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MSE News: Npower to be investigated by Ofgem following billing backlash

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Npower's being forced to meet targets to correct its billing problems and improve its complaints procedure ...
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Npower to be investigated by Ofgem following billing backlash
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  • zaax
    zaax Posts: 1,910 Forumite
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    Npower should not be doing any telesale until the billing problem is sorted out. All tele staff should be used to sort the billing problem out.

    Ofgem should be removing their licence to operate not a small fine.
    Do you want your money back, and a bit more, search for 'money claim online' - They don't like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring
  • zag2me
    zag2me Posts: 695 Forumite
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    That is the most stupid sanction I have ever heard.

    They have these huge issues and all they are being threatened with is to stop telesales? Surely if they were any good they would not need telesales and customers would come to them!

    how weak..
    Save save save!!
  • Andy_WSM
    Andy_WSM Posts: 2,217 Forumite
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    I fail to see how a fine of "up to £300m" will help here?

    They clearly have major IT / Software issues that need fixing by whoever provides the billing software. They should be prevented from taking on new customers NOW until this issue is resolved.

    How will a fine fix this? Who will benefit from this? Not the average consumer, that's for sure!

    (edit - Info on fine came from Sky News website).
  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,448 Forumite
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    Agree with all above, seems a soft sanction to me

    Prohibiting all bills and claim for payment over 6 months old would surely put a firework up their bums?
    Eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred other peoples gardens
  • jcontest
    jcontest Posts: 223 Forumite
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    edited 19 June 2014 at 3:36PM
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    My last "Bill" with Npower was Sep18, 2013!

    Their bills are still going to be confusing to the masses, regardless of how much they want to "simplify" them.

    They also start demanging readings so they can generate a bill, but last year they ended up generating 3 bills over about two weeks, due ot the fact that their system used each new reading (that they asked for) to recalculate new bills.

    What makes it difficult to understand is that they maintan a balance to pay your "bill" and then adjust that balance. So in the case of 3 bills (only one being official) thy lowered balance, refunded balance, lowered balance, refunded balance, then lowered balance again, and then mailed me a actual refund.

    At the moment I am, they say, £1620.78 in "Credit", but my bill goes back to Sep 2013 so I know that the real value there will be a lot lower.

    There also appears to be a change in tarrif (One that I have no notice of) removing the "standing charge" for my daily electricity and instead replacing it with the low-tier-high-tier usage system again. The price difference between the two is about £150.

    When I looked to switch several times in the past then I found it difficult to compare, because everyone "Even comparision sites" want to tell me what I will "Save", and those sites will often incorrectly assume what my real payments are. Even Npower are now in on this and they tell consumer what the "Tarrif Comparision Rate" is. I am smart enough to know LowRate*Cost + Highrate*Cost = Total Cost...But all suppliers try to hide their cost in a way that it becomes totally confusing.

    I also have solar panels, so I deal with SSE on the other side of things (getting paid for electricity)... They make payments late to me every month.. If I report on the first day of my cycle, that 3 weeks to issue payement (Contract states 3 weeks)... They claim they have the legal right to wait 63 days beyond this as it is a Buisness-to-Buisness payment. (60 days late + 3 days for payment to hit account)... I know phone them 2 days before my Contractual date to receive the money arrives and if payment hasnt been issued (It hasnt for the past 3 payments) I make them process it on the phone there and then, or demand that we sit down to amend the contract. Amazingly it takes about 30 seconds and I receive the money 2-3 days later.
  • Caddyman
    Caddyman Posts: 342 Forumite
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    I must be one of the very lucky NPower customers. To be honest, I've never had an issue with late billing as my account is entirely online. I provide regular monthly meter readings for both gas and electric and I pay by direct debit.

    The only issues I have had is, they seem to think they know how much energy I will use over a 12 month period and from my experience they absolutely can't get this right. I know pretty much exactly how much energy I will use and I've been right for the last six years. They will automatically increase or decrease my monthly payment as they see fit, but their software must be garbage because they will increase it by £25 a month even if my bill went just £5 in debit just before the next monthly payment and then they will decrease it again a couple of months later when the system understands that my energy useage is going to be less than it predicted. I'm currently £200 in credit and I estimate that by the time my next bill is produced, I'll be about £250 in credit after my bill has been paid but at no point does NPower ever refund anything back to me unless I ask for it. I thought they were supposed to refund automatically once a certain credit amount had been reached? What is worse is if I do ask for a refund of credit they insist on paying any credit back by cheque, which is utterly stupid seeing as they debit my bank account every month and could quite easily refund my bank account using the same details. I wouldn't mind, but receiving a cheque means I have to physically go to my bank to deposit it and that costs me money in time and travel! I'm sorry, but paying back credit by cheque is awkward, backward and an unfit method of payment for many people these days.

    I sympathise greatly with any affected customers by the way.
  • chanz4
    chanz4 Posts: 10,925 Forumite
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    Didn't they make their experienced billing staff redundant, if so how will they clear the backlogs. Also I believe they are using a company in india correct me if Im wrong?
    Don't put your trust into an Experian score - it is not a number any bank will ever use & it is generally a waste of money to purchase it. They are also selling you insurance you dont need.
  • ftm1983
    ftm1983 Posts: 15 Forumite
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    chanz4 wrote: »
    Didn't they make their experienced billing staff redundant, if so how will they clear the backlogs. Also I believe they are using a company in india correct me if Im wrong?

    A lot of their back office stuff has gone to India, but the call centres are still in the UK.

    A few of their departments were taken over by an agency so some staff are agency, some are still nPower.

    The system is awful, full of bugs and will take a long time to be rectified. I used to work for them before walking out a few months ago - they are too concerned with staff meeting targets rather than solving queries (mainly why I left!)
  • davehsug
    davehsug Posts: 80 Forumite
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    chanz4 wrote: »
    Didn't they make their experienced billing staff redundant, if so how will they clear the backlogs. Also I believe they are using a company in india correct me if Im wrong?
    500 billing staff finishing with the closing of the Stoke site next week.
  • undercover_peon
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    chanz4 wrote: »
    Didn't they make their experienced billing staff redundant, if so how will they clear the backlogs. Also I believe they are using a company in india correct me if Im wrong?

    This is 100% correct. I strongly suspect Npower will 'resolve' the backlog by sending out bills they know to be incorrect. If you have some time to kill and are on facebook search for npower boycott. Some gems on their revealed by staff in the know.

    It simply isn't good enough to say ah but the call centers will stay in the UK. If the enquires sent overseas are complex this is madness of the highest order.

    Also Ofgem is utterly pathetic. They first began to move to this system (I believE) THREE YEARS AGO.

    They have been unable to send out contracts as a lengthy thread on here demonstrates. If that doesn't breach a licence condition then I don't know what does.

    "Ofgem should be removing their licence to operate not a small
    fine."

    I agree with this, they have already had too many chances.
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