Solarplicity banned from taking on new customers - MSE News

Energy supplier Solarplicity has been banned from taking on new customers for three months, or until it improves its customer service...
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'Solarplicity banned from taking on new customers'
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  • I signed up with a different supplier who were subsequently taken over by Solarplicity. Their customer service was very poor. They couldn't cope with Economy 7 (although the original supplier could) and persistently got my Day and Night readings the wrong way round. Got some compensation for the hours I spent wrangling with their support people.
    If your outgoings exceed your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.
    -- Moe Howard of The Three Stooges explaining economics to brother Curley
  • jordan1985
    jordan1985 Posts: 4 Newbie
    First Anniversary
    edited 22 February 2019 at 1:11PM
    I'm with Solarplicity (originally from LoCO2) and can confirm customer service is dreadful, though I have never made a formal complaint, I probably should have.

    My trouble started when they hadn't taken a meter reading for over a year, and due to changes in cost and my usage, I ended up using about £10 more energy per month over that year without realising, so when they suddenly did take a reading they dumped a huge bill on me demanding it be paid immediately. Now fair enough, I used the energy and I'm happy to pay it, but I can only feel for those less fortunate who an extra couple of hundred quid be demanded by them would put them in real trouble.

    Another issue with them I experienced was when they called to arrange a smart gas meter (I already have a smart electric meter after the issue above). They arranged with me for a Saturday morning install time, I waited, and waited and waited some more, till about 5 pm I rang up to query where their engineer was. The man on the phone told me that they no longer do Saturday installations and that my install had been cancelled. Well, it would have been very nice for them to tell me that. Despite complaining about them keeping me in all day when I could have been out enjoying the sun (like their engineers)(it was last summer), it took them 3 months before I got any response from them regarding the matter, a simple email asking if I would like to re-arrange it. I, of course, refused as I don't enjoy my time being wasted.

    Unfortunately, I had just renewed my term before all this happened so am locked in for a few more months yet, but I will be leaving the first moment I can without paying an exit fee, I refuse to pay them a penny more than I have to.

    A couple of months ago I used the MSE Energy Club site to find my Mum a new provider and immediately excluded them from the results.
  • Pleased to see some action being taken about this lousy company, I switched from them in October and am still waiting for my account credit to be refunded, emailed their customer services at least 15 times, no response, hopefully this company will be thrown out soon.
  • jordan1985 wrote: »
    I'm with Solarplicity


    Unfortunately, I had just renewed my term before all this happened so am locked in for a few more months yet, but I will be leaving the first moment I can without paying an exit fee, I refuse to pay them a penny more than I have to.


    The good news is that when these suppliers are banned from taking on new customers, the next step is that they almost inevitably go bust.


    You'll then be able to leave the next "supplier of last resort" without any exit fees, if you want to.
  • wavelets
    wavelets Posts: 1,164 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    wiggers wrote: »
    I signed up with a different supplier who were subsequently taken over by Solarplicity. Their customer service was very poor. They couldn't cope with Economy 7 (although the original supplier could) and persistently got my Day and Night readings the wrong way round. Got some compensation for the hours I spent wrangling with their support people.

    I wasn't aware that Solarplicity has taken over any other energy supplier.
    According to the report, Solarplicity only has 60,000 customers today
    Which supplier was it that you signed up with?

    Solarplicity did change their name from LoCo2 in May 2017, but that was all it was, a name change.

    Solarplicity do handle Economy 7 accounts. The issue you mention about transposing registry readings on some accounts is not unique to Solarplicity.
  • Jakubk
    Jakubk Posts: 127 Forumite
    I could write a tome but will try to keep it brief.

