Forum Home» Energy

Debt on energy account

New Post Advanced Search

Debt on energy account

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
23 replies 1.3K views
theJBPtheJBP Forumite
6 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
Hi all

I'm with Lumo for gas and electric and have a smart meter with them. I pay my bills by direct debit. I recently tried to switch energy supplier to save money and was informed that the switch had been stopped due to an accumulated debt of over £500!!!

This is the second time this has happened, a while back I was with Economy Energy and when I came to switch was informed I had a debt, despite providing regular meter readings.

Just what is the point in providing an energy company with meter readings if not so that they can adjust how's much you're paying so that you pay your bills? Is this not the point of a smart meter, to make this process even easier and pain free?

Some people will say I only have myself to blame, that I should have checked how much energy I was using against how much I was paying, to ensure they were taking the correct amount, and I accept this to a point. But really I resent having to do their bloody job for them. Energy bills are high enough as it is, so they should be doing this job.

Is there anything I can do about this? Is it worth making a complaint to the ombudsmen? Any advice would be gratefully received.
«13

Replies

  • TakmonTakmon Forumite
    1.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper First Anniversary
    ✭✭✭
    theJBP wrote: »
    Hi all

    I'm with Lumo for gas and electric and have a smart meter with them. I pay my bills by direct debit. I recently tried to switch energy supplier to save money and was informed that the switch had been stopped due to an accumulated debt of over £500!!!

    This is the second time this has happened, a while back I was with Economy Energy and when I came to switch was informed I had a debt, despite providing regular meter readings.

    Just what is the point in providing an energy company with meter readings if not so that they can adjust how's much you're paying so that you pay your bills? Is this not the point of a smart meter, to make this process even easier and pain free?

    Some people will say I only have myself to blame, that I should have checked how much energy I was using against how much I was paying, to ensure they were taking the correct amount, and I accept this to a point. But really I resent having to do their bloody job for them. Energy bills are high enough as it is, so they should be doing this job.

    Is there anything I can do about this? Is it worth making a complaint to the ombudsmen? Any advice would be gratefully received.

    I don't see the point in a complaint because it's energy you have used so you have to pay for it eventually.

    Personally i prefer to underpay on my direct debit for my energy because the money is better in my bank rather than building up a credit and it being in theirs. But i do keep an eye on my usage so i know if i'm underpaying or not.

    It's a bit poor of them to allow this to happen because it opens them up to difficulties in recovering money they are owed if people refuse to pay.

    But you say it has happened before so if you decided to not keep an eye on it in the future you can't have been too worried about it happening again.
  • theJBPtheJBP Forumite
    6 posts
    Hi Takmon

    You're right of course, I have been a little slack. But to be honest when it happened before I was providing meter readings myself and the company was Economy Energy which went out of business. Online I had seen they weren't the most popular company and so assumed (yes, I know, never assume anything) that they had just screwed up.

    With the new company I was given a smart meter and was assured that this meant I could just sit back and do nothing, everything would be taken care of. Again, an assumption, I know. Obviously, now I will keep an eye on it going forward, but giving vent I just don't see why it is so hard to adjust the amount they take each time so that I'm paying for what I'm using. Why do I have to be in credit or debit? Why can't they just take for what I've used? It really shouldn't be that effing hard.
  • falcierifalcieri Forumite
    181 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Takmon wrote: »
    I don't see the point in a complaint because it's energy you have used so you have to pay for it eventually.

    Personally i prefer to underpay on my direct debit for my energy because the money is better in my bank rather than building up a credit and it being in theirs. But i do keep an eye on my usage so i know if i'm underpaying or not.

    It's a bit poor of them to allow this to happen because it opens them up to difficulties in recovering money they are owed if people refuse to pay.

    But you say it has happened before so if you decided to not keep an eye on it in the future you can't have been too worried about it happening again.


    If my experience is anything to go by then Economy Energy's metre reading system was completely broken so I wouldn't blame a customer in this respect. I don't think they were capable of registering readings correctly.



    It is a problem with some energy companies. I am with Bulb and have complete control over my monthly DD amounts and how much is in my account and they don't seem to have a problem with registering metre readings correctly. I thought about getting a smart metre but heard so many bad things I decided to stick to the old fashioned method and use an excel spreadsheet and the theromostat to predict my bills.
  • ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
    5.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    theJBP wrote: »
    Hi all

    I'm with Lumo for gas and electric and have a smart meter with them. I pay my bills by direct debit. I recently tried to switch energy supplier to save money and was informed that the switch had been stopped due to an accumulated debt of over £500!!!
    . . .
    Is there anything I can do about this? Is it worth making a complaint to the ombudsmen? Any advice would be gratefully received.
    Well, yes you can complain to the ombudsman because, if you are paying by direct debit, a debit balance on your account is NOT a debt as defined by the suppliers Standard Licence Conditions.

    You will need to start the suppliers formal complaints procedure because they have wrongly objected to your transfer.

    If you are unable to settle the debt within 30 days then you will need to set up a payment plan to pay it off as soon as possible but it seems to me, from what you have said, that some of the blame. at least, lies with the supplier and the ombudsman may offer you compensation or may even compel the supplier to withdraw the objection.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • B13bluesB13blues Forumite
    81 posts
    Photogenic First Anniversary
    Sure these energy companies aim to get debts on peoples accounts so they can't switch/leave.
  • The_Fat_ControllerThe_Fat_Controller Forumite
    364 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    B13blues wrote: »
    Sure these energy companies aim to get debts on peoples accounts so they can't switch/leave.

    Why would any company want a customer to OWE them money ?

    Not great for their cashflow if they have supplied you with something but you still haven't paid for it.

    Another example of a customer not actually keeping up with the status of their account and actual usage.
  • B13bluesB13blues Forumite
    81 posts
    Photogenic First Anniversary
    Because they know they'll get their money even if it goes to a debt collection agency.
  • edited 20 May 2019 at 11:27AM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
    5.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 20 May 2019 at 11:27AM
    . . . Another example of a customer not actually keeping up with the status of their account and actual usage.
    Whilst I accept your sentiment in principle, it is probably representative of a significant majority of energy customers.

    The energy suppliers, however, are "persuading" customers to have smart meters installed in order to meet their Ofgem targets, using empty promises (hype) of customers not needing to do anything and that their bills and DDs will be automatically correct according to their energy usage.

    In my opinion, a smart meter being monitored by a dumb supplier is worse than a dumb meter. Suppliers should be held accountable.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
    17.4K posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, yes you can complain to the ombudsman because, if you are paying by direct debit, a debit balance on your account is NOT a debt as defined by the suppliers Standard Licence Conditions.....

    Perhaps you can show us exactly were this definition is specified;

    https://epr.ofgem.gov.uk/Content/Documents/Electricity%20Supply%20Standard%20Licence%20Conditions%20Consolidated%20-%20Current%20Version.pdf

    ....
    If you are unable to settle the debt within 30 days then you will need to set up a payment plan to pay it off as soon as possible ...

    Hang on a minute! You've just told us that the balance is not a debt, now you are saying that it is a debt. Make up your mind.:)
  • Yellow_mangoYellow_mango Forumite
    440 posts
    100 Posts First Anniversary
    ✭✭
    I don’t know whether other suppliers offer this, but I am with First Utility (now Shell), with a smart meter, and was given the option to pay monthly based on actual usage, rather than a direct debit payment plan.

    Whilst it does not have the “benefit” of smoothing payments over the year, I much prefer this option. I like to know exactly where I am and to pay for what I use when I use it.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support