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Powershop - confusion over massive bill

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tjmaggotstjmaggots Forumite
4 posts
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MoneySaving Newbie
Back in 2018 I was a PAYG customer with Boost paying and average of £135 a month for both gas and electic. They announced a price rise and that spurred me to look at alternatives. I have been a PAYG customer for many years as I found it the easiest way to manage my budget (I am disabled on benefits). Anyway to cut a long story short I put the figures including how much I was spending at the time into compare the meerkat and it gave me several options, the best of which was Powershop who offered me a fixed monthly payment of £98 on dd.
I said yes and so switched. I now find myself a year and a half down the line with an outstanding ammount of over £1700 and they have told me they are increasing my dd to £180 a month to be reviewed again in 3 months. 
maybe i should have been more cautious at the time but i do admit to having not fully understood everything when I switched and i didnt realise that a fixed price was not in any way related to what they were going to charge me for my energy usage, and that I would be accruing a nice debt at the same time.
Looking at the details now, i can see that their tariffs were actually higher than i was paying on my PAYG they appear to have just given an arbitrary monthly dd price that was lower than I was paying. Also going over the monthly emails now i can see on the d/l bit it showed an outstanding amount (not due yet) however i admit to not actually looking at the d/l at the time, I just glanced at the text of the emailt hat told me when my payment of £98 would be coming out of my bank.
Being on ESA and PIP I cant ever see myself clearing in excess of £1700 and being able to switch again so getting away from this company who are now charging me a high rate variable on their most expensive tariff. Even paying their £180 a month they have set now is going to be seriously difficult on the little I have coming in
Do I have any other options open to me or is a case of a hard lesson learnt and now live with the consequences

Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Quite a few people seem to feel a 'fixed' tariff means the price you pay each month is fixed regardless of the gas/electricity consumed - rather like  'all you can eat for £9.99 on a menu'!!
    It does of course mean the kWh cost of gas/electricity and daily standing charge is fixed - so the more you use, the more you pay.
  • tjmaggotstjmaggots Forumite
    4 posts
    Third Anniversary First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Cardew said:
    Quite a few people seem to feel a 'fixed' tariff means the price you pay each month is fixed regardless of the gas/electricity consumed - rather like  'all you can eat for £9.99 on a menu'!!
    It does of course mean the kWh cost of gas/electricity and daily standing charge is fixed - so the more you use, the more you pay.
    Yup I found this out the hard way. The thing is in my case my consumption has gone down since I have been with them as i used to have 2 PC running most days, mine and my sons, His moved out with him, and I used to have a collection of 7 snakes with all their heat mats running 24/7, those went last year.
    My point is, can a company use a price comparison to just put up a monthly fixed price to make them appear the cheapest but in actuality be more expensive than what you already have.  That just seems wrong.
    I'm not a money expert so when a company said you pay this; well we will charge you this a month to supply you (but actually the rest will just build up as a debt as our total costs are higher) To me that just seems wrong and makes a mockery of price comparison for those of us for whom the tariff system and pricing structure is a bit of a mystery.
    Basically using a comparrison site and switching , whilst it is touted as a great thing, has for me been the worst decision I have made in many a year.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    tjmaggots said:
    Cardew said:
    Quite a few people seem to feel a 'fixed' tariff means the price you pay each month is fixed regardless of the gas/electricity consumed - rather like  'all you can eat for £9.99 on a menu'!!
    It does of course mean the kWh cost of gas/electricity and daily standing charge is fixed - so the more you use, the more you pay.
    Basically using a comparrison site and switching , whilst it is touted as a great thing, has for me been the worst decision I have made in many a year.
    Comparison websites are a great thing as long as you enter your consumption in kWh and not how much you pay per month.

  • tjmaggotstjmaggots Forumite
    4 posts
    Third Anniversary First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Cardew said:

    Comparison websites are a great thing as long as you enter your consumption in kWh and not how much you pay per month.

    Indeed, as i found out
    Unfortunately as a PAYG customer previously i knew what I was spending not the kw/h I was using and the sight gave me the option to input either so I knew no better |(at the time)
    My issue is not the mistake i made through ignorance and misunderstanding, but rather how the heck i get out of the mess it has put me in
    I am stuck with a huge; and pretty impossible to clear with any rapidity; bill that effectively locks me to a company that are charging me around twice as much as I used to pay on my PAYG meters. I always thought PAYG was more expensive. To my very regretful cost, I have discovered this is not necessarily so.
    Now I need advice on how i might be able to get a change to another company and pay a fair price for my usage and at the same time deal with this huge bill.
  • edited 27 March at 5:41PM
    Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    edited 27 March at 5:41PM
    Make sure you are claiming all the benefits available including Winter Fuel Allowance and Cold Weather Payments.  See whether Citizens Advice can help. 
    Don't use electricity for room or water heating.  Make sure you're on the cheapest available Powershop tariff.  Make sure you're on the Priority Services Register.
    BTW, this is the 'Other Fuels' forum.  You'll get more results posting in Energy.
  • Kitchen_SinkKitchen_Sink Forumite
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    tjmaggots said:
    Cardew said:

    Comparison websites are a great thing as long as you enter your consumption in kWh and not how much you pay per month.

    Indeed, as i found out
    Unfortunately as a PAYG customer previously i knew what I was spending not the kw/h I was using and the sight gave me the option to input either so I knew no better |(at the time)
    My issue is not the mistake i made through ignorance and misunderstanding, but rather how the heck i get out of the mess it has put me in
    I am stuck with a huge; and pretty impossible to clear with any rapidity; bill that effectively locks me to a company that are charging me around twice as much as I used to pay on my PAYG meters. I always thought PAYG was more expensive. To my very regretful cost, I have discovered this is not necessarily so.
    Now I need advice on how i might be able to get a change to another company and pay a fair price for my usage and at the same time deal with this huge bill.
    You could do a lot worse than start by reading this MSE advice:
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity/

    It's been available for over a decade (currently updated weekly) and has always included details of what you seem to have learnt the long, hard way.

    Note that if you switch supplier, you will have to pay off your arrears a lot quicker than if you remain with your current supplier. But there is no reason why you have to be on your suppliers most expensive tariiff, simply request a transfer to a cheaper one if that is available from them :)

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