Energy Direct Debit Overcharging: Reclaim Successes

edited 10 June 2010 at 4:33PM in Energy
65 replies 22.3K views


  • I have only been with my supplier since August (Scottish power). I was on a fixed rate tariff paying £62 per month for dual fuel. They sent me an e mail 3 weeks ago telling me that they were increasing my direct debit to £104 per month. I wrote back and told them that i would accept an increase to £84 per month and if they increased it any more I would cancel my direct debit and cancel the contract. They wrote back and said they would only increase it to £84. Power to the people.
  • I had the letter fron Eon telling me that my DD would change from £98 to £145.
    This seemed a bit heavy, so I calculated the rough position as follows.

    Last bill £260 for autumn quarter. Now winter so I would use perhaps £110 per month. My account was in credit by £50.

    I explained that if I use about £330 over winter - the credit ,the cost would be about £ 280. With their DD they would have £485 ( inc. credit )

    After some firm words from me, the operator reduced the DD to £110, I think since I had a reasoned argument. At first it was a stone walled no.

    She explained that it was not now policy to be in debit at the end of winter. I think the companies are just getting as much money up front as they can.

    Hope this helps.
  • I am with EON and had a DD for £90 pm. As at today I am around £30 in arrears, but over 2007 the last four quarters bills came to £960.57, which is £80.05 pm. EON sent me a letter stating they would raise my DD to £123 pm. I called them and they told my a story about some of my bills being estimates (but not the first or last quarter - so irrelevant to consumption in 2007 as a whole). I told them I insisted on a reduction in my DD and they agreed to reduce it to £89. I think it should be nearer to £80 but I accepted this. I am resolved to challenge any increase or significant credit balance going forward and to make sure I have my preceding four quarters bills to hand when doing so. If we all do this they will either have to be more reasonable or they will find their administrative costs are higher than they were for quarterly billing. And (off topic), while feeling riled, I changed my motor insurer and saved £60 - they had increased my quote through inertial selling
  • [..] And (off topic), while feeling riled, I changed my motor insurer and saved £60 - they had increased my quote through inertial selling

    You were feeling riled? To be fair, Mr Norvus, if anyone is to have their quote increased surely a fast riding daddy such as yourself is only fair game! Be patient when you are stuck behind a truck. Specially on those hills.
  • Mr_KMr_K Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    I'm with EON.
    Just had a letter saying my DD is going from £40 to £101. To be fair £40 a month probably wasn't enough, however I'm only £17 in debit. Rang them and they immediately reduced it £85 based on my consumption. So where did the £101 figure come from if £85 was based on consumption ? They're definetly building in some leeway with these new DD's to keep customers happy by reducing it a bit if you quibble (even though its still a substantial increase). Will be switching to EDF in the New Year as they are now cheapest for me. Changing provider is best way of ensuring you pay exactly how much you want to pay, plus get a bit of cashback for switching . I was with them before EON and got £70 for changing. Doubtless I'll switch back again when EDF increase my DD and get more cashback from EON (!) Its a fun game I love it !
  • Rich1976Rich1976 Forumite
    345 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    On my latest gas and electric bills. Swalec stated that the gas would be increasing from £30 to £55 p.m even though I am in credit by £20 and after a strongly worded phonecall to them they have agreed to keep the direct debit the same. I just pointed out to them that they have no real way of knowing how much gas I was going to use and wasn't going to contribute to their profits any more than necessary. I think if you do complain to them they will back down
  • Forumite
    29 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I switched to SP in the autumn just in time to get the cheap fixed tariff. I worked out the cost for both gas and elec would be £63 - about 2% cheaper than my previous provider, but fixed till Aug 09.

    When I say I worked it out I mean it literally - got records of meter readings going back a few years so I was pretty sure what my annual usage was going to be (and the records are very useful to see the effects of any energy saving measures - upstairs wall insulation for instance lopped the winter peak by a third).

    SP originally set the DD at £63 but after a couple of months raised it to £75 - even though I was still £46 in credit! I sent them an email querying this and got a standard "we know better" response. I wrote again asking for a justification of the raise and got a long email explaining that the raise is based on previus provider's data (estimated). I wrote for the third time giving them my own data and a detailed explanaton why I think it should stay as it was. Another answer from SP suggesting a DD of £69. Taking Martin's suggestion I wrote back threatening to refer to the ombudsman and cancel my DD.

    And finally - a result! An email saying that my complaint is being escalated and, a few days later, a suggestion of a DD of £63.90, which I am happy with. Irritating, though, that it takes so many emails to get there - and we ultimately pay for it in our bills.
  • I have managed to reduce a pensioner friend's direct debit for gas supply from British Gas twice. The latest time was on Sunday. The meter was read on 27th November and on the 28th a letter was sent DOUBLING the direct debit. I phoned British Gas and after my friend gave his permission for me to talk to them I gave his current reading and the direct debit was recalculated to LESS that the previous amount - a reduction of 50%! This just goes to show that it is well worth taking the trouble to phone and request a reduction.
    I moved my gas account from British Gas years ago precisely because they always overcharged on the direct debit and the account was always in credit. I am now with EDF and have to say that they have never asked for more money than is necessary to keep the account in balance.
  • Hello all
    This is my first post here and I hope it will be useful.
    My current supplier is EDF and has been over the last year, last year I cleared my obligation with them, that was £7.40 gas underpayment and £93 underpayment on the electric, I currently pay 30 per month gas and 50 per month electric, I am on the online V5 tariff duel fuel.
    I received my quarterly bill for my gas the other day where it stated that they were increasing my monthly DD to £40 per month to cover the annual shortfall of £7.40 that would be a further £120 each year in gas alone. I called them and told them I wouldn’t pay that amount for such a small deficit and explained I cleared my obligation each year so as to start a new year at zero.
    They said I couldn’t change and that was it. So I cancelled my DD and informed them they didn’t like it but they left me on the same tariff after some negotiation and the threat of moving supplier,
    the outcome:
    I retain the DD rate on my energy cost, I pay on quarterly bill cash cheque or online, I do loose the £4 a quarter DD discount.
    I now place the same amount into my savings account that I was giving EDF each month so I do get the benefit however small of my money gaining some interest. It can be done don’t let them dictate what you will pay.
  • We're with Eon and have been told our direct debit will be going up £30, despite our usage not changing much over the last year. I haven't rung them yet, however, I was annoyed when I checked the bill online that next to my bill was a little advert next to it saying something along the lines of Eon - Proud Sponsors of the FA Cup. Over the last year, I've seen they sponsor many other sporting events, but off the top of my head, I can't think of them right now. Hmm, well, you're not having my money in your bank account to pay for something I'm not interested in. If we all accept the direct debit hikes, how many other sporting events will they be sponsoring?

    Anyway, our last direct debit hike was last year and although I can't remember the figures, they had decided that our payment should go up over 50% to what we're paying.

    Rant time - I spoke to their customer services on the phone, having done my homework. We needed an increase, but not 50% increase to what we were paying. I asked the woman how they came to the increase - including asking if their price rises had increased by 50% - no. I asked if the direct debit payment too into consideration the dual fuel discount - no and finally, I asked if they thought to check if our circumstances had changed - what do you mean? Well, we've had double glazing fitted and loft insulation to the max - silence.

    I admit we were in a bit of a debit with them and the woman's excuse for the huge increase was because you haven't got any funds to cover the winter, so it needs to be done. I said it would sort itself in the summer and my money was staying in my account and not in theirs making them huge profits. She eventually agreed to my figure and a year later, we're only £26 in the red with them
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