Back Billing Adjustments Stopping Me From Transferring Energy Supplier

marko2002
marko2002 Posts: 135
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edited 10 February at 1:29PM in Energy
Hello all, I think I probably know the answer to this but looking for any angles or confirmation in which to go back to my energy provider.   I don't want to name them just yet, as I may be taking this to Ofgem (probably not worth it but hey!).

So, last year I realised our gas meter wasn't reading properly, this was after fighting with our energy company to have someone come read the meters as they were sending very high estimates.   Our meter is very badly placed in our new house, and as such it makes it hard to read and you virtually have to lay flat on your stomach to do so, not happening.

When I eventually realised the meters weren't working I checked our account and the last known meter reading was some 460+ days ago.   Contacted them, and they agreed to come exchange them for smart meters (eventually).

That happened, and I then asked for an adjustment to be made to our account to reflect the fact we'd been estimated for 460+ days, they (eventually) did this and we received a credit for around £800 which I considered to be a fair amount.

However, in amongst all this back and forth, I noticed they had refunded us all the usage on our account during the time the meters weren't operating properly and then reapplied a more liberal usage, hence the refund from back billing.   This happened on both the gas and electricity meters.

The effect this has had now is that whenever we go elsewhere for an energy quote, we're being quoted ridiculous amounts.   We use, on average, between £80-£100 per month total for both, and were paying £150 per month which means the credit has now exceeded £1100.   I was happy enough to leave it there until our energy provider themselves sent us an email telling us our direct debit was going from £150 to £460 based on our previous usage!!!.

Contacted them and told them this was probably because of all the adjustments made on our account, and why back billing couldn't have just given us a credit instead of refunding all the charges then reapplying them is beyond me.

So far, they have agreed to reduce the DD to a more reasonable amount and refund us the credit that was on the account, but they are effectively preventing me from going elsewhere based on the previous usage which they applied, refunded, then reapplied!.   Before I take the issue up with Ofgem, just wanted to ask if anyone else has had this issue, and is it possible for an energy company to rectify these readings to reflect a more accurate usage?.
Thanks in advance
Marko
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  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,207
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    marko2002 said:
    Hello all, I think I probably know the answer to this but looking for any angles or confirmation in which to go back to my energy provider.   I don't want to name them just yet, as I may be taking this to Ofgem (probably not worth it but hey!).

    So, last year I realised our gas meter wasn't reading properly, this was after fighting with our energy company to have someone come read the meters as they were sending very high estimates.   Our meter is very badly placed in our new house, and as such it makes it hard to read and you virtually have to lay flat on your stomach to do so, not happening.

    When I eventually realised the meters weren't working I checked our account and the last known meter reading was some 460+ days ago.   Contacted them, and they agreed to come exchange them for smart meters (eventually).

    That happened, and I then asked for an adjustment to be made to our account to reflect the fact we'd been estimated for 460+ days, they (eventually) did this and we received a credit for around £800 which I considered to be a fair amount.

    However, in amongst all this back and forth, I noticed they had refunded us all the usage on our account during the time the meters weren't operating properly and then reapplied a more liberal usage, hence the refund from back billing.   This happened on both the gas and electricity meters.

    The effect this has had now is that whenever we go elsewhere for an energy quote, we're being quoted ridiculous amounts.   We use, on average, between £80-£100 per month total for both, and were paying £150 per month which means the credit has now exceeded £1100.   I was happy enough to leave it there until our energy provider themselves sent us an email telling us our direct debit was going from £150 to £460 based on our previous usage!!!.

    Contacted them and told them this was probably because of all the adjustments made on our account, and why back billing couldn't have just given us a credit instead of refunding all the charges then reapplying them is beyond me.

    So far, they have agreed to reduce the DD to a more reasonable amount and refund us the credit that was on the account, but they are effectively preventing me from going elsewhere based on the previous usage which they applied, refunded, then reapplied!.   Before I take the issue up with Ofgem, just wanted to ask if anyone else has had this issue, and is it possible for an energy company to rectify these readings to reflect a more accurate usage?.
    Thanks in advance
    Marko
    I cannot see why you are planning to take them to the ombudsman as the matter seems resolved and why this is in any way preventing you from switching supplier?
  • marko2002
    marko2002 Posts: 135
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    It's preventing me from switching supplier because most suppliers will use your current energy suppliers readings to formulate a quote.   In my case, even though I'm only using on average £80-£100 per month, I'm being quoted £400-£500 per month and if I wanted to continue with that quote, I'd be expected to agree to a direct debit for that amount presumably?
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,332
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    edited 10 February at 3:04PM
    I think the problem might be that some sites pull your usage from the central database to pre-populate (likely because of the number of times people complained the quote was inaccurate because they gave inaccurate figures/it was in money rather than units). 

