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  • FIRST POST
    • Hawky89
    • By Hawky89 26th Sep 18, 11:20 AM
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    Hawky89
    Npower issues and can we switch?
    • #1
    • 26th Sep 18, 11:20 AM
    Npower issues and can we switch? 26th Sep 18 at 11:20 AM
    As a bit of background, me and my fiance moved into our first home in July last year and set up our electricity supply with Npower. We only have electricity, no gas, so the majority of our electricity comes from the heating.



    To start with Npower massively overcharged us because they, obviously, didn't know how much energy we would use, but once I started regular meter readings (once a week) the charges came down and we got a refund from them to balance our account.



    In March 2018, our meter stopped working. I contacted Npower to arrange a replacement and that was set for April. That appointment came and they cancelled it half way through the appointed time slot. I complained because my fiance took a day off work to be in for that. We got a missed appointment compensation payment for that. But that is the end of the good service.


    From then on, I have contacted them at least a dozen times to try and get our meter replaced, by phone, by online chat and by facebook and each time it takes forever to get them to arrange anything, the appointment is always 6 to 8 weeks in the future and so far the two additional appointments we have arranged (one this Friday) have also been cancelled. So we have been more than 6 months without a working meter.


    During this time, we have been being charged more than double our usual direct debit because all Npower have to go on are thier excessive estimates. The end of March coincided with the last time we used our heating and it has not been on since, so I know our usage is low, much lower than they think we use.



    So we are in the position that Npower think we still owe them a good 160 and our continuing our large monthly direct debits to cover this, whereas by my worst case estimate, I think we are even or have overpaid slightly.


    I have asked Npower about this and they have said all they could do is take meter readings for the first two weeks after we get our meter replaced and use those figures for March to Septmeber as well, which I was initially happy with. Now however, given the recent appoinment cancellation, our meter will now not be fixed until well into October, by which time we may well need to have the heating on again, which is not an accurate representation of our usage for March to September at all.



    To top it all off, our tariff ends at the end of October and I am being quoted ridiculous prices because our usage is suposedly much higher.


    So my questions are, 1) Are there any avenues of complaint I can raise against this issue beyond Npower themselves? And 2) As I can't porivde any meter readings, can I switch to a different supplier or will this throw a spanner in the works with Npower and should I wait for this mess to get sorted out first?



    Thanks for your help.
Page 1
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 26th Sep 18, 12:25 PM
    • 4,197 Posts
    • 7,521 Thanks
    Smodlet
    • #2
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:25 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:25 PM
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Have you kept a record of dates and times you contacted nPower and of cancelled appointments? It should not matter but might help. They should have a record themselves of course...

    In your position, I would raise a complaint (I would have done it long ago) by phone. This sets the clock ticking as they then have 8 weeks to resolve it before you can take it to the Energy Ombudsman, for all the use they are. IMO, the threat of the EO is worse than the fact for energy companies as it affects their stats. Get bad enough stats, Ofgem might fine them.

    You cannot approach the EO until either your complaint is 8 weeks old or you receive a "deadlock" letter from nPower stating they can progress your complaint no further.

    The direct number for nPower complaints is 0800 316 9328 and make sure you note the reference number and date.

    The only other thing I can suggest is you call and tell them you want a "smart" meter; they have targets to hit for the installation of those. I would not attempt to switch supplier before the meter is replaced as I think it would complicate things further and, AFAIK, nPower are one of the few providers who still fit traditional new meters for free. I think smart meters are free from any provider but don't quote me on that.

    HTH.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Hawky89
    • By Hawky89 26th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Hawky89
    • #3
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
    Thanks for your reply, I do know when all of the appointments were supposed to be and I know I contacted them within the week following each cancelled booking. I have facebook chat history and a few of the online chats logged.


    They were initially going to replace the meter with a smart meter, that was what the first appointment was for but after that cancelled, they seemed to have more trouble arranging a smart meter than a normal one, so in the interest of supposedly getting it sorted, we went for the normal one, but still that is not materializing eithier! Some of the people I spoke to even said we couldn't get a smart meter even though the original appointment we had was to fit one!



    I have made complaints already, some quite a while ago, but the most recent one was less than 8 weeks I think. I will wait a few more weeks to see if I hear anything and will then see what the EO says.
    • takman
    • By takman 26th Sep 18, 12:51 PM
    • 3,786 Posts
    • 3,458 Thanks
    takman
    • #4
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:51 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:51 PM
    During this time, we have been being charged more than double our usual direct debit because all Npower have to go on are thier excessive estimates. The end of March coincided with the last time we used our heating and it has not been on since, so I know our usage is low, much lower than they think we use.

