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

edited 1 October 2010 at 1:48AM in Energy
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  • For those of you wishing to do your own calculations here is a link to npowers seasonal weighting tables.

    https://customerservices.npower.com/app/answers/websearch_detail/a_id/95/session/L3NpZC9BQml6SHNiaw%3D%3D/kw/seasonal%20weighting/r_id/10016/sno/0

    You will see two tables. The first table contains the monthly Primary Block units allocated to each month from November 2007 onwards and are still current.

    Scroll down to the second table which is for the Tracker and Fixed 2009 monthly allocation. These monthly figures are the ones that were used by npower up to and including April 2007.

    From May 2007 to October 2007 npower allocated 381kWh to each of those six months.

    In my previous post using the example of December 2006 to October 2007 and npowers tables it is a simple matter of adding the units allocated to each month in that period.

    Dec 580.64 Jan 630.94, Feb 621.79, Mar 557.78, April 448.06, May-Oct 381 each (6*381)

    Total 5125.21kWh. kWh are rounded up or down so = 5125kWh.

    Incorrectly charged units = 5125-4572 = 553kWh in this example.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    PhylPho wrote: »

    Where the electricity was concerned, this went from 13.77p per kWh including VAT for the first 225 used per quarter to 17.30p per kWh including VAT. The remaining kWhs stayed at 10.49p per unit. I now see that EDF intends to charge 17.76p for the first 225 kWhs per quarter used and 10.76p for the rest.

    I know I should keep my energy bills but after I'm happy that the meter readings are accurate, I tend to bin them. (I pay by Direct Debit.)

    But deciding to while away a bit of time this morning, I took out my EDF billing file and idly thumbed through it. I found one electricity bill in that folder. Sadly, there's no sign of the others. The bill is for the period 29th March to 9th July this year. The bill says I used 2,070 units. It then goes on to itemise the cost. As will be imagined, the cost is made up of the charge for the first 225 units and the next 1845.

    Except. . . It isn't.

    Now that I come to look more carefully, a digit has been transposed.

    Under the heading "unit split", the bill says that 252 -- not 225 -- units have been charged (excluding VAT) at 16.480p, and the "next 1818" at 9.990p (excluding VAT.)

    My first reaction on seeing this -- and I have the bill in front of me as I write -- was that an error occurred and it's hardly worth bothering about.

    My next reaction was that EDF would hardly send me a "bespoke" bill in the sense that the transposition of the digits occurs on my paperwork alone: other EDF customers' bills will vary according to useage, but surely not the "unit split" figure?

    Finally. . . I have begun to wonder if this transposition of 225 kWhs into 252 kWhs was unique to the billing period March-July 2010: what earlier electricity bills might I have received from EDF where the "unit split" figures were transposed??

    Until recently it would've been possible for me to go online and examine my billing record but I am now no longer an EDF customer, so my online account is closed. I certainly did used to look at that record online, though never noticed anything amiss.

    Then again though, I've had to look twice at the bill in front of me to actually spot the difference: the rearrangement of the unit split digits simply doesn't register on a casual glance.

    My first thought was to shrug this off as the over-charge involved is hardly large. One quarter's bill, one billing error. Except:

    * if it wasn't just that one bill, but others preceding it where the transposition had gone unnoticed;

    * if it wasn't just me, but thousands of other EDF customers billed for that March-July quarter on the wrong unit split;

    * and if it wasn't just that one bill for thousands of EDF customers but for other quarterly bills preceding it. . .

    . . . Then in theory, wouldn't EDF have profited considerably from charges it should never have claimed?

    It may be a simple transposition of digits, but multiply the consequence of that many times and what started off as a one-off loose-change anomaly in my case begins to look somewhat different.

    I'm unsure what to do next -- if anything. :(

    Advice appreciated.

    Unfortunately EDF are correct.

    The tier 1 charge is 900 units pa(225 a quarter). What it seems you haven't appreciated is that the charge is pro-rata.

    So 900kWh divided by 365.25 is 2.464kWh a day.

    The period 29 March to 09 July is 102 days(i.e. more than a 91 day quarter) so 252 kWh is correct.
  • PhylPhoPhylPho Forumite
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    Hi Cardew -- many thanks for clearing that up so very quickly! Sorry to have been a nuisance and left you having to work out all the arithmetic. I will delete the post so it doesn't waste space on here. Again, many thanks.
  • ShamblerShambler Forumite
    767 Posts
    I was with NPower from 2007 to 2009 on a dual fuel plan.

    What I would like to know is how on earth they will know if they overcharged.

    When I switched last year they sent me a final bill and the meter reading on the bill was lower than the meter reading I gave them when I moved in!...despite me giving them regular readings and meter readers calling.

    Imagine 2 years of dual fuel and the meter reading on your final bill was lower than when you moved in...and they still said I owed them £200.

    I queried this and the sent another bill, again with it seemed totally random meter readings plucked from goodness knows where and this time they owed me £170!

