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Symbio Energy feedback

edited 4 February 2019 at 7:00PM in Energy
2.2K replies 122.6K views


  • MABLEMABLE Forumite
    4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Tafrock wrote: »
    I haven't had such an email yet. Thanks for the warning. Ill switch away at earliest opportunity if they go down that route. How long have you been a customer. Have they taken your direct debits on time. I've not had an initial bill yet or had any direct debit taken but I wasn't expecting one for a couple of weeks yet

    I joined on the 12 April and have given them a meter read at the start of this month. Not requested just me being proactive. Also no mention of a bill as yet. Also I have not been contacted regarding paying in advance. If they try that old trick I'm off. Bulb were only slightly dearer.
  • TafrockTafrock Forumite
    631 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'm in the same boat as you mable. No mention of a bill. My '"friends" over at powershop are keeping me updated on the switch progress (it's taken place but symbio haven't yet confirmed my opening read)

    If things continue this way I won't be sticking around. Remember when I asked the question about reclaiming excess credit or paying monies I owe them due to an underestimation of usage I was told I would be billed for what i use ie I pay the bill as its issued. I'm happy with that arrangement as long as bills remain monthly. I didn't sign up to that though I signed up to a fixed monthly direct debit
  • edited 3 May 2019 at 2:51PM
    TafrockTafrock Forumite
    631 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 3 May 2019 at 2:51PM
    They kind of mention of advance payments being necessary in frequently asked question number 13.

    If they abide by this rule that is posted on their website then I'm OK with it

    This is a fair and reasonable question. After all, why can we afford to be cheaper without going bust when the others are so much more expensive?

    The electricity market is complex with many, many, counterparties in the market and each of these parties adds to the price of electricity. The biggest cost is staffing in a complex market and of course in the case of the larger companies, shareholders and expensive management boards.

    Symbio Energy can mitigate this as a new entrant by utilising the latest software solutions and architecture to minimise staff costs and of course, we do not have a bloated management structure.

    Our hope is to emulate the growth in low cost airlines by concentrating on technology, increasing efficiency and minimising waste costs. Most importantly, the failures in the industry have arisen due to cash flow management. This is difficult as the price of energy fluctuates dramatically and due to customers, that fail to pay. Failure occurs if sufficient buffers of cash have not been kept addressing unexpected spikes in energy prices and provisions for climate change.

    Symbio is currently sending bills, a month after an effective switch and monies are collected up to 4 weeks later. This is a huge strain as credit and bank costs are onerous. Hence like the rest of the industry we will be moving to taking a direct debit based on the estimated advance usage by a customer for the forthcoming month. The bill once invoiced will be set off against the monies held on account and a balancing payment requested equivalent to estimated consumption of energy expected. When a customer leaves, the final bill will be a small refund to the customer or a small final bill.

    In order to keep prices low, we only offer direct debit tariffs at present so that delayed payments do not affect the company and the many customers who are able to pay on time.

    We do however understand that circumstances change and we will always find ways of assisting those in trouble due to a change of circumstance.
  • fewkestefewkeste Forumite
    471 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Treewood wrote: »
    Symbio have pulled the stunt of changing my:

    "Symbio 1 Year Fixed February 2019 v2"

    contact from being pay on receipt of bill, to one requiring an advance payment, which means I have to pay two bills in one month (One the normal bill - the other the advance payment). They say I can either accept it in return for a £5.00 credit plus a 2 month contract extension or leave. A contract extension is of course worthless if they cease trading, and I do wonder if they are using this trick to improve their cashflow.

    They argue this is necessary to contain their costs. However one reason for chosing this tariff is that I do not want to pay upfront and then experience hassle getting overpayment returned when I leave. Furthermore I had hoped by entering a 12 month contract I would not be immediately trying to change supplier again.

    This (and other comments on the forum) makes me wonder how long Symbio will last.

