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MSE News: Annual energy statements 'not working'

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
9 replies 1.6K views
MSE_GuyMSE_Guy MSE Staff
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Just 37% of households say they have received an annual bill, introduced last year under compulsory new rules ..."

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  • MacMicksterMacMickster Forumite
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    Even when an annual statement is received, energy companies themselves try to insist that these are not accurate.

    My father-in-law, who is in his mid eighties, recently received his annual statement from Npower at the same time as a notification that his monthly direct debits were being increased by over 20% (a big hit to a pensioner on a low fixed income).

    Using his annual statement and tariff details I calculated that with the increased payments he would overpay by almost £200 over the course of the year. I phoned Npower on his behalf and was initially told that I was mistaken in using the annual statement as Npower had calculated the payment using "actual figures". I referred to previous bills and confirmed that the annual statement did, indeed, reflect the actual usage over the previous 12 months. The adviser still insisted that the direct debits could not be reduced.

    I then had a discussion wth a manager who suggested that the increased direct debits were to protect the customer from future price rises. After I pointed out that prices had only just risen substantially, I had used the new tariff details in my calculations and that the highest energy usage would be over the winter (now) the manager reluctantly agreed to reduce the direct debits by £15 per month.

    What is the point of these statements if the energy companies themselves ignore them?
    "When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
    15.1K posts
    I think it is a lttle unfair to blame the layout or design issues.

    As the uswitch survey found 56% said they hadn't received one or failed to recognise they have had one.

    I have seen bills from all the major 6 suppliers (except possibly EDF) and they all have had the annual statement included. Some are particularly striking. e.g. British Gas includes it as a clearly marked separate sheet.

    It probably is true that about half those questioned probably didn't notice care. I'm convinced by the posts on MSE that many people do not read their bills fully - probably many just look to see how much they have been billed.

    Furthermore how many people have still never changed supplier? I thought that was about 50% so the results don't strike me as surprising. Those who have no interest in switching suppliers or otherwise ensuring they are on the best deal probably have no interest in reading the annual statement, and even if they did, probably forget about it as it is of no interest. All they want to know is how much do they owe the supplier.
    "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'm with scottish gas.. received my annual electric staement .. in fact i've received three.. two updated ones... didn't tell me how much i used at teir one and at teir two.. i am payg prepayment.. no way of checking how much i am charged at different teirs.. i did my own calculations and it appears my electricity has increased by 15% .. not 7%... it stated that if i used the same amount this year as i did last year i would be charged 'x' amount.. (don't have figures to hand).. the difference between last years cost and this years cost is 15% .. not 7%...
  • I_luv_catsI_luv_cats Forumite
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    I am lucky to get a statement and think I only get one fuel only.

    I use Ebico I-measure so I can keep track myself. I input meter readings every week, if you forget it will average out the missing week.

    It is really good as it gives you a running total, graphs, weekly spends, co2, energy rating etc.
  • davidgmmafandavidgmmafan Forumite
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    I am inclined to agree with Premier. Whilst I regard this as a step in the right direction its only going to be useful to certain people. A lot of consumersneed to be educated to make good decision with regard to utilities. How this can be done I'm not sure.

    The number of people who demand a refund just prior to the onset of Winter confirms people don't understand how it works...
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
  • fiendishlycleverfiendishlyclever Forumite
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    Forget annual statements - all we want is transparency and prices we can compare easily.

    I changed supplier recently and comparing is a nightmare. They all charge varying prices for the first units supplied (the old standing charge) and then different prices for the remaining units.

    There should be some kind of standardisation so consumers can compare prices without the aid of a switching website or a complicated spreadsheet!

    But what do I know?
  • Dave_saveDave_save Forumite
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    I never stay with one supplier long enough to actually qualify for an 'annual statement'!
  • davidgmmafandavidgmmafan Forumite
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    Ironically a standing charge would make comparisons much easier if everyoneused them but customers don't like standing charges. See I knew it the customer is NOTalwaysright :)
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
  • Ironically a standing charge would make comparisons much easier if everyoneused them but customers don't like standing charges. See I knew it the customer is NOTalwaysright :)

    Standing charges would not make comparisons easier. I agree the customer is usually not right, though.
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