Held Hostage By NPOWER

in Energy
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DCA1983DCA1983 Forumite
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Hi,

I've been having problems with Npower since we switched from British Gas in 2005. Unfortunately I have never been able to leave them as I have always owed an outstanding balance. The problems started with Npower undercharging us when the direct debits were set up, leaving us with a bill we could not afford to pay. Direct Debits have been increased over the years from £60per mth to £176per mth but the balance has continued to grow. Some months the direct debts have been cancelled by both me and Npower if there has not been enough money in the account that month to pay it. I have called Npower today to reset up a direct debit but they are refusing to do this because it has been cancelled twice in the last 12 months, the only way they will reset it is if I pay them 50% of the o/s balance which is £450, something I can not afford. Their only suggestion is prepayment meters, either I agree to this or they will obtain a warrant to do so. I have agreed and rang again and spoken to someone else who has advised exactly the same. I don't know what to do as I really don't want to be on a meter. I have thought about closing the account as it is in my name and have my boyfried open up an account in his name with another supplier. I would probably be sent to a dca for the o/s Npower balance but then I would be able to set up affordable monthly repayments. Do you think that this is possible as the Npower account is only in my name? Any advice appreciated.

Thanks
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Replies

  • t0rt0iset0rt0ise Forumite
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    What you suggest with changing account names will not work. If your boyfriend takes over the account he would have to be with Npower first before chanaging suppliers. You can't just start a new account with another supplier.

    You will have to accept the prepayment meters. If you don't then they will get a court order and add the cost of the court application to your debt. With a prepayment meter you will only have to pay back a very small amount each week so it is probably the best option.
  • victor2victor2 Forumite, Ambassador
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    If you're paying £176/month, but using more gas and electricity than that, then maybe you should look at ways to cut back on usage. Of course, if a significant part of the £176 is going towards the debt, then perhaps your usage is not so bad. It depends on what type of house/occupancy etc. you have.
    A prepayment meter is not that bad. It certainly isn't the cheapest way to pay for your utilities, but it will give you some discipline towards your usage.
    If you're able to pay £176 a month and the debt is £450, then I'm sure you'll be able to clear it in a relatively short time.

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the In My Home MoneySaving, Energy and Techie Stuff boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. 

    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.

  • DCA1983DCA1983 Forumite
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    Thanks for your replies :) I didn't realise my boyfriend would have to be with Npower first before switching. They say we use £100 a month in gas/electric so £76 goes off the debt, don't know if this is good/bad for a 2 bed terrace with no-one in 9-5weekdays? It's my own fault for not sticking with the direct debits in the first place :( I may have to just bite the bullet and have the meters fitted, they are due to come on 23rd, might be able to juggle stuff to scrape the £450 together but it will just put me behind with other stuff. I admit I am useless when it comes to budgeting and this is what bothers me with prepayment meters. Anyway what's done is done, just thought there might have been some hope with switching! Thanks again for your replies
  • edited 31 March 2012 at 6:03PM
    macmanmacman Forumite
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    edited 31 March 2012 at 6:03PM
    The fact that you keep cancelling the DD's and thereby breach the agreed repayment scheme clearly shows that you cannot manage the existing debt with a credit meter (especially if the debt is up to 7 years old), so a voluntary PPM is the only logical way forward-that way it's managed for you.
    At present your payments aren't even reducing it, so they will not allow that to continue for long. Have you submitted regular readings so that the bills are actual and not estimated?
    Don't wait until they impose a PPM and have the added warrant costs on top added to your debt.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • meggsymeggsy Forumite
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    If this has been going on since 2005 do you know if your bills have been accurate ? Can you tell us which tariff you are on and whether you give regular meter reads etc., does the tariff have a discount and if so was it credited to your account every year ?

    npower are particularly devious as I found out over 4 years.
  • victor2victor2 Forumite, Ambassador
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    DCA1983 wrote: »
    They say we use £100 a month in gas/electric so £76 goes off the debt, don't know if this is good/bad for a 2 bed terrace with no-one in 9-5weekdays?

    It sounds a little high, but it depends on what you use, particularly when it comes to heating. Also depends on the tariff you're on.
    You could read your meters daily for a few weeks and note what was running between the times readings were taken. Takes a bit of effort but costs you nothing to do.
    DCA1983 wrote: »
    I admit I am useless when it comes to budgeting and this is what bothers me with prepayment meters.
    You don't have to budget with a prepayment meter, either you've got credit on it or you haven't, and therefore have no service. You do have to put credit on it though, so will have to have money for that. It will make you watch what you use too!

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the In My Home MoneySaving, Energy and Techie Stuff boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. 

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  • rising_from_the_ashesrising_from_the_ashes Forumite
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    DCA1983 wrote: »
    They say we use £100 a month in gas/electric so £76 goes off the debt, don't know if this is good/bad for a 2 bed terrace with no-one in 9-5weekdays?
    victor2 wrote: »
    It sounds a little high, but it depends on what you use, particularly when it comes to heating. Also depends on the tariff you're on.

    Personally, I'd say it was more than a little high!

    I pay £64/month for a 3 bed semi so £100/month for a 2 bed flat sounds pretty extortionate to me!

    Do you turn things off / leave radiators on in rooms when you're not in them? You need to work out how you're using this much and work on cutting back.
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  • Npower are very expensive I moved in here and they were the suppliers they estimated my first quarters bill at £300!!! Actual bill was £50 electric only autumn quarter switched to another supplier and winter quarter was £40
  • If your boyfriend stated you had moved out and he moved in, they would close your account and open his. He could switch straight away to get away from them if out wished, but it would need to be in his name. This closed debt would normally be expected as one payment but they will be open to plans if thy are short. If they don't like it, they will sell the debt off to a collection agency where you will have to set a plan up.

    The only other problem would be if they asked for a copy of a tenancy agreement if you rent since that would reimplicate you.

    You could try, but there is no guarantee that he doesn't get someone who may ask...but unlikely in my opinion as they do occupier changes over the phone and use tenancy agreements when disputes arise later.
    :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:
  • EdwardiaEdwardia Forumite
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    I would challenge NPower over the amount you're using and anount you owe.

    OH switched us to NPower when a salesman came round door to door and I got home and told him he was a blathering idiot we were on a fixed price with EDF. Called NPower immediately they said they woulc cancel and didn't. Called EDF and asked them to help. NPower dragged feet for a year before switching us back.

    We weren't allowed for some obscure reason to pay either company so when we got back to EDF had a huge bill. It just seemed so ridiculously high that I had EDF check our meter and redo calculation and it turned out that we should have been billed as dual fuel and hadn't been and we also got new meter.

    We pay £84 pcm DD for large 4 bed house gas AND electricity so yours does seem very expensive to me.
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