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Debt on energy account

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
23 replies 1.3K views
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  • edited 20 May 2019 at 1:41PM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    edited 20 May 2019 at 1:41PM
    antrobus wrote: »
    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

    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.:)
    See section [[STRIKE]2.1[/STRIKE] Oops !] 1.2 - Definitions:-
    Outstanding Charges
    means the amount of any Charges for the Supply of Gas [Electricity] which are due to the licensee from a Domestic Customer, have been demanded of that Domestic Customer by the licensee in Writing at least 28 days previously and remain unpaid;
    If you settle the debt within 30 days then the supplier must withdraw the objection to the transfer. Or you can wait while you go through the supplier's complaints procedure and then for the ombudsman to make a decision and then for the supplier to comply. The choice is yours. The complaint about the previous supplier can always be made after you have transferred to another supplier.

    Edit
    A statement of account is not a written demand for payment when paying by DD. Is it ?
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    See section [[STRIKE]2.1[/STRIKE] Oops !] 1.2 - Definitions:-

    Outstanding Charges
    means the amount of any Charges for the Supply of Gas [Electricity] which are due to the licensee from a Domestic Customer, have been demanded of that Domestic Customer by the licensee in Writing at least 28 days previously and remain unpaid
    ;

    ...

    Oh, I see.

    You should have read beyond the definitions and actually read the license conditions, Specifically, page 95;

    Domestic Customer transfer blocking

    14.4 The licensee may ask or allow the Relevant Gas Shipper to prevent a Proposed Supplier Transfer in relation to a Domestic Customer at a Domestic Premises at which the licensee is the Relevant Gas Supplier in any of the following circumstances:

    (a) subject to paragraphs 14.5 and 14.7, if at the time the request is made Outstanding Charges are due to the licensee from that Domestic Customer;


    Paragraph 14.5 relates to prepayment meters and 14.7 to disputed amounts. I don't think they are relevant.

    Since condition 14.6 states that

    The licensee shall ensure that Outstanding Charges of amounts equal to or less than £500 are capable of being assigned by the licensee to a new Gas Supplier in accordance with the Protocol.

    and the OP has told us they had an 'accumulated debt of over £500!!!', this would appear to be a perfectly valid objection.

    Any complaint would be a waste of time, and the OP should do the blinkin obvious and pay off the debt if they still want to transfer.:)
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    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!!!

    ....

    Well Lumo say that;

    We constantly review your monthly direct debit payment amount. Whenever you come to our app, we check that what you’re paying is enough to cover what your expected annual usage is, for the next 12 months.

    https://lumoapp.co.uk/billing-and-payments/how-direct-debits-are-reviewed/

    Presumably if you don't go the app, nothing happens?
  • edited 21 May 2019 at 6:19AM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    edited 21 May 2019 at 6:19AM
    antrobus wrote: »
    Oh, I see. . .
    Well, you may see it but it's clear that you just don't understand it. I hope I can make it clearer for you.

    14.4 The licensee may make a request in accordance with the Master Registration Agreement to prevent a Proposed Supplier Transfer in relation to a Domestic Customer at a Domestic Premises at which the licensee is the Relevant Electricity Supplier in any of the following circumstances:
    (a) subject to paragraphs 14.5 and 14.7, if at the time the request is made Outstanding Charges are due to the licensee from that Domestic Customer;


    SLC 14.4(a) and the definition of "Outstanding Charges" quoted earlier (SLC 1.2) is all the OP needs to make a complaint that the switch request was wrongly objected to.

    The OP was clearly not on any repayment plan with the supplier and had no demand for payment of outstanding charges at the time of the request.

    Incidentally, SLC 14.6 applies only to the transfer of debt for customers on prepayment meters which is entirely irrelevant in this case.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    Well, you may see it but it's clear that you just don't understand it. I hope I can make it clearer for you.

    No, I'm afraid it is you that doesn't understand. Outstanding charges is simply the balance on the account. If the supplier has issued a bill, and Lumo do them monthly, then they have 'demanded' the charges on that bill. There is no requirement for them to specifically request repayment of any debt within any particular time frame,

    The simple fact of the matter is that a supplier can object to a transfer if the balance due on the account is greater than £500, Because that's what condition 14.4 says.

    Therefore my advice to the OP would be, forget about wasting your time with a complaint, send Lumo a cheque for £500 or whatever, and re-request a transfer.
  • ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    antrobus wrote: »
    No, I'm afraid it is you that doesn't understand. . .
    Well, we will just have to agree to a difference of opinion.

    The OP has a case for complaint and has nothing to lose by taking the mater to the ombudsman in due course.

    I suspect your angle in this is to attempt - for reasons best known to yourself - to discourage energy customers from complaining about incompetent energy suppliers so the latter can continue taking advantage of their customers without being held accountable.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • theJBPtheJBP Forumite
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    An update on this thread.

