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Gas and Electric

(18 Posts)
Diane227 Fri 23-Aug-19 17:25:47

Does anyone really understand their gas and electricity bill/statement.
Today we got a statement showing our usage from October to March 19
WHY ?? when its now August.
Also saying the monthly payment is going down by 40 pounds from September 19.
In March they put the payment up Why?? When it was obvious we would use less in the Summer.
I rang the energy supplier who just said im now in credit by 300 pounds.
Of course I am because ive been paying 40pounds over the odds !
I would rather pay what I owe every three months but have been told if I dont pay by direct debit then Im not eligible for the cheaper tarrif. WHY??
Its just blackmail in my view.
Anyone else had this experience ?

MiniMoon Fri 23-Aug-19 18:59:59

Yes!!! I thought that with the advent of smart meters, we would pay for what we use.

Oh no, I was wrong! Apparently the bills are still estimated.

Why did they roll out smart meters, if they just sit in the corner of the room, telling me what I've used, not what I have to pay? sadangry

GabriellaG54 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:12:30

Hi smile
Different companies have different rules but broadly speaking here's the way it works.
Yes, DDs mean you get a rebate on your overall yearly usage which is factored into your monthly DD.

Your DD is usually (and at my age you can guess that I've been with a lot of different providers) a set amount calculated by the company after looking at previous bills over the last 6 months.
It is then agreed to be £X which covers winter and summer usage so, instead of varying amounts, it's calculated over the year and divided into 12.
They should inform you if your usage starts to exceed the previously calculated usage figure and the DDs are not thought to be covering the usage.

You may have an agreement which enables them to take whatever amount is owed for that month via DD. That is something, in all my life, I have never done. It's always an agreed amount spread equally via DD over 12 months. maybe don't know that it's not your provider who sets the amount in the first place.
It's a company (and there are different companies in different areas) who are 'employed' by your provider to look at your usage over the first few months and come up with a figure.
This can, after 6 months or so, at your providers discretion and if you make the request, be lowered if it's found to be too high even taking into account winter usage.

I can't remember the official name these companies (which monitor your usage over the first few months) are called but they're regulated by OFGEM and OFGEM sets the standards for low medium and high usage and your provider sets tariffs accordingly.

Did you know that the higher you are above sea level the more you pay for your gas and if you have an outside meter, you pay less for your gas.

Your provider has to give you notice before increasing the amount of your DD and they are obliged to refund you any amount in credit above £5.
You can, of course, refuse the Credit if you want a credit buffer in your account but that £300 of yours is earning them interest.
Imagine the interest they generate on all the accounts in credit...and they keep it.
I hope I've explained it fairly but without knowing the company, I can't be more specific.

GabriellaG54 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:18:00

Levels of usage

Cherrytree59 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:19:41

We are with Bulb energy provider recommended by Martin Lewis. (Green energy provider)
Pay monthly.
Receive an email at least 3 days before direct debit due, asking if we wish to provide a gas and electric meter reading.

I almost always provide the readings (via my mobile phone) which are immediately acknowledged by Bulb.
So avoid estimated bills

I can check account at anytime.
And alter monthