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    • Mantisguy
    • By Mantisguy 19th Jul 17, 3:52 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 3Thanks
    Ovo Energy - Massive charges and don't know what to do
    • #1
    • 19th Jul 17, 3:52 PM
    Ovo Energy - Massive charges and don't know what to do 19th Jul 17 at 3:52 PM
    If things keep going this way I may even have to file for bankruptcy if they start charging me the full debt. I've been with Ovo since October 2014, I think. To be fair, they're a friendly bunch on the phone but they're also as stubborn as hell and don't seem to want to help me with this. I'm a single guy. While I work from home there's only so much electricity I can use, surely? Now let me show you an example from a bill and you can take a guess as to whether I run some giant generators here:

    Your annual electricity summary
    For 27 October 2015 to 26 October 2016

    Over the last 12 months you've used 111324kWh
    (based on actual and estimated readings).
    Your total costs were 6,986.73.
    by Ovo Energy
    I'm no expert on these things, but this seems legit, right? Congrats for scaring the hell out of me, Ovo. This has been going on for years. After they eventually charged me over a grand that I couldn't afford to pay last year, I gave them a call about that and they were kind enough to refund that temporarily and freeze the larger charge, instead billing me for 62 a month. One guy on the phone agreed the charge was ballistic (I talked to many and some seemed rather apathetic), yet nobody either had the authority or the care to sort this out. They did however ask for photos of the meter at different times of the day which I sent, but they still complained. Time for MSE, right?

    Following the first recommendation I sent a report to the Ombudsman. After several weeks they got in touch and completely sided with Ovo. Makes me wish I took a trip to Trustpilot before sending them a message. They said the reason Ovo's readings were incorrect was that they accidentally switched the day/night readings, which still doesn't make much sense to me and doesn't explain these invisible giant generators I've presumably been running while sleep walking. The Ombudsman's message just simply wasn't helpful and it's clear to me their further messages would not have been either. I was delighted to see Ovo agreed to send 50, a letter of apology and nothing else! Made my day. I cannot wait for that (now a little over 5500) minor charge to come crashing down on my life!

    I read a few threads here. Apparently they have to send a meter reader at least once every two years. They actually did send somebody last month after nagging them, but nothing came from it and after they told me they'd call me back they never did. Before this guy though I'm pretty sure they hadn't sent somebody for two years. I decided to reject the Ombudsman's "resolution". Citizens Advice Bureau agreed to help me with this but only after the case with the Ombudsman is closed, so I'm waiting for them to respond to this, but I'm not even sure if CAB can help me. I might end up having to take it straight to court, and having agoraphobia the idea is very worrying.

    Any help, fellas?
Page 2
    • Mantisguy
    • By Mantisguy 20th Jul 17, 12:06 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Day and night is what they said. That's actually what they instructed me to do for the photos as well. The thing is, these seven off-peak hours seem really ambiguous to me. I don't think it matters too much so long as I get photos soon after midnight and before the afternoon.

    I found some older photos in my e-mails that I sent to Ovo as evidence back in October. In most of the photos there is a 2 to the left, and in one of them no extra digit like the photo in this thread. No 1 or t. It suggests I wasn't taking the photos at the best times but I do recall doing it around midnight or shortly after and the morning. Hmm. Are photos of the dial important, or just the box?

    On a side note, I think I'll avoid E7 in future and get something else installed. From what I've read it only appears to benefit a smaller group of people.
    Last edited by Mantisguy; 20-07-2017 at 12:10 AM.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 20th Jul 17, 8:46 AM
    • 3,497 Posts
    • 2,159 Thanks
    Our 2 rate leccy meter (when we had one) had a button which cycled the reading between rate 1, rate 2 and the combined total so it was easy to work out which was wihich.

    I'm guessing that yours just shows rate 1 possibly with no indicator and rate 2 with a little 2 in the screen.

    I dont know how yours is set up to read the day & night rates unless it automatically cycles between the displays. I'm sure a meter reader doesnet have to come twice - once at night and once in the day to read the different rates so there must be a way to get it to display the two rates.

