MSE News: Npower to pay £70m in refunds after billing blunder

edited 1 October 2010 at 1:48AM in Energy
174 replies 21.4K views
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  • ZZZ20ZZZ20 Forumite
    2 Posts
    please advise me on how to go about making a legal charge against npower, including details of a reliable representative, as you appeared to have done this successfully. thanks ZZ
  • ZZZ20ZZZ20 Forumite
    2 Posts
    please advise me on how to go about making a legal charge against npower, including details of a reliable representative, as you appeared to have done this successfully. thanks ZZ

    Here is a link to some Q&A on the consumer focus website
    Also the compensation will cover the full period the changes affected, not just from May 2007.

    As regards the 2004/5 overcharge, this was not considered by C.F. or discussed with npower and will require to be claimed separately.

    I do not find Cardews point unfair. From this end of the keyboard there appeared to be little in the way of input from MSE office. I personally sent email requests for support and these were not responded to. If behind the scenes work was going on then this should have been made clear. As far as I remember this issue was included in only one weekly email in over 2 years it has been running.

    Nevertheless this Forum has been an invaluable vehicle in bringing this issue to its conclusion and for that I am grateful.

    The pity is that there are so many issues for MSE to get involved in that prioritising is difficult. Naturally I feel that this should have been highlighted more but we can't all be winners.
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
    15.1K Posts
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    ZZZ20 wrote: »
    please advise me on how to go about making a legal charge against npower,
    You can do that starting here:
    https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/
    ZZZ20 wrote: »
    including details of a reliable representative,
    You mean a solicitor? Personal recomendation is perhaps the best, assuming you don't already know of a solicitor yourself.
    Or you could look one up in yellow pages
    Or perhaps consult the Law Society who should be able to supply you details of a local solicitor
    The CAB could also provide a list of local solicitors, usually ones that offer a free half hour initial interview.

    But you don't usually need legal representation for a small claim.
    ZZZ20 wrote: »
    as you appeared to have done this successfully. thanks ZZ
    The post you've quoted doesn't suggest to me the poster has done this.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • I can’t help wondering if ZZZ20 is for real. He doesn’t even say if he was an npower customer when the overcharging occurred. If he had been then by now he should have received his compensation from npower. If not why not simply contact npower if he hasn’t received it?

    Why the hurry to rush into a legal battle when npower are already committed to coughing up?

    Why does he need a lawyer? As premier points out it’s only a small claim and as everyone knows he couldn’t recover his lawyer’s costs anyway.

    If he’s referring to a potential claim other than the subject matter of this thread then what is he doing posting here? Please explain ZZZ20. :)
  • edited 22 January 2011 at 2:27PM
    meggsymeggsy Forumite
    741 Posts
    edited 22 January 2011 at 2:27PM
    I've just noticed this on Moneyfacts
    http://moneyfacts.co.uk/news/in-the-papers/?id=201676
    it refers to an article in The Times on 8th January.
    Does anyone have the full report ?

    Also :
    npower twin-tariff scandal: New evidence adds fuel to the fire
    Charles Hendry, Energy Minister, has called on npower to respond to the recent claims that the twin tariff overcharging scandal of 2007-08 runs deeper than expected. Energy giant npower are once again being questioned despite still dealing with the 1.8 million customers who were overcharged three years ago. Question marks now hang over the way the company are calculating refunds and customers are expected to vote with their feet if the company is yet again found to be mischarging its customers.

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=521009&in_page_id=2#ixzz1BlnG7Ogi
  • This like most of the things npower do it was not a blunder, it was an attempted to rip off as many of their customers as they could, a blunder sounds as though it was done by chance. Well we all know npowers track record of dodgy dealings, Best of luck every one trying to get your money back, but how many more have npower got away with ?
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    meggsy wrote: »
    ...Does anyone have the full report ?
    http://www.timesplus.co.uk/tto/news/?login=false&url=http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/money/consumeraffairs/article2866996.ece

    Note: The Times is now a subscription only service.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • meggsymeggsy Forumite
    741 Posts
    Premier wrote: »

    I couldn't wait so I paid my £1 to read the article last night ;)
  • edited 24 January 2011 at 3:33PM
    DirectDebacleDirectDebacle Forumite
    2K Posts
    edited 24 January 2011 at 3:33PM
    meggsy wrote: »
    I couldn't wait so I paid my £1 to read the article last night ;)

    And cheaper than buying the paper @£1.50.

