compare. If it fails and you think you are right, cancel the DD, immediately - they'll soon sit up and pay attention, then!

  • I've just negotiated a drop in DD for gas with Atlantic. My new DD was £72- then I sent them a new meter reading- a drop to £63. Then the bill that was generated from that revision showed a surplus- and based on meter readings, they have re-set my payments to £35/mo. Now this could be a little on the low side, but as I've been here for 2 years, I know what my estimated annual gas, electricity & water usage is fairly accurately.

    I think that you can get too bamboozled by thinking just in £££- after all the increases, the companies can easily justify any hikes by telling you it's to cover their prices & winter use. but if you have evidence for them- my average kW use is XXX per year, then they can't over-egg it too much. I will increase my DD to a round amount- say the nearest tenner, as I would rather build up a little surplus, then be in debit. Be vigilant and you should stay in a good position.
    Won Mulberry Bag Jan 09 :D
  • We're with e.on.

    We recently received a statement informing us that our direct debits were going from £67 to £118 a month with less than a month's notice, despite us being £63 in credit. I immediately called e.on (using the 'SAYNOTO0870' website!) and spoke to a very patronising and rude Customer Services rep, who spoke to me as if I was a very deaf and rather dim foreigner. BIG mistake, because I then immediately emailed e.on's Director of Customer Services to complain a) about the price hike b) about the rude way my enquiry had been handled. As a result, I was called within 24 hours, received a full and courteous apology, and my direct debits were put back to their original amount. I also received an immediate email confirming this and explaining how e.on works out the debit amounts.

    The fact that e.on were so quick to apologise and revert the d/d suggested to me that they'd been deluged with complaints. Something this forum confirms.

    It is outrageous that customers in credit should be expected to subsidise these corporate behemoths. As my wife said at the time, it's the equivalent of being expected to pay for a meal chosen by the restaurant before you've even decided what you want to eat. (And not even a complimentary olive.)

    COMPLAIN! :mad::T

  • lilmisstroublelilmisstrouble Forumite
    24 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'm with Npower, they send you a bill every 6 months. I got mine at the end of October> I pay £80 pm for dual fuel. Despite being £23 in credit with another £80 to be paid the following day they wanted to increase my payment to £146 pm. I rang them and told them I wan't paying it and if they increased my payment I would switch. They immediately agreed to let the payment remain at £80 pm. I check my usage monthly and work out the cost and will pay extra if my DD does not cover it. One month later I am still £100 in credit
  • EDF changed our direct debit from £40 to £62 when we were £70 in credit.
    Customer services said they could reduce it to £54 but would not go any lower since 'this figure was based on previous meter readings'. I pointed out that the letter had also said the £62 was based on previous meter readings, so one of their calculations must be wrong, but the person didn't seem to understand that!
    I told them I would be prepared to agree to £50 and would like to talk to a supervisor about it.
    They rang back later and left a message to say the supervisor had agreed to £44!
    I really don't know how they do their calculations!
  • CJNCJN Forumite
    9 Posts
    Thank you for the information. I have contacted EDF this charge is £40 per year, they only seemed to charge me from September this year, which is strange but I am not going to argue about that. The charge is actually in the small (very tiny) print at the bottom of my new price tariff.

    I am on a fixed protected tariff until Sept next year, since the salesperson assured me that prices would rise January, we shall see.
  • Having read the article and being £150 in credit I contacted scottish power with a copy of the template letter ammended to fit my situation and scottish power emailed back today that they would reduce my direct debit down to £76 from £92. :T
    I fixed my prices in the summer and am putting in twice monthly meter readings (yes i get obsessed with numbers sometimes!) so i think that helped . The money is much better in my pocket!

    I find it galling to think that the energy companies are lining their coffers by putting up everyones direct debit. Having said that SP seem to be doing the right thing. good luck to everyone else
    Grocery Challenge Feb 16 £346 /400
  • we received a letter with our latest gas bill saying that they were going to increase our DD from £43 to £79, even though we've had a credit balance on our bill for over 2 years. I calculated how much gas we'd used over the past two years and took the average price per unit and worked out that we'd have to increase our consumption for the year by 40% for a DD of £79 to be reasonable. I then worked out that a DD of £56 per month would cover our gas usage for the year at current prices and so phoned E.On.

    I have to say that the advisor I spoke to was very helpful and said that the DD shouldn't have been increased as our annual review was due in April and that they should have waited to see what our winter consumption was like before altering the DD. They were happy enough to go with my figures and go with £56 per month, but I wanted to keep a bit more in the kitty. I suggested setting the DD at £60 per month which hopefully will cover things and received a letter the other day confirming this amount.
  • I have had successes for over 35 years, never once failed. (see ncrossland post).

    I am with NPower, pay £25 p.mth d.d for gas (£300 p.a.) Get £100 rebate p.a. for dual fuel, awaiting £50 refund this week on bill 1/9/08 to 6/11/08, and rcvd £54 refund on last bill.

    (With Brit. Gas for 33 yrs. also no problem, only changed for the £100 rebate).

    Huge increases on d.d.'s are done by "Automated d.d. Estimation". Speaking to a person has never failed.
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