    Try looking at the meter around 6:45 in the morning to see if it shows a little 2 and then changes to the normal screen after around 7 am (might be 8 am at this time of the year)

    When you've figured out which is the day rate and which is the night check that the readings correspond with your bill readings for day and night.

    You will have to be a a bit methodicall to sort it out but it's not rocket science
    Last edited by matelodave; 20-07-2017 at 8:50 AM.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    Look after our planet - it's the only one with beer
    • victor2
    • By victor2 20th Jul 17, 8:48 AM
    • 4,750 Posts
    • 3,170 Thanks
    E7 can be beneficial if you use electricity for your heating and hot water. Do you have storage heaters?

    Does the meter display keep rotating between two or three different readings? Maybe someone who knows that particular brand of meter will come along and enlighten us, but if you have a photo with a "2" to the left of the digits, I would bet that was the night reading. You shouldn't have to wait until the meter switches between day and night rates to see the corresponding reading. The display should automatically show them one after the other, and possibly a third value, which is the sum of the other two. The meter readers aren't going to visit in the night for one reading and day for the other...
    • littlerock
    • By littlerock 20th Jul 17, 5:21 PM
    • 1,305 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Can't OVO come and compare your usage to your devices. It sounds crazy to me.

    We live in a large chilly 4 bed Victorian semi detached (high ceilings, all rooms have 2 outside walls) and work from home. We have gas ch but also two pcs on broadband always on, plus various tablets and laptops, a smart tv, microwave, oven, 2 fridge freezers, two showers, electric oven, several fans going when it is hot and so on. Our bill is nothing like yours. Just dug out annual summary for May 2016-May 2017 , 6240 Kwh cost 1,150.

    There must be some major error. Why did the Ombudsman reject your appeal and have Ovo been out to check it?
    Last edited by littlerock; 20-07-2017 at 6:45 PM.
    • Neil49
    • By Neil49 20th Jul 17, 5:53 PM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 615 Thanks
    I used to be with OVO and was prompted to send them meter readings every month.

    From reading this post I can't ascertain where OVO have got the readings from. The OP doesn't appear to know how to get meter readings to send to OVO and it doesn't sound as if OVO have been reading the meter on a monthly basis either.

    Have OVO just had a blip and started using totally incorrect estimates which have got out of hand or am I missing something here.

    The other thing that can be checked is to see if the meter is faulty (which is something I had some years back). Even with the power switched off next to the meter I was still clocking up a reading. A new meter was installed and I got a refund based on my usage over previous years.

    Keep plugging away at them because the whole issue is ridiculous. It just needs someone at OVO with some common sense to get involved.
    • honeyend
    • By honeyend 20th Jul 17, 7:36 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    I used to have an E7 meter and every time they sent the bill they go the readings the wrong way round and had to send proof for them to correct it. Tedious.
    To get all the readings you do not have to take them at a certain time of day.
    You have by now an LCD meter, which will show three reading one after
    1 Then reading number
    2 Then reading number
    Then another number .
    I am rubbish at getting numbers right, they are only there for a few seconds before they change,so I just take picture of all three.
    Make sure you include the metre number in the photo, so you can prove its the correct meter. I would also check because of all your problems that its the meter associated with your bill.
    If you do understand E7, don't worry a lot of people don't.
    Its summer, unless you have the tumble dryer or are boiling a kettle every five minutes, you should not be using the day more expensive rate very much.
    To cut your use further turn off the emersion heater, if you have an electric shower, time your use. Put your dishwasher , washing machine on after 12 midnight on a timer. Change all your light bulbs to LEDs. expensive at the start but saves you heaps.
    Forget about how much you pay a month, its how much electricity you use a month( or day, whatever) is the important bit. They should only charge you for what you use. It took ages for my oh so smart husband to realise this.
    Kept checking the meter, if the numbers are flashing by like a fruit machine and you have only the fridge and the telly on. There is something wrong.
    If you live alone and are not heating a huge house with electric, which I hope at this time of year you should not, I would expect a bill for about 35- 50 a month,( it will depend on the price per kw) for the electricity you have actually used.
    Because they want you to pay by direct debit, they will add a bit on for higher winter usage, so it may be over 60, you just paying in advance of actually using the electric.