    Two options are to go with the quote, worst case scenario pay the first month using your credit refund, then have the DD reduced to where you think it should be by contacting the supplier. 

    OR 

    Contact the supplier now via chat or social channels, explain the problem and say you would like to swap but to set the DD at an agreed amount... 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • marko2002
    marko2002 Posts: 135
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    QrizB said:
    marko2002 said:
    It's preventing me from switching supplier because most suppliers will use your current energy suppliers readings to formulate a quote.
    They shouldn't do. You should tell them your annual consumption for each fuel, in kWh, and they should quote on those values.
    Which websites are giving you crazy numbers?
    Pretty much all of them, even the compare sites.   I've done quotes for my neighbours too and they are coming back as per expected, whilst ours is quoting something like £6-8000 per year !!

    Trouble is, whilst they have already billed me for kWh, then refunded them, but then reapplied them, my totals for the year are way far more inflated, I could, presumably, work out the difference of what they have refunded/credited/re-applied and get my usage from that, but I assume the new provider would take what the previous supplier are saying as gospel!!.
  • marko2002
    marko2002 Posts: 135
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    I think the problem might be that some sites pull your usage from the central database to pre-populate (likely because of the number of times people complained the quote was inaccurate because they gave inaccurate figures/it was in money rather than units). 

    Two options are to go with the quote, worst case scenario pay the first month using your credit refund, then have the DD reduced to where you think it should be by contacting the supplier. 

    OR 

    Contact the supplier now via chat or social channels, explain the problem and say you would like to swap but to set the DD at an agreed amount... 
    TBH, I know what energy companies are like, once they have you it's a nightmare, like the one I'm with the now, I'd much rather (if I did chose to move) start with a new energy company on a clean footing rather than bring the issue with me which is why I have asked them to do something with the numbers they have applied to my account.   Thing is, they haven't, or can't explain to me why they didn't remove the usage from my account before reapplying it, I mean surely that would have been the most sensible thing to do!!?!
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    edited 10 February at 3:23PM
    marko2002 said:
    QrizB said:
    marko2002 said:
    It's preventing me from switching supplier because most suppliers will use your current energy suppliers readings to formulate a quote.
    They shouldn't do. You should tell them your annual consumption for each fuel, in kWh, and they should quote on those values.
    Which websites are giving you crazy numbers?
    Pretty much all of them, even the compare sites.
    If I go to https://www.edfenergy.com/quote/your-energy and ask for a quote, I get this screen which lets me fill in my expected annual energy use in kWh. Do you not get something similar?


    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
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  • marko2002
    marko2002 Posts: 135
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    If I go to https://www.edfenergy.com/quote/your-energy and ask for a quote, I get this screen which lets me fill in my expected annual energy use in kWh. Do you not get something similar?
    Yes, I've seen where I can enter my own readings, etc, but my point is if I put in the "usage" from my current supplier it's inflated because of all the adjustments they have made, so I'd have to go through everything with a fine tooth comb and sort out what was originally charged, then refunded, then recharged to figure out a more accurate usage if that makes sense.   And even then, wouldn't the "new" provider look to verify this with the "old" provider, meaning they'd then see a much higher usage and want to quote on that?.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    marko2002 said:
    If I go to https://www.edfenergy.com/quote/your-energy and ask for a quote, I get this screen which lets me fill in my expected annual energy use in kWh. Do you not get something similar?
    Yes, I've seen where I can enter my own readings, etc, but my point is if I put in the "usage" from my current supplier it's inflated because of all the adjustments they have made, so I'd have to go through everything with a fine tooth comb and sort out what was originally charged, then refunded, then recharged to figure out a more accurate usage if that makes sense.
    If the problem is that you don't know your usage, pick one of the standard sets. But you really should have a handle on your own household usage.
    marko2002 said:
    And even then, wouldn't the "new" provider look to verify this with the "old" provider, meaning they'd then see a much higher usage and want to quote on that?.
    No. The will normally trust you for six to twelve months then adjust based on your actual use for that period.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • marko2002
    marko2002 Posts: 135
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    edited 10 February at 3:51PM
    If the problem is that you don't know your usage, pick one of the standard sets. But you really should have a handle on your own household usage.
    If my current provider would stop adjusting my account I'd have a fighting chance, but unbelievably, even just yesterday when I contacted them to tell them to refund my credit of £1100 they added more usage and charges to my account and then refunded it and when I questioned that their response was ... (and if anyone can explain this, they are a better person than me)

    " In order for your refund request to have been raised we had to close an outstanding consumption gaps which had generated an estimate on what is known as a price cap review date on 1st April this reading doesn't exceed the customers own reading and is only used to differentiate your unit rates and standing charges to be billed to, prior to an increase and then after the increase which had adjusted your balance by £00.01p.   Without a closure of all consumption gaps your balance would not have been fully adjusted and a refund request could not have been raised."
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