Switching from npower - in credit

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
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supersezziesupersezzie Forumite
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Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
Hi, I wondered if anyone can advise me if they have had any problems switching from npower? I'm thinking of switching this weekend (in line with Martin's advice), but I'm actually about £130 in credit with them. I'm worried they won't pay up the extra, or at least not without a fight, as their terms and conditions seem to have plenty about you paying off debts to them before switching, but nothnig about them clearing their debts with you that I could find.

Any advice welcome as I've never switched before.

Thanks :)
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  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    As long as you don't owe the supplier money, I don't think there is much they can do to prevent you from switching.

    Once switched, you should receive a final bill from the old supplier (in this case npower). If it shows you are in credit, they have to repay you - it's your money afterall.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • c0113tt3c0113tt3 Forumite
    313 Posts
    As for the credit, dont apply for it yet, it takes 6 to 10 weeks to switch, in which most if not all would be used up by the time you switch. Once youve switched / got your final bill then apply for it, if there is anything left.

    The Guide to Switching Away from Npower

    Npower are renoun for rejecting switching services. The general rule of things is if you owe them more than £100 they automatically refuse, so make sure you give accurate readings and pay them asap. Also when you get a switching date (from your new supplier), you are only meant to give the new supplier the readings and then they pass them on, that process can take upto 4 weeks (but usually 2 weeks) especially for the gas as it has to go through transco first. So taking that into account, give Npower final readings as well, as it makes sure they do at least get the final readings quickly, but usually can not act upon them until it has come through your new supplier / transco. If after 4 weeks from the date of switch Npower claim that your new suppliers readings have not come through (from your new supplier and/or transco), your new supplier can re-apply / re-send again, at this point in time your new supplier has more control in the matter. In general its best to act as a communicator between both companies of the current status in switching.

    Make sure during the period of switch / final readings, you keep regular contact with npower and your new supplier to find out your status of switch, ie. if transco / new supplier have passed on the readings. I would recommend contacting them at least twice a week during that period, giving assurances to Npower that it will be paid straight away, and write down who / when you spoke to. During this time, you may wish to negotiate with Npower to get your account flagged up to automatically approve the switch, regardless of what you may owe them, even if you get the flag onto your account (usually takes a couple of days), the switch may still get rejected due to the flag being reversed !! (usually billing reverse it)

    Hopefully it should run smoothly, but very often Npower reject switches, hence keep in contact with them at least twice a week during that period. If you find out Npower rejected the switch (billing department / team), assure them you will pay what you may owe. They will also inform you that you need to contact your prospective new supplier to re-apply again !! for new switch dates (and your new supplier will contact you if the switch failed). This is in fact a ploy to make it more difficult to switch, they have a procedure called D68 FLOW, this reverses the rejection and takes 24 hours to go through, generally they wont inform you about this, and some staff dont even know that this procedure exists. Be firm with Npower and hold your ground. You may find it usefull for your new supplier to help on your behalf too in this situation. If your new supplier gets involved and experiences the difficulty you are having, they may offer a small compensation payment as encouragement to switch.

    Also check any final bills from Npower, especially if you switch around the time of price increases and got your prices frozen at the previous rates, they often bill you at the new rates !!. If you encounter any of the problems above then make a complaint to Npower, as you may get a small reduction in your final bill for the hassle / problems / mistakes. Once switched and paid your final bill with Npower, get a letter from them confirming your account is cleared and the account is closed. Also with your new supplier, confirm everything is correct, especially imperial / metric meters, and how you wish to be billed / when.
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    c0113tt3 wrote: »
    ... it takes 6 to 10 weeks to switch...

    How long? :eek:

    According to confused.com
    On average the supply change process takes between 28 and 40 days from the date you arranged to change supplier. This allows time to complete the transfer process and, as a domestic customer, gives you time to change your mind during the initial 'cooling off period' (typically between 7 and 14 days).
    http://www.confused.com/buyersguide/switching-utilities-supplier.jsp

    According to the BBC:
    Under an industry protocol it should generally take about a month for your account to be switched.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6595509.stm

    I've recently switched 2 properties supplies. The first took about 6 weeks. It should have taken about 4 but the fact it involved an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT) caused a slight delay, or so I was told.