    It is hoped there will be more on this.

    The evidence is that from1/4/2003 all gas customers (1.8m approx) were moved from single price for gas and daily standing charge to the two tier/4572 system. There were exceptions, e.g. pre paymennt A/C and PCAP QDD SC.

    The above 1.8m customers were the total customer base RWE npower gained from the former Innogy group. The customers were split between 7 different suppliers Calortex, Northern Electric and Gas, MEB, Yorks Elec, etc and each had their own billing systems.

    npowers goal was to unify them all on to one system and over the coming years this was done piecemeal fashion until, it is thought May-Nov 2007 when the changeover was complete. It appears that as customers billing systems were amalgamated they were changed from a flat rate charging profile for their high rate units to a seasonally adjusted profile. Each time this was done it appears that this caused an excess of high rate units to be charged.

    We know that on 1/10/2004 some Calortex customers were seasonally weighted and overcharging occurred.

    Also customers on the PCAP QDD Standing Charge tariff would have been switched when they altered their tariff or method of payment. One such customer was seasonally weighted from 1/12/2006 because payment method was changed from QDD to Monthly DD and this caused overcharging.

    1/10/2006 is also a likely date that many accounts were seasonally weighted.

    We also know of the changes made in 2007 which caused overcharging.

    It is likely that this 'blunder' has happened on many more occasions than we know about and npower are admitting.

    Apart from customers on tariffs that could not be changed immediately, there are the customers from all of the smaller companies npower acquired.

    It is these customers The Times wouild like to hear from.

    The overcharging in 2007 which npower is now begrudgingly making payments on is not the 'one off', 'our customers were overall £60.00 better off' they would have you believe. It is very likely the tip of an iceberg of repeated overcharging of customers, in this way, since possibly, 2003.

    npowers method of using a customers anniversary date for calculating re-payments is likely to be to their advantage. With such piecemeal switching from flat to weighted profiles it is likely that 100k's customers date of joining the two tier pricing system is different to their anniversary date.

    It is the date a customer commenced to be charged under the two tier pricing system that should be used as the anniversary date for calculating overcharging.

    For npower to say that this is too complicated for them is unacceptable. It wasn't too complicated for them to charge customers by this method in the first place, was it?

    Full list of companies RWEnpower took over in 2002:

    Calortex
    Independent Energy
    MEB
    MEB Powerline
    National Power Energy Direct
    Yorkshire Electricity
    Northern Electric & Gas
  • This is a follow up to posting #42 back in October 2010.


    After the refund I was paid by npower (£61.95), I wrote pointing out that I believed I was due nearer £90. This was the result of npower’s method of calculating refunds from customers’ anniversary dates rather than from the date on which npower began the infamous seasonal weighting.
    They have claimed that this method was “fairest and most logical”. Well, fairest to them perhaps, as it produces a lower figure for the refund (as DD has pointed out), but certainly not logical. I joined (or rather was absorbed by) npower in 2002! Why on earth treat every customer differently depending on when they joined npower? This surely increases the chance of making the inevitable “computer error” which can be blamed for any underpayment that comes to light later. (Perhaps that’s why they chose that method?)


    Having pointed this out many times in my letters to npower, and having received replies from seven different individuals in the corridors of npower, all of whom avoided answering my various questions, I was eventually offered £50 as a “goodwill gesture” – the usual ploy. I had requested twice this amount – representing what I estimated the correct refund to be plus some very modest recognition of my time, labour and frustration - so I rejected this and threatened them with the Ombudsman.


    An email came the next day offering what I had demanded…. as “a goodwill gesture”!
    The cheque arrived today.



    The moral of this little story? Don’t let them get away with it! If you have received a payment recently, make sure you check your bills and try to work out how much you should have been paid. Alternatively, if you have not been refunded anything, try a phone call and ask for details.

    Finally (for me at least) a very big vote of thanks to DD and all the other helpful contributors to the forum. You are doing a great job and long may your efforts bring to light the injustice done to npower customers, past and present.
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