Complaint against Green Network Energy

I have been a customer of GNE since November 2016. During May 2019 I was notified that my monthly Direct Debit would be reduced from £46.75 to £25. Normally I would flag up such a notification but for the past 15 months I have had to deal with several events and consequently lost my focus. Basically by November 2019 my account was in debt to the amount of £222. I was unaware and signed up for a further 12 months. Then during August 2020 I glanced at an email from GNE informing me that my direct debit would increase from £25 to £95. I then found the time to check my bills and found that the £222 had been carried forward to my new contract and that the insufficient payment of £25 had increased the debt to £504. There was a bill/statement for the quarter November 2019 to Feb 2020 but there was no bill for the period Feb 2020 to May 2020. There was a bill for the period May 2020 to August 2020 and also nonsensical bill from November to August with a total charge of £1996; I normally pay between £550 to £600 per year.
The Customer Complaints team were very indifferent to my frequent emails, especially when I demanded three new bills for the three quarters.
I emailed all of my documents to Sabrina Corbo of GNE on 1st October. On the same day I received an email from Donna Hayward, Head of The Complaints 'assuring' me that she would take over my case with the Accounts and Finance department; no further contact has been made. I did however receive my renewal letter informing me that my current contract will end on 24th November. The first of the £95 payments was taken from my account yesterday, 12th October. Today I forwarded all of the documents that were sent to Sabrina Corbo to Ofgem but an informal reply stated that they would not deal with any complaints against energy suppliers. I noted on the Ofgem website a section on 'back billing' rules and one of my questions to the Ofgem team was how, if at all, it would be applied to my case. 
Obviously I will not be renewing my contract with GNE and I will switch to a new supplier on 24 November. I rely on my state pension and will not be able to pay and additional £95 per month to GNE. Can you offer advice on my Consumer Rights in my particular case? I ended my email to Ofgem by saying that it seems to have been a deliberate act of reducing my payment and sending my account into debt, then allowing the insufficient £25 payment to accrue more debt on top of the £222 carried forward. I finished by saying that GNE are behaving as though they are untouchable. The reply from Ofgem has me wondering if that is true.


  • From the sounds of it, the bills were accurate but the direct debit amount was not.  As far as I'm aware this wouldn't be covered by the back billing rules.

    You should stop sending emails to OFGEM too, they don't deal with consumer complaints.  And I'd stop accusing GNE of "deliberately" underbilling you to send you into debt.  What do they stand to gain from this?  If anything, they'd be losing out.
  • edited 13 October 2020 at 3:28PM
    Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    edited 13 October 2020 at 3:28PM
    Ofgem doesn't deal with individual complaints; it would be the Energy Ombudsman.
    Have you been sending monthly readings?  If not, then it's not surprising if your DD amounts and actual usage have become out of kilter.  You haven't provided any evidence to show that you haven't used the energy for which you have been billed.  If you think it's inaccurate, just subtract your opening meter readings from today's readings, work out the cost of the energy used, then add on the daily charges and VAT.  Compare that with the total of the DD amounts that have been collected and you'll see whether the debt is what they claim.
    If you do owe a substantial amount, ask them for an affordable payment plan.
    Basically you need to provide factual evidence rather than make unsubstantiated allegations.
    BTW, you've posted in the wrong forum: it should be in Energy.
  • edited 13 October 2020 at 3:32PM
    HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    edited 13 October 2020 at 3:32PM
    Direct Debits go into a kitty to help cover use. Depending on your usage you are either in credit or in debt.

    If in debt it is rectified by increasing the DD for a time to pay off money owed for utilities used.

    I would suggest conversing with GNE to get a payment plan to pay for what you have at a sum suitable to you.

    One played then you are able to switch to an other energy provider of your choice.
    You have been supplying actual readings every month and not relying on estimates?
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • maredcammaredcam Forumite
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    First Post
     'Yahoo_Mail'............If they didn't deliberately reduce the direct debit why would they do it? Why did they carry the debt into the next contract and not review the insufficient monthly payment.
    'Gerry1'............Yes I have provided monthly readings since Nov 2016.
  • edited 14 October 2020 at 8:00PM
    Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    edited 14 October 2020 at 8:00PM
    You won't be able to switch while you're in debt, GNE will block it.  It's also unlikely that the back billing rules will apply because they have been billing you; you just haven't been putting enough into the kitty to pay your way.  As previously suggested, ask for an affordable payment plan.
    Presumably your meter readings triggered bills that showed that you were going into debt, so you could have paid them a bit more?  GNE may have been a bit tardy in making sure you were on track, but I doubt that the ombudsman would set any compensation much above £25 or £50 for the inconvenience, especially if they've offered you a realistic payment plan.
    Make sure you get the best GNE tariff when your contract expires, and also sign up for the Priority Services Register and Warm Home Discount if relevant.
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