    First a quick recap. You'll recall I posted about a substantial debt I had accrued on my energy bill (gas & electric). The debt was £575.

    Basically, unbeknownst to me, my direct debit wasn't covering my energy use. I mentioned in my post that I was considering going to the ombudsman and a number of you replied and there was debate about whether I stood a chance. This is an update post and while I will also post this as a reply to my original post, I feel it's important enough to post in a new thread too so that more will see it.

    After protracted negotiations and threats from myself, the energy supplier has ADMITTED LIABILITY. They basically accept they have an obligation to inform customers when a DD is not covering energy use. The exact wording was the following:

    "...a duty of care to ensure that customers do not fall into an unmanageable amount of debt and have a responsibility to advise customers if and when their account starts to fall behind. In your case, due to a technical error these communications were not activated and we did not step in early enough to prevent this."

    They have now offered me £150 off my debt as a "goodwill gesture".

    The reason I feel this is so significant is because I have noticed other threads on this forum discussing accrued debt. As mentioned, there was debate on my original thread about whether customers had rights in this area. Somebody posted a link to an article where the ombudsman was quoted as expressing concern about accrued debt. Personally, I think my experience shows that the energy companies know they are in the wrong. I am yet to decide whether to take my complain further and go to the ombudsman. But the fact is this situation should not be happening.
  • edited 7 June 2019 at 12:54PM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    edited 7 June 2019 at 12:54PM
    theJBP wrote: »
    An update on this thread. . .
    They have now offered me £150 off my debt as a "goodwill gesture".

    The reason I feel this is so significant is because I have noticed other threads on this forum discussing accrued debt. As mentioned, there was debate on my original thread about whether customers had rights in this area. Somebody posted a link to an article where the ombudsman was quoted as expressing concern about accrued debt. Personally, I think my experience shows that the energy companies know they are in the wrong. I am yet to decide whether to take my complain further and go to the ombudsman. But the fact is this situation should not be happening.
    Thanks for sharing.

    If they have also withdrawn their objection to your transfer then you probably won't do much better by going to the ombudsman - as I understand it, they are limited to £200 compensation payments.

    Once you have switched, you can probably set up an arrangement to repay the remaining balance owing to the supplier.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    theJBP wrote: »
    ...

    Basically, unbeknownst to me, my direct debit wasn't covering my energy use. ...

    My advice would be; in future, check your bills, Your monthly DD will be based on your projected annual usage. It's never going to 100% bang on.
    theJBP wrote: »
    ...
    . Personally, I think my experience shows that the energy companies know they are in the wrong. ...

    To be honest with you, most energy companies are only too quick to bang up your DD to prevent any build up of debt. Lumo appear to be a bunch of idiots.

    The good news would be, that if you accept their £150 goodwill offer, you debt will be £425, which is below the £500 threshold, so they won't be able to object to any transfer,:)
  • edited 7 June 2019 at 4:05PM
    BenightBenight Forumite
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    edited 7 June 2019 at 4:05PM
    theJBP wrote: »
    An update on this thread.

    First a quick recap. You'll recall I posted about a substantial debt I had accrued on my energy bill (gas & electric). The debt was £575.

    Basically, unbeknownst to me, my direct debit wasn't covering my energy use. I mentioned in my post that I was considering going to the ombudsman and a number of you replied and there was debate about whether I stood a chance. This is an update post and while I will also post this as a reply to my original post, I feel it's important enough to post in a new thread too so that more will see it.

    After protracted negotiations and threats from myself, the energy supplier has ADMITTED LIABILITY. They basically accept they have an obligation to inform customers when a DD is not covering energy use. The exact wording was the following:

    "...a duty of care to ensure that customers do not fall into an unmanageable amount of debt and have a responsibility to advise customers if and when their account starts to fall behind. In your case, due to a technical error these communications were not activated and we did not step in early enough to prevent this."

    They have now offered me £150 off my debt as a "goodwill gesture".

    The reason I feel this is so significant is because I have noticed other threads on this forum discussing accrued debt. As mentioned, there was debate on my original thread about whether customers had rights in this area. Somebody posted a link to an article where the ombudsman was quoted as expressing concern about accrued debt. Personally, I think my experience shows that the energy companies know they are in the wrong. I am yet to decide whether to take my complain further and go to the ombudsman. But the fact is this situation should not be happening.

    If, as you say, the supplier has admitted liability, forget any goodwill gesture - demand the company put the situation right, issue a full apology and pay appropriate compensation.

    But the fact is I very much doubt the supplier has admitted liability, despite what you think they may have sent you. e.g. if they have, then their insurance will walk away from any claim in this regard.
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