Energy Direct Debit Overcharging: Reclaim Successes

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


  • I have just today received my 6 month electricity bill from Southern electric and they have overcharged my 10 times more.

    I owe them 9.95 but they want 1031.76£ from me.

    This is the second time this year that they are trying to overcharge me.
  • British Gas wrote to me a couple of weeks ago to say my monthly direct debit was going to rise from £40/month to £88/month because ‘my monthly payments were not enough to cover my usage’. I was shocked at the size of the rise. When I checked my online account statements, I found my accnt was actually £50 in credit. I called to complain (loudly!) : the operator “reassessed” the proposed rise and (surprise surprise) on second view found that actually it was appropriate to keep the payment at £40. (What's more my monthly bills are all based on actual meter readings not estimates so they didnt even have that excuse, and I'm supposed to be on a super-cheap tariff.) Was so shocked at this practice by British Gas.
  • I've been with NPower for about 2 years after switching using USwitch. Last year when I received their letter stating that payments were to increase by 56%, I spent 30 minutes on the phone to a rude member of staff who was basically a 'computer says no' character and really didn't want to help me. In the end I asked to be put through to someone more senior and he put me back in the (very long) queue for the same department! In the end I managed to negotiate a satisfactory increase of 15% taking into account energy price rises.
    This year, therefore, when N Power wrote and advised they were changing my payments from £60 pcm for gas and elec to £92, I was prepared. I always give meter readings when the quarterly bill comes through and have always been in credit, even in winter months so, armed with 18 months of bills, a quote from U switch (showing NPower to be the cheapest for me on a different tariff) and moneysupermarket and loads of advice from this site, I called this morning, ready for a battle! :mad:
    So, I was completely poleaxed by the response I got this time: The lovely young man at NPower patiently listened to my prepared speech (without interrupting, excellent customer service skills:A!) and then looked at the tarrifs, happily switched me to the cheaper one, confirmed that I would now save about 22% on my annual bills and that the payments would actually decrease :j:j:j!
    He's even given me his extension number to callback when I receive all the paperwork in case the payments need adjusting. So, Simon McCue, if you read this, you are my new best friend!
  • Oh, and I keep my £100 cashback I get each year for paying dual fuel on dd. Bonus!
  • When faced with over D/D-ing EnergyCo's, I have succes with two methods:
    1) Cancel my D/D (normally easy with online banking), and wait for EnergyCo to ring you. They will! And it takes far less time than waiting in their phone queue. Say their increase or rate is unfair, and that you will switch supplier unless they lower it. They will, I promise you! Then restart D/D - until the next time...
    2) Switch anyway, get your account up to date and a refund of any overpayments, plus a better tariff, plus extra cashback for the switch.
    "Simples" as someone says!
  • jexygirljexygirl Forumite
    753 Posts
    Hi there,
    long story short... When we bought our buisness, we stayed with the same supplier, and they estimated our DD based on previous usage, fair enough, but we are very conscious about energy saving and within the first 3 months, by replacing all bulbs, not turning on lights if not needed, putting boilers on timers etc, it was clear that we were paying too much. We left it for 6 months, and after getting a bill that again was in credit, we asked for reduced payments and the money back. They told me, if they refunded the credit, then the DD Would increase from £1000 per month, to £1400! This was pre my MSE days! I said ok, lets leave it over winter when consumption increases etc. 6 months later, our payments went up to £1170... despite being still in credit.
    Again repeated the process, they told me we had only had the account for a year and it wasnt a true representation, therefore our payments would again increase to £1500 if we took out the £1500 we were in credit (oh how I wish I had found MSE then!)
    Ok, so the long and short of it... last week I received a letter saying that our payments had been over estimated (you dont say....), and we were now going to be paying £970 per month, down from the £1170 - result...

    Today, they have paid into my buisness account £3300 (accumilated over 2.5 years) which whilst it was fantastic to see, and is a great help with cashflow atm while things are tight, I just think that I should be compensated. How much interest did they get, and why can't I apply to get at least some back proportionally.

    I am fairly new to MSE for my sins, and am awaiting a call back from simply switch about swapping the supplier, but in the mean time am I entitled to claim interest - its a lot of money!

    Thanks for any help and sorry if I posted in the wrong place.

    Savvy_Sue wrote: »
    I will pay jexygirl the compliment of saying that she invariably writes a lot of sense!
    and she finally worked out after 4 months, how to make that quote her sig! :rotfl:
  • British Gas, dual fuel, dd too high and £477 in credit!

    Switched to British Gas 12 months ago and they set DD at £79 which was £30 higher than Npower. Tried to get them to drop it at the time but they managed to 'persuade' me to leave it at that.

    1 year later we are £477 in credit.

    Full amount refunded and DD dropped to £40 thanks to MSE.
  • this may be off topic but my bills seem extremeley high.
    Is there an obligation for gas companies to come out and check why?
    I#ve had the house insulated by the new build company but not much difference in the bill. I've tried all different ways to use less gas... Will they come out?
  • edited 23 February 2010 at 8:38AM
    sandettesandette Forumite
    1 Post
    edited 23 February 2010 at 8:38AM
    After watching you on the morning news about getting my money back for duel fuel overcharging i contacted british gas at 08:00 and i am very pleased to report a refund of 546 pounds and DD dropped by half thank you very very much.:T
  • JasXJasX Forumite
    4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I've always kept a close eye on mine.

    Started with E.on back in 2007 when I bought my place, were a little reluctant to drop my DDs for the first 3-5 months but after they'd established I wasn't using £60 per month gas & electric quickly dripped DD in half and were very prompt giving overpayment refunds whenever I phoned them up every few months.

    Switched to npower for the cashback tried to hit me with a 150% increase in DDs after 6 months using their classic "we're assuming you're going to use double your historical kWH of both electricity and gas this year for no particular reason" trick, phoned up and hit them with some numbers of my typical useage and they backed down to a more reasonable increase in line with actual cost rises of about 15%.

    Just switching now to scottish power for more cashback and will have to see how they get on :)
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