Problem trying to switch a business energy account

I am the Treasurer for our local Guide Hall and need to arrange new gas and electricity contracts, but have come up against a problem.  Sorry for the long explanation, but I need help!

We have been in 3 year contracts, ending in January and February, our electricity is with with SSE and our gas is with  Crown Gas & Power.  I have been sent some tariff proposals via a third party broker, pretty expensive as we cannot have a domestic tariff, but we are low users and only pay 5% VAT.

I decided to  check out Octopus as I had read that their prices might be more reasonable, and indeed they came in a bit lower so decided to sign up with them.  However, as our contracts run out on 2 different dates, I had to ring them and give details.

 We already have Smart meters for both fuels,  the electricity one was installed just over 3 years back by our previous supplier British Gas, but it has never managed to send readings, so I have to submit them manually.  It seems the meter was not properly set up.  Despite repeated requests SSE has not managed to sort this, however this is not a big problem, just an inconvenience.  Octopus did not consider this an issue.

The gas meter on the other hand is causing me a big problem and I am not sure what I need to do to solve it.

This meter was fitted 6 years back, again by a previous supplier, and has been sending readings since day 1.   When we moved to Crown, they had no problem receiving  (correct) readings, so I know it is working as a Smart meter.  It does of course have its own sending mechanism as it was installed 3 years before the (potentially) Smart electricity meter.

However, when I gave Octopus the details for the gas meter they said that when they check the national database it is listed as being a normal credit meter, not a Smart meter, and that they could not take over the supply until our present provider corrects the information on the database.  They advised me that I should contact Crown to get this done.

So I was unable to proceed with our request to move to Octopus at the end of our current contracts.

I immediately contacted Crown and explained the problem, they checked themselves and say that they can see that meter is correctly listed as Smart.   

 When I asked how this can be the case, they put me on hold to check again, then came back and said that the reason Octopus are seeing it as an ordinary meter is that they are looking to take  over the supply too soon as it is more than 30 days to the end of our present contract.  I did say that both I and Octopus are aware of the end of contract date, and that there was no intention to switch before that date, but Crown is adamant that it is  Octopus that is causing the problem.

So....back to Octopus.    The possibility of wrong meter details was discussed, so it was agreed that I should go to the building and photograph all the meters and send to them.

I have done this, they agree that everything looks fine, but still maintain that the national database is incorrect and that  Crown  need to request it be amended before they can instigate the switch.

 Before I contact Crown again I need to be sure of my facts.  I have been Treasurer for about 20 years, but have never come across this  problem before!

Is what Crown are saying correct?      Can the National Database show 2 different things to 2 different companies?   What do I need to do to get this resolved?

If I cannot get this sorted soon, I will have no option but to agree to the slightly higher tariffs available through the broker, and hope that they do not come up against the same problem.

Comments

  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 11,957
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    I second @Gerry1 - my experience of Brokers has not been a happy one.

    What is your actual annual consumptions in (kWh not £) and what have you been quoted

    Treat the gas and electric as two separate renewals - you may end up with them both with the same supplier but there is no dual-fuel benefit . Just make sure you give the notice at the proper time.


    You will find a big rise compared with 3 years ago but my recent renewals have plunged.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • jennifernil
    jennifernil Posts: 5,567
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    edited 21 November 2023 at 2:44PM
    Our usage is 2400 kWh of electricity, and 14250kWh of gas.

    Our prices from Octopus were electricity 65.42p per day + 26.44p per kWh
    and gas 36.55p per day + 7.23p per kWh.
    all + VAT, we pay 5% VAT.

     My experience of brokers has been pretty good, though I would say that some can be rather pushy and you need to be firm with them!

    In the past I have had several different companies contacting me up to 6 months before contract end, rather than just the one we had used before, which does get both confusing and annoying, this time I seem to have managed to avoid this as only the original  one has been in touch.

    However, I first need to resolve this problem with the status of our gas meter on the National Database, although I cannot see what difference it makes to Octopus whether it is a Smart  meter or not?
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 11,957
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    Octopus does seem to have  a good reputation in sorting meter problems out - give you 30 days notice when appropriate and formally apply to Octopus.  It would be interesting to see what rates Octopus ask if you contact them direct.


    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • jennifernil
    jennifernil Posts: 5,567
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    Those are direct from Octopus
  • Would you be able to provide a picture of the gas meter and whatever smart device is connected to it. I suspect that it may have an AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) device connected to a non smart meter.
  • jennifernil
    jennifernil Posts: 5,567
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    edited 23 November 2023 at 12:33AM
    I do have a picture, but not sure how to add it here.

    it is an Elster BK-G10E meter

    It does not seem to have any additional device connected to it.


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