    • Signed up early Dec 2017
    • Was told they could do quarterly billing but only Monthly available, in end decided to pre-pay quarterly
    • Things did not happen in switch so I called them to make them happen
    • Account active January 8th
    • Portal would not accept readings until end of April despite plethora of calls, emails etc.
    • Billing only Electricity, Gas not on system, so called them to rectify
    • Billing out of sync between Gas and Electricity
    • Chased support every week till July
    • Every month bill issued before could put in readings (on rare occasion portal worked)
    • Bills had to be credited and re-issued every month
    • Bills Issued a week before anniversary date
    • IT Portal breached Auditing requirements, show estimated bills as Actual
    • IT Portal breached Auditing requirements, Does not properlly show credits and debits
    • Customer services unable to change anniversary date
    • Wrote to Chief Exec, got "read receipt" nothing done
    • Wrote to Mia Patience, got "read receipt" nothing done
    • Bills do not have Bank Giro Credit slip unlike all other energy companies, no bank details on bill.
    • Got a letter from Chief Exec promising 72 hour response from allocated "customer champions"
    • Emailed Customer champion, did not respond within 72 hours
    • Chased Customer champion, he apologised for not responding and said would fix issues.
    • Issues remain unfixed so emailed Customer Champion and got automated email saying "customer champion initiative had been cancelled and your issue transferred to "theTeam" who did NOTHING.
    • BACKDATED Letter from Solarplicity reneging on core principle of company of NO STANDING CHARGES told I would be moved to a new Tariff. I rejected the notification as it did not comply with OFGEM rules of 30 days notice.
    • Staff confirmed receipt of my rejection but moved my to new Tariff anyway
    • Continued to complain with billing/IT Portal issue every few weeks till November
    • In November numerous attempts to load readings failed on portal
    • In November called to give readings and SA call centre could not add my readings, said would get "billing to email me" BILLING DID NOTHING
    • Called every two weeks since November, SA call centre, same thing, can't accept readings, will get billing to call me.
    • Estimated bills about 100% over what I use, bills generated at wrong rates and refuse to credit and correct. Every time I call SA call centre says can't fix but will get "Billing" to email me, BILLING DO NOTHING.
    • After 1 year I was promised a £21 dual fuel credit, NO CREDIT RECEIVED.
    • On signing I was promised LED light bulbs to reduce my energy usage, BUT once signed up it told me that if I left they would charge me £30 if I left before 1 year, so I waited till 1 year and ordered the LED light bulbs only to be told "YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE BECAUSE YOU ARE ON WRONG TARIFF the tariff THEY MOVED ME TOO!
    • Then they said even if you WERE eligible we do not have any bulbs at the moment and can't give you any idea of when we might be able to provide them. I asked this issue to be escalated, THEY DID NOTHING.
    • This weekend they sent me someone else's LED light bulbs (ordered in December), they are not compatible with my fittings. LED HUT told me Solarplicity had screwed up customer database and mixed customer names, addresses and what was ordered.
    • I called again today only to be told that the SA call centre are now too busy and so I was routed to the overflow queue who will get someone to call me, NOT HOLDING MY BREATH!
    Whilst it is good they employed the SA call centre it is POINTLESS if they do not ENABLE them to carry out the tasks that the UK Customer Service team do.

    It is INSULTING to have them promise over and over again that someone will email me and NOBODY DOES.

    I had a look at Trustpilot and the complaints are still coming in thick and fast, but Solarplicity has a NEW DIRTY TRICK to reduce complaints, they report negative reviews to TrustPilot for being Defamatory, ARE THEY KIDDING, of course they are defamatory, if Solarplicity RUIN THEIR REPUTATION by not providing service then people will share their experience.

    Solarplicity are NOT responding to negative complaints on Trustpilot but write copious thank you messages for every positive review.

    How do you think that makes customers with issues feel Solarplicity??

    Like you do not give a damn!!

    From what I can see their main problems are
    • IT Portal failures no access
    • IT Portal Billing too early
    • IT Portal will not change anniversary date.
    • IT Portal will not credit and re-invoice (a basic accounting procedure)
    • Billing Dept Unresponsive
    • Call Centre staff not enabled to fix so just a message taker to people that never contact
    • Screw up Sign ups
    • Screw up Leavers
    • Fail to return credit
    • Screw up Smart Meters - Install but do not work (probably because only installed to get cash in or because of obligations.
    I really want Solarplicity to get their act together, it does nothing for the industry for them to go bust, I am not convinced the current CEO has it within him to sort this. I definitely think the IT Director and those responsible for developing the Portal should be fired immediately.

    These problems are not insurmountable but the now hostile attitude to complaining customers is extraordinary!
  • Biscuit_Tin
    Biscuit_Tin Posts: 782 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Name Dropper
    Energy supplier Solarplicity has been banned from taking on new customers for three months or until it improves its customer service.

    Sorry for bumping this 3 month old thread, but with the 3 month ban due to come to an end on 22 May, I thought I would check out how things were going with this supplier.

    It would appear that Ofgem quietly published a "notice of proposal to confirm, with modifications, the provisional order dated 22 February 2019, issued to Solarplicity Supply Limited (‘Solarplicity’)" almost a month ago on 18 April 2019.