    So we are in the position that Npower think we still owe them a good 160 and our continuing our large monthly direct debits to cover this, whereas by my worst case estimate, I think we are even or have overpaid slightly.
    Originally posted by Hawky89
    This isn't really too much of an issue because when you get the new meter sorted and the readings calculated the bills will be adjusted and you won't loose any money.

    You also need to remember that the monthly direct debit is supposed to build up a surplus over the summer to compensate for your extra usage during the winter.
    So if you think what you have paid so far is roughly what you have used over the summer months then you probably haven't been paying enough. But this will all be sorted out once you get your new meter.

    I have asked Npower about this and they have said all they could do is take meter readings for the first two weeks after we get our meter replaced and use those figures for March to Septmeber as well, which I was initially happy with. Now however, given the recent appoinment cancellation, our meter will now not be fixed until well into October, by which time we may well need to have the heating on again, which is not an accurate representation of our usage for March to September at all.
    Originally posted by Hawky89
    So once your new meter is fitted you will be having no heating on and use the bare minimum of electricity for two weeks to get the lowest possible usage recorded for the time when you meter wasn't working
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 26th Sep 18, 12:56 PM
    • 4,197 Posts
    • 7,521 Thanks
    Smodlet
    • #5
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:56 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Sep 18, 12:56 PM
    Up to you how proactive you want to be, of course but what I would do is call Complaints today, ask for the complaint ref. if you don't already have it and ask when 8 weeks is up. I would then make it clear that the day after that date you either have a new meter wired up and ready to read or you take it to the EO. Considering their supposed targets to install smart meters and the resistance to them displayed on this forum, I find it ridiculous it has taken them so long to replace your meter.

    With luck more people will find your thread very soon; there are some posters who read meters for a living and others whose knowledge dwarfs mine but I hope to have been of some assistance today.

    P.S. Cross-posted with takman.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 26th Sep 18, 2:35 PM
    • 2,391 Posts
    • 3,646 Thanks
    badmemory
    • #6
    • 26th Sep 18, 2:35 PM
    • #6
    • 26th Sep 18, 2:35 PM
    When they instal the new meter at the beginning of winter will they take into account that the meter was not working for the whole summer & a particularly warm one at that?



    For example this is the first summer in over 25 years that my gas central heating hasn't come on for over 3 months & it is set to over 20C.



    Surely they cannot assume that the usage is the same in November as it was in May, June etc? Or is that the reason they are not installing the meter yet as they will charge more than they would have done? After 6 months would YOU trust them to get it right?
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 26th Sep 18, 3:26 PM
    • 4,197 Posts
    • 7,521 Thanks
    Smodlet
    • #7
    • 26th Sep 18, 3:26 PM
    • #7
    • 26th Sep 18, 3:26 PM
    What badmemory said. Just follow the steps I outlined and argue the usage once you have a working meter. This year saw the warmest May on record, apparently...
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
  • nPower
    • #8
    • 26th Sep 18, 3:54 PM
    • #8
    • 26th Sep 18, 3:54 PM
    As a bit of background, me and my fiance moved into our first home in July last year and set up our electricity supply with Npower. We only have electricity, no gas, so the majority of our electricity comes from the heating.



    To start with Npower massively overcharged us because they, obviously, didn't know how much energy we would use, but once I started regular meter readings (once a week) the charges came down and we got a refund from them to balance our account.



    In March 2018, our meter stopped working. I contacted Npower to arrange a replacement and that was set for April. That appointment came and they cancelled it half way through the appointed time slot. I complained because my fiance took a day off work to be in for that. We got a missed appointment compensation payment for that. But that is the end of the good service.


    From then on, I have contacted them at least a dozen times to try and get our meter replaced, by phone, by online chat and by facebook and each time it takes forever to get them to arrange anything, the appointment is always 6 to 8 weeks in the future and so far the two additional appointments we have arranged (one this Friday) have also been cancelled. So we have been more than 6 months without a working meter.


    During this time, we have been being charged more than double our usual direct debit because all Npower have to go on are thier excessive estimates. The end of March coincided with the last time we used our heating and it has not been on since, so I know our usage is low, much lower than they think we use.



    So we are in the position that Npower think we still owe them a good 160 and our continuing our large monthly direct debits to cover this, whereas by my worst case estimate, I think we are even or have overpaid slightly.