    I think there must be something very wrong and you sound a bit at a loss. I would get an electrician to come round who its used to rental properties, get him to check and explain your meter, check your wiring, and look how things are generally being used. He may go, 'hell that's where its all going'
    Growing cannabis is one of the biggest users of leccy, you may not be doing it but some crafty neighbour by have plugged and extension in somewhere, have you a socket in the garage?
    Good luck.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 20th Jul 17, 8:09 PM
    • 1,021 Posts
    • 887 Thanks
    There is no multirate meter that makes you wait for the appropriate time to read the meter. (How would meter readers fair?)

    There does not appear to be a button from the photo so does it cycle though the readings. There has to be a way to read the thing properly!
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 20th Jul 17, 9:02 PM
    • 2,447 Posts
    • 1,585 Thanks
    Is this the only meter ? There as a recent thread where there was an old check meter still on the premise and the poster had been reading that.

    Does the number on it agree with the serial number as shown on your bill?
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 20th Jul 17, 9:50 PM
    • 1,055 Posts
    • 682 Thanks
    If my maths is right, the bill equates to 12.7 kWh / hour ( = 12.7 kWatts ) which at 220 volts is 58 Amps, continuously.

    I think a ring main is only 20 Amps ( so you can't have lots of 13 Amp sockets on full power ).
    Two of those wouldn't be enough, so you have to also be using a shower or oven.

    Presumably the electricity company cannot charge for a rate, which you cannot have used ( like charging someone for 100 litres of petrol, having stood at the pump for only 5 seconds ). If the main fuse is say 60 or 80 Amps, a bill based on more that must certainly be a mistake ; and anything close, must be suspect.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 21st Jul 17, 6:52 AM
    • 5,585 Posts
    • 3,425 Thanks
    The point that is being missed is that this complaint has already passed through the EO and it has ruled in the supplier's favour. Neither the EO nor the supplier will entertain any further discussion. The OP's only hope is to prove that the meter is faulty. This will require any accuracy test. If the meter is OK then somehow the wiring in the building is faulty (or has been tampered with) in which case Ovo will still expect the OP to cover the cost of energy supplied.
    • buglawton
    • By buglawton 21st Jul 17, 8:01 AM
    • 7,297 Posts
    • 3,751 Thanks
    I'm with ovo and have an online account where I submit my meter readings on the last day of the month.

    I also keep a spreadsheet of units used every month so I know exactly what I have used.

    If for some reason one month seemed to jump sky high I would know there was something wrong.
    Originally posted by kelpie35
    Exactly. Also when you submit readings online you can see the previous reading, so a big jump one reading to the next should be instantly obvious. There's one other reason for getting sky high monthly bills: the leccy company has put you on a budget monthly repayment for previous long period of underestimated usage.

    Op posted consistently high monthly (but variable) bills for many months. Mental alarm bells should have gone off very early. At first glance it looks like a faulty meter. If that ongoing situation hasn't magically fixed itself then any fault will still be causing huge monthly readings right now. That can be proven out instantly by any half competent electrician. Or checked DIY by attaching one of those energy monitor meters over one of the main cables. Another really easy check is to turn off everything then count the led blips per minute (should really be zero). Then turn on a predicable appliance like a 3kw kettle and count again. A bit of maths will prove if the meter is accurate. Then turn on all circuits again one by one (do the blips suddenly speed up at any point?) and do a 24 hour reading to reading check.