    The second property was switched in just over 4 weeks. (i.e. less than 5 weeks)
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • c0113tt3c0113tt3 Forumite
    313 Posts
    My figures are correct, and even mse martin states too.

    Generally it takes a couple of weeks for your application to be processed / accepted by the new company, then you have a cooling off period (usually 7 working days) where nothing at all is done. Then usually another 2 to 4 weeks (depending on how busy they are) to get a switch date that is usually a week or 2 after of you being notified. It can then take upto 4 weeks, but usually 2 weeks for gas/elec readings to go from your new supplier to your old supplier (gas has to go through transco). hence the figures as stated above. You dont actually switch until your old company has accepted the final reading figures and approved the switch.

    In the current climate of energy prices ie. expected rises, companies offering good deals will be busy.
  • supersezziesupersezzie Forumite
    90 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Well I've just switched to npowers capped 2011 tariff but I have a couple of questions.

    1. I f this is the tariff they are withdrawing on Monday, is it enough to have made an online application today for me to get it still?

    2. Am I right that it looks like I don't get the cashback? I did it through moneysupermarket through this site and on the summary of tariffs page it said £17.50 cashback, but after I ordered it, it was only under the bit for new customers that they would arrange cashback after the switch. I'm guessing I don't get it cos I'm already with npower but it's annoying it came up in the list with £17.50 cashback advertised if that's the case.

    3. Can anyone tell me if it's normal to use about 855kwh per year (I'm in a flat with my bf, no gas, uses storage heaters, basic electrical appliances plus tvs and computers). I worked out my bill, on economy 7, costs about £140 per year which seems really cheap! (I've not lived here long so hadn't looked into it before now). I'm just hoping they haven't hugely underbilled me somehow by mistake.

    Thanks guys!
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    c0113tt3 wrote: »
    ...It can then take upto 4 weeks, but usually 2 weeks for gas/elec readings to go from your new supplier to your old supplier (gas has to go through transco). hence the figures as stated above...
    :confused:
    When I switched, I supplied the figures to the new supplier on the day of the switch. (I think I was actually allowed a 5 day window around the day of the switch for them to be valid) No one else read the meter.

    If you are suggesting it could take up to 10 weeks before the old account is finally closed (i.e. the final meter readings passed to the old supplier, they produce the bill and it is paid) I would agree, but I'm not convinced it takes that long to actually switch.

    Remembering the first of my 2 recent switches, the electicity was actually switched in 4 weeks too, it was just the gas that took 6 weeks.
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • c0113tt3c0113tt3 Forumite
    313 Posts
    1. should be accepted.

    2. dont know.

    3. there is something seriously wrong with those figures, an average household uses 3000 kwh electricity, I would expect you to use, nearly twice that with no gas. Heating is very expensive through electricity. Economy 7 is widely used if you do most of your useage over night, with what you describe I would have not thought that would be the correct tariff to be on
  • c0113tt3c0113tt3 Forumite
    313 Posts
    Well premier you must be more of an expert than mse martin himself.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity

    "However go quick, as energy companies are withdrawing capped tariffs in anticipation of the price rises plus it takes 2-3 months to switch provider so by the time its done the prices will have rised. All the comparison companies either allow you to select capped tariffs, or include a section in their results."
  • c0113tt3, thanks for your comprehensive postings - especially # 3. I'm planning to switch away from npower. I owe them approx £130 with our gas but they owe me approx £120 on the electricity. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    c0113tt3 wrote: »
    Well premier you must be more of an expert than mse martin himself.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/you-switch-gas-electricity

    "However go quick, as energy companies are withdrawing capped tariffs in anticipation of the price rises plus it takes 2-3 months to switch provider so by the time its done the prices will have rised. All the comparison companies either allow you to select capped tariffs, or include a section in their results."

    I'm only going by my experience. I don't know how many times mse martin has switched suppliers recently. Do you?

    No matter how experienced mse martin is in financial journalism, I doubt he himself considers himself more expert in energy matters than the official independent gas & electricity watchdog, energywatch
    Once the contract is agreed, the transfer process should take about six weeks to complete.
    http://www.energywatch.org.uk/help_and_advice/saving_money/further_info/index.asp
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
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