    It would appear Ofgem still has ongoing concerns with this supplier, and consequently the original 3 month ban on Solarplicity taking on new customers will now be extended until further notice. (along with other modifications)

    Here is the Ofgem page
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/solarplicity-supply-ltd-provisional-order

    and here is the proposed modified order
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2019/04/solarplicity_notice_of_proposals_17.04.19_final_in_template_pdf_unsigned.pdf

    Just when you were wondering how things could get any worse for this supplier, I also see Ofgem issued another provisional order against them dated 10 May 2019 relating to their failure to make FIT payments)
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/solarplicity-supply-ltd-provisional-order-failure-make-fit-payments

    This ordered Solarplicity to make all outstanding FIT Payments due to FIT Generators by 16 May 2019, and make all future FIT Payments that become due to FIT Generators when those FIT Payments become due, without preference to any FIT Generator connected in any way to Solarplicity by virtue of its ownership (being part of Solarplicity’s group of companies) or directorship.
  • Jakubk
    Jakubk Posts: 127 Forumite
    Sorry for bumping this 3 month old thread, but with the 3 month ban due to come to an end on 22 May, I thought I would check out how things were going with this supplier.

    It would appear that Ofgem quietly published a "notice of proposal to confirm, with modifications, the provisional order dated 22 February 2019, issued to Solarplicity Supply Limited (‘Solarplicity’)" almost a month ago on 18 April 2019.

    It would appear Ofgem still has ongoing concerns with this supplier, and consequently the original 3 month ban on Solarplicity taking on new customers will now be extended until further notice. (along with other modifications)

    Here is the Ofgem page
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/solarplicity-supply-ltd-provisional-order

    and here is the proposed modified order
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2019/04/solarplicity_notice_of_proposals_17.04.19_final_in_template_pdf_unsigned.pdf

    Just when you were wondering how things could get any worse for this supplier, I also see Ofgem issued another provisional order against them dated 10 May 2019 relating to their failure to make FIT payments)
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/solarplicity-supply-ltd-provisional-order-failure-make-fit-payments

    This ordered Solarplicity to make all outstanding FIT Payments due to FIT Generators by 16 May 2019, and make all future FIT Payments that become due to FIT Generators when those FIT Payments become due, without preference to any FIT Generator connected in any way to Solarplicity by virtue of its ownership (being part of Solarplicity’s group of companies) or directorship.

    I am not sure if they are going to extend it BUT I THINK THEY SHOULD!

    So what has happened since the ban?

    1. I have called them EVERY TWO WEEKS to try to resolve issues.

    2. Solarplicity customer call centre are now a CALL BACK team, but they NEVER CALL YOU BACK. I have called them SINCE NOVEMBER to try and sort this out.

    3. My billing is just a joke, bills are not issued, estimates of 200% of usage are made, yet call centre will not discuss any particular issue, just take a message to say billing will contact you THEY NEVER DO.

    4. I called recently to warn them I am making an Information Commissioners Complaint because they are STORING AND SHARING inaccurate data about my usage, THEY DID NOT CONTACT ME to avoid that.

    5. I am in credit because I feel it is responsible to make payments on account in despite inaccurate bills BUT I was informed by Lloyds Bank Plc (Solarplicity Bank) that they will no longer be able to accept cash payments WITHOUT a bank Giro Credit Slip, yet Solarplicity REFUSED to print these on their bills (there is a space on the bill but Solarplicity needs to take out the service, a simple call to it's corporate banking Relationship Director would sort this). Thousands of elderly people and those on low incomes prefer to pay their bills in cash via a Bank Giro Credit Slip.

    6. I have still NOT RECEIVED MY LED LIGHT BULBS I have made separate calls for these and promised that I would be given priority and all kinds of other promises BUT NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.

    7. I dare not leave because Solarplicity owe me so much once they process proper readings, but so many threads on MSE show they do not pay what they owe to customers who leave.

    So I am trapped, to be honest I do not want to leave, I just want Solarplicity to do the basic things that any energy company does.

    Proper bills with Bank Giro Credit Slip
    Accurate bills based on reading I provide (with staff and systems that can take and or correct that data)
    Receive Paper bills which I have set as my preferred option on their portal
    Not have their system generate bills before the anniversary date which have to be corrected by me via the phone system EVERY MONTH

    Solarplicity are simply not in a position to service the customers they have let alone take on any new ones.

    I URGE OFGEM to maintain the ban on new customers, I have proposed fixes above, but I would add that the Bank Giro Credit issue is a critical matter now just to stand still.

    I also think the company needs a new CEO, I strongly believe that the values, ethos and competence of a company or lack thereof starts with the CEO.
  • Biscuit_Tin
    Biscuit_Tin Posts: 782 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Name Dropper
    Following the expiry of the last provisional order made by Ofgem against Solarplicity on 22-May-2019, Ofgem have provided an update.

    The original order that expired on 22-May-2019 has now lapsed.
    However, Ofgem have received an undertaking from Solarplicity that, amongst other matters, it will "Not to take on any new customers from the general public until 5 August 2019"

    The full Ofgem notice can be found here:
    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2019/05/notice_of_decision_not_to_confirm_po_issued_to_solarplicity_dated_22_may_2019.pdf
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