    I somehow feel that the ongoing 'fault' will have magically fixed itself, to follow the MSE rule that threads like this never end with a clean crisp answer!
    • Mantisguy
    • By Mantisguy 21st Jul 17, 2:34 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    I'm afraid the fun's over, guys! The Ombudsman agreed to let me discuss the matter with Ovo again and we decided to settle. They've waived almost all the charges. There's around 500 left as they think I've been using more than 62 monthly while I've been with them. The jury's out on that one, but I decided to simply deal with it since it's not worth the extra hassle. Maybe I'll pay 20 towards that a month until the debt is cleared and I hope to get a smart meter so I don't have this problem again.

    All the same, thanks for your help, but I might as well answer some questions while I'm here. Judging by what you've said it seems I'm not the only one who's had this "transposing" (yes, they confirmed muddling day/night is apparently the reason for this major screw-up) problem so I bloody look forward to a smart meter. Yes, my flat came with a storage heater which of course makes sense with the E7. I think smart meters have economy 7 tariffs so that should be okay. I just wish my heater was "smart" and could turn off after the seven hours.

    Regarding the Ombudsman, they didn't reject the proposal. I did as it looked crap, and I realised I acted too hastily and wanted to negotiate with Ovo, so I sent them a message and that was okay. Yes, the meter cycles between two states. Takes about twenty seconds which is my mistake, sorry! :/ (Wish I was more patient in tight spaces.) It's the only meter, just the big dial at the side as well. Haha, I wish I had a garage! I'm trying to rent one for storage. Just a one-bedroom flat.

    All the power tips here are very handy, cheers. I just wish there was a way to only use the freezer part of a fridge-freezer since (I know some will hate me for this as there is a stigma) I've been put on a shake diet to lose a lot of weight. The fridge is redundant, but I need ice for my shakes. I know a fridge-freezer uses double the wattage. Oh well.

    Regarding Ovo, I think they should be more transparent to the customer. While it is my error that I didn't look at all the statements, they don't (or didn't to me) send letters or e-mails with these statement charges. You can only find them through their website, and with my bank statement which I check regularly always reporting my monthly 62 with Ovo I thought there was nothing wrong. If they gave lazy customers like me a small nudge so they know about these extra debts it could really help them out, unless that's not what they want...

    Yeah, I don't think there will be a clean crisp answer. I'm not the only one who reported this transposing problem and while I always own up to my errors I think this is on Ovo.
    Last edited by Mantisguy; 21-07-2017 at 2:42 PM.
    • WatlingA5
    • By WatlingA5 21st Jul 17, 3:12 PM
    • 140 Posts
    • 55 Thanks
    I'm a bit late for this party, but I'm also with Ovo, on the All Online. I get an email each month telling me my statement is ready and then download it as a PDF, same as all the other online bills - phone, water, etc.

    As for meter readings, I do them on the same date each month, the day before the statement is due. That way Ovo always get my latest readings. So when I saw that there had been a gas reading six days after mine I knew it was not from me, despite it being labelled as "You Gave.." So it seems there are still meter-readers around.

    Hope you have a better time now and get your stress levels down
    • buglawton
    • By buglawton 21st Jul 17, 4:34 PM
    • 7,297 Posts
    • 3,751 Thanks
    Ofgem should enforce a system of email/SMS warnings to people whose readings suddenly become implausible. Something like the runaway roaming charges texts that have been enforced by Ofcom after a very, very long time and fighting the 'comms companies.

    After all, weirdly enough, the leccy companies are under some sort of legal obligation to report unusual consumption to other parties!