    Is this par for the course with NPower?
  • Shambler wrote: »
    I was with NPower from 2007 to 2009 on a dual fuel plan.

    What I would like to know is how on earth they will know if they overcharged.
    You have to have been on one of the relevant tariffs, not all are included in this refund deal. If you still have your bills then you can follow the info on this thread and work it out for yourself.
    Shambler wrote: »
    When I switched last year they sent me a final bill and the meter reading on the bill was lower than the meter reading I gave them when I moved in!...despite me giving them regular readings and meter readers calling.

    Does the bill show metric rather than cubic ft readings? this might (partially) explain it. I had a similar issue when I was supposed to have a new meter installed, but it didnt happen. A year later they suddenly decided it had, and started billing me on this...When the new meter was finally installed it began another round of errors by them.
    Shambler wrote: »
    Is this par for the course with NPower?
    I my exerience of over 10 years:eek: as a customer I would have to say yes.
  • tommad wrote: »
    any ideas what to do if you were an Npower customer then, but have both moved house and changed suppliers?
    Thanks!

    You need to ring the helpline, they won't be able to find you unless you have a Royal Mail redirect on since they are sending refunds via the PO.
    :rotfl: It's better to live 1 year as a tiger than a lifetime as a worm...but then, whoever heard of a wormskin rug!!!:rotfl:

  • I also understand that npower will not be compensating those that they have already compensated. I know in many cases npower were offering 'goodwill' payments to those that complained of being overcharged. These 'goodwill' payments were typically around £25 initially. I do not know what npowers approach will be to those that accepted a 'goodwill' payment less than they were actually overcharged.

    My view is that they should pay the shortfall but I would recommend calling the helpline no. in the first instance.

    How do you know they won't be refunding people whom they gave 'goodwill' payments, please?. My 'goodwill' payment quite specifically said it was nothing to do with over charging but was to do with the delay in responding to my complaint.
    KE veteran - life seemed so much simpler then!
  • How do you know they won't be refunding people whom they gave 'goodwill' payments, please?. My 'goodwill' payment quite specifically said it was nothing to do with over charging but was to do with the delay in responding to my complaint.

    Thats a good point because GOGW is always to cover a poor service issue. Often used when customers complain about phone call/letter, inconvenience costs etc.

    I can't remember seeing anything that mentioned deducting GOGW from what they owe. It wouldn't surprise me though!
    :rotfl: It's better to live 1 year as a tiger than a lifetime as a worm...but then, whoever heard of a wormskin rug!!!:rotfl:
  • edited 3 October 2010 at 6:08PM
    DirectDebacleDirectDebacle Forumite
    2K Posts
    edited 3 October 2010 at 6:08PM
    How do you know they won't be refunding people whom they gave 'goodwill' payments, please?. My 'goodwill' payment quite specifically said it was nothing to do with over charging but was to do with the delay in responding to my complaint.

    From what I understand previous payments will be deducted from what npower determine they owe you. E.g. if you received a £25.00 goodwill payment and npower determine they owe you £50.00 then you will receive £25.00. I don't expect them to demand re-imbursing if their goodwill payment was more than the actual overcharge.

    The method of payout and who qualifies is found here:

    http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/energy-help-and-advice/npower-gas-announcement

    I am sure npower are going to count any goodwill payment previously made in respect of a sculpting claim as deductable. If you disagree then there is a 'sculpting' thread on how to go about claiming:)
  • edited 3 October 2010 at 6:17PM
    Terrylw1Terrylw1 Forumite
    7K Posts
    edited 3 October 2010 at 6:17PM
    From what I understand previous payments will be deducted from what npower determine they owe you. E.g. if you received a £25.00 goodwill payment and npower determine they owe you £50.00 then you will receive £25.00. I don't expect them to demand re-imbursing if their goodwill payment was more than the actual overcharge.

    The method of payout and who qualifies is found here:

    http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/energy-help-and-advice/npower-gas-announcement

    CF's comment on this is quite vague.

    I received a refund from npower in 2009, will I still receive a payment?

    If you have previously received a refund the former amount will be deducted from the new payment. For example, if they you are entitled to a £50 payment, but received a refund of £6 previously, you will now receive £44.


    If you have received a refund for overcharge, they are definately going to only give you the difference if you didn't get enough.

    GOGW's are different. They are an admission of poor service and a compensation for that e.g. call costs, hassle, etc. They are not the same, so it could be that people could retain the GOGW and get the full refund.

    GOGW's are never normally deducted from additional refunds for anything else. It would be a very negative thing to do because it signifies that they don't admit liability for the loss in service they awarded it for.

    It would be worth CF making that clear.

    Perhaps the Npower rep on this board can post something about that? Or have we given them a way to make £70m turn into £30m? ;)
    :rotfl: It's better to live 1 year as a tiger than a lifetime as a worm...but then, whoever heard of a wormskin rug!!!:rotfl:
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