    I have asked Npower about this and they have said all they could do is take meter readings for the first two weeks after we get our meter replaced and use those figures for March to Septmeber as well, which I was initially happy with. Now however, given the recent appoinment cancellation, our meter will now not be fixed until well into October, by which time we may well need to have the heating on again, which is not an accurate representation of our usage for March to September at all.



    To top it all off, our tariff ends at the end of October and I am being quoted ridiculous prices because our usage is suposedly much higher.


    So my questions are, 1) Are there any avenues of complaint I can raise against this issue beyond Npower themselves? And 2) As I can't porivde any meter readings, can I switch to a different supplier or will this throw a spanner in the works with Npower and should I wait for this mess to get sorted out first?



    Thanks for your help.
    Originally posted by Hawky89


    Hi Hawky89,

    Sorry to hear of your experience trying to replace your faulty meter. Please contact us using the details on our profile page so we can help.

    Thanks,

    Jen
    Official Company Representative"
    I am the official company representative of nPower. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE.
    If we ask you to contact us, please do so using helpandsupport@npower.com - MSE Forum has temporarily allowed the display of our contact details in our signature due to a technical issue with our profile
    • Hawky89
    • By Hawky89 11th Jan 19, 8:08 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Hawky89
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 19, 8:08 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 19, 8:08 PM
    Thanks to all the replies and sorry I didn't come back but I now have further updates.



    The next appointment in September was also a bust, because the engineer turned up without the correct meter (nobody ever asked me to confirm the type). Try again, another appointment but now we were pushed out to Lowri Beck rather than Npower themselves. We got appointment number five from them for 14th November but they turned up on the 13th, while we were at work...



    I also didn't realise, until we came to put the storage heaters on again, that they don't work without the meter, which now seems obvious, but this being the first house I have been in that uses them, I wasn't aware of that. I have since also heard that there is some sort of urgent requirement for energy companys to get heating working after the start of November, is this correct? Because there was no sense of urgency shown.



    So we were then in winter with no heating other than standalone electric heaters, some of which we had to buy.


    The next available appointment wasn't until 17th December and when that came round, the engineer turned up with, you guessed it, the wrong meter again (I had offered to tell them the type before this one but they said they didn't need it)! Forunately they searched thier van and managed to find an old multi rate meter which would work and did the swap. So we finally had heating at least, after 9 months of waiting.


    I hoped it would then be a relatively easy job to update them with meter readings and get them to recalculate thier estimates since March. I was wrong about that too. They asked me to send a meter reading once a day, for five days to see what our current usage was. I did so and pointed out to them that it was minus 3 outside at the time and we had the storage heaters going strong, where as from April to 17th December, we did not because they didn't work. They seemed to acknowledge that and said they would recalculate the readings. They came back to me today saying they had done so.



    In the mean time, they have increased our direct debit again by another 40.



    Now, I have always known what our readings should be, I took readings weekly and I am kind of anal about these things. I I knew that the couple of months last year, before we needed any heating, were around 30 a month and we were still on the same tariff. The estimates they had made up until this point were 70 for april, 60 for May and about 50 a month from June until September then back to 60 for October. At most I expect our usage was actually less than 200. So I was expecting these amounts to go down... they went up instead!



    After getting details as to why, I was told that they had simply taken our readings from the five days when storage heaters were working, got an average usage of 14kws per night and 3kws per day and applied this across the whole year when the storage heaters were not working including the whole of summer! I have repeated to them many times that our night usage could not possibly have been 14kws per night because the storage heaters don't work, and it was summer for the majority of the period where the meter was out of action but they are not accpeting that.


    So they have worked out we owe them 200 more than before.



    I did send a formal complaint in about the whole thing back in December but I have been told tonight by the same representative I was dealing with the meter recalculation that she has taken over my complaint and could offer me a grand total of 65 compensation, to be deducted from the 200 they have now decided we owe them. She has also said that the complaint will go no further and that is the best they will do.



    So I have two questions. Is that sufficient time to now go to the energy ombudsmen even though technically I have not allowed Npower 8 weeks to formally respond. And secondly, can we switch energy suppliers now to a much better deal without affecting this dispute or are we still stuck with Npower on a much worse deal until it gets sorted?


    Thanks for your time.
    • B13blues
    • By B13blues 12th Jan 19, 2:27 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    B13blues
    I would close that bank account, stop direct debits, open a new bank account and pay quarterly over the counter. Npower will make all the excuses under the sun to avoid fitting a new meter.Those are just excuses regarding having the wrong meter I've heard them all in the past. Complete lies they'll send you information on the companies that fit meters next expecting you to pay for it.Never give Npower your bank details they can't be trusted.
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