    Put the fact that Ofgem does nothing to help the consumer avoid situations like this down to the general culture of rip-off Britain.
    • macman
    • By macman 22nd Jul 17, 12:07 AM
    • 41,781 Posts
    • 17,307 Thanks
    OP, only right at the end have you actually told us how you heat the flat-is there really just one NSH? On E7, running any other heaters will be costing you about 350% more, because they will be on peak rate. And your hot water is heated by an immersion heater? If so, you just need to put this on with a timer for about two hours overnight on cheap rate-say 4am to 6am. A properly lagged tank will stay hot all day.
    Don't stress about your light bulbs or fridge either. Up to 80% of your annual usage will be on heating and hot water: these are what matter.
    Once you get your billing sorted, check your annual kWh usage on each register: you should be using at least a third on cheap rate to benefit from E7.
    Last edited by macman; 22-07-2017 at 12:32 AM.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 22nd Jul 17, 9:46 AM
    • 1,281 Posts
    • 1,064 Thanks
    House Martin
    That meter in the photo is a standard single rate meter.All eco 7 meters like that one scroll through and have a cursor at the bottom to show which rate is displayed. They scroll r1, r2 and a t for total of the two. The white box to the left looks like an old analogue 24 hr circular timer switch. They are usually miles out of kilter so the cheap 7 hrs can be coming on at any time in the 24 hrs making transposing even more likely if night rate is still on in the afternoon
    I agree with Robin in that if you are Eco 7 it could be a check meter which has nt been taken away.
    Transposing Eco7 reads are very common and will remain so until smart meters are installed..All my meter reading colleagues are not really concerned in making sure they know which rate is day or night on digital meters as sometimes its not possible to know.. The occupier also should take the time to understand their system and the meters.
    .Transposed meter reads can go unnoticed for years especially when it favours the occupier. Suppliers sometimes will just issue a huge catch up bill without explanation because it was their meter readers who have been sending in wrong reads..Night storage users spot it quickly because their bills go up a lot and are on the phone that same day.
    Last edited by House Martin; 10-02-2018 at 11:45 AM.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 22nd Jul 17, 10:09 AM
    • 18,331 Posts
    • 12,510 Thanks
    That meter in the photo is a standard single rate meter. Multirate Single Phase Watt Hour Meter and Rate clearly printed on the front of the meter
    All eco 7 meters like that one scroll through and have a cursor at the bottom to show which rate is displayed. They scroll r1, r2 and a t for total of the two OP says it does scroll through !
    Originally posted by House Martin
    .................................................. ......
    • Rubidium
    • By Rubidium 22nd Jul 17, 11:29 AM
    • 658 Posts
    • 438 Thanks
    That meter in the photo is a standard single rate meter.All eco 7 meters like that one scroll through and have a cursor at the bottom to show which rate is displayed. They scroll r1, r2 and a t for total of the two
    I agree with Robin in that if you are Eco 7 it could be a check meter which has nt been taken away.
    Transposing Eco7 reads are very common and will remain so until smart meters are installed..All my meter reading colleagues are not really concerned in making sure they know which rate is day or night on digital meters as sometimes its not possible to know.. The occupier also should take the time to understand their system and the meters.
    .Transposed meter reads can go unnoticed for years especially when it favours the occupier. Suppliers sometimes will just issue a huge catch up bill without explanation because it was their meter readers who have been sending in wrong reads..Night storage users spot it quickly because their bills go up a lot and are on the phone that same day.
    Originally posted by House Martin
    You are testiculating again old man!

    Multirate meters of that type can be used as a single rate meter e.g. here is an example:

    but the one shown in the photograph in this thread is obviously wired as a multi rate meter because the fifth timeswitch control wire is clearly visible.

    These meters do not all cycle though Rate1, Rate2, Total on the display, some display Rate1, Rate2 followed by a display test where all display segments can be seen working, some simply have an indicator to show when the second rate register is displayed.

    I would have expected a meter reader to know this.
    • MaxineC
    • By MaxineC 8th Feb 18, 9:49 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mystery number
    I have a reading marked 1 and a reading marked 2 plus another number. There is no letter t and readings 1and 2 do not total the other number. What is this other number? It changes as if measuring something. An electrician has said it should be the total so my meter is faulty. I have been sent a bill for 5000 as British Gas says we have been underpaying. However, I know our electric usage should be minimal
    Help please @ rubidium
    • Telegraph Sam
    • By Telegraph Sam 9th Feb 18, 10:49 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Telegraph Sam
    Is the upshot of this to avoid signing up with OVO despite their widespread 5* rating? I am proposing to switch to them, Tonik or E.On as things currently stand.
    Telegraph Sam
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