    I wonder if they can legally and contractually do that? It might be worth a quick call to the Ombudsman or the regulator to ask if they can impose changes like that part way through your contract with them.
  • TafrockTafrock Forumite
    631 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'm with you fewkeste. I didn't think they could legally do that just as you couldn't advise them you no longer want to pay monthly if that's what you've signed up to. They can suggest it and if you desire you can accept it but they can't force you to go down the advance payment route
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  • TafrockTafrock Forumite
    631 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Is it possible you could share this email with us tree wood. Just edit it to remove any personal information.
  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
    6.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Weird that Symbio have vanished from Citizens Advice site (powered by Energylynx?) but still appears on USwitch.
  • TreewoodTreewood Forumite
    10 posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    My take on this is that advance payments may be reasonable for the reasons they state, but this should be agreed before the start of the contract. Changing this a month or so later is not acceptable. It suggests they do not have a clear business strategy - unless confusion and manipulation is part of that strategy...
  • TreewoodTreewood Forumite
    10 posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Here is the text of the email I received:

    Thank you for choosing Symbio Energy as your electricity provider. We have consistently been the cheapest electricity provider overall (including dual tariffs) for the last two months and we continue to offer genuine low-cost electricity to the market.

    We write with respect to our current terms and conditions of the tariff you are currently enjoying. As a company, we have moved to advance payments only. This avoids the need for customer credit checks, reducing the size of the credit control department and also removes the cost of finance to provide this credit.
    Customers who do not pay on time or have to be chased for payments add to the cost of electricity for those who pay on-time. This is common practice with many suppliers in the market.

    We are currently collecting your electricity bill in arrears and this is increasing our costs. In order to remain competitive and continue to offer genuine competition in the electricity market, we need to change your tariff to advance collection in line with the electricity market.

    We are NOT changing our prices or the price of your tariff. We are simply moving to advance payment. In summary it means we will take a sum of amount equivalent to one month’s average electricity consumption based upon the estimates you have provided us when you joined or an Estimated Annual Consumption (EAC) based on the profile class of your premises.

    In May, you will receive your bill for April’s electricity consumption and the Direct debit payment for this will be taken from your account by the 15th May unless otherwise arranged. We will then request another Direct Debit for the May electricity consumption. This will be taken from your account on or around the 3rd June 2019. This will be the May advance payment and will be referenced electricity advance.

    In mid-June 2019, we will issue your May 2019 energy bill. Thereafter, you will receive an energy bill on a normal monthly basis thereafter, with the next energy bill issued in the first week of July 2019 and payment taken mid-July 2019.

    At the end of the contract, if we are holding a surplus, we will refund this. If there is a deficit, we will issue a final bill to you. In most cases, there is only a small variance at the end of the contract. The other benefit of moving to this method is that we only require a meter reading every 3 months. This will reduce the hassle of providing readings every month.

    We understand, this may not accord with your wishes and therefore you are entitled to switch to another electricity supplier. You have 21 working days from the date of this letter to change supplier or we will assume you accept the change of Terms and Conditions. If you do accept, as a thank you for the inconvenience, we will provide:
    • A credit of £5 to your next electricity bill.
    • Extend your contract period for an additional 2 months so that you are charged a cheaper rate for a while longer and don’t have to worry about the rise in prices

    Please do not hesitate to call customer services if you require any further clarity. We hope you choose to stay with Symbio Energy.

    We are truly grateful for your support of Symbio Energy and we welcome any feedback. We will always try to do better and be better. If have failed in our efforts, please accept our sincere apologies.

    Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Customer Services Team on 0800 041 8110 or email us at [EMAIL=""][email protected][/EMAIL] The Customer Service hours are from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

    Kind regards,
    Customer Services
  • TafrockTafrock Forumite
    631 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Most of that makes sense except for the bit about no need for monthly readings

    Who wants to wait 3 months for an accurate quarterly bill nowadays I for one don't

    I'm happy with all other aspects of the arrangement they suggest. It's what most people do anyway. You pay monthly in advance of your bill. Your bill comes and they detail the cost of your electricity based on your meter readings. They then take what you've paid and offset it against your bill for the billing period (be it monthly, quarterly or whatever).

    I require a monthly bill. Based on monthly readings. I don't want to wait 3 months to find out I'm overpaying or underpaying

    After all monthly bills is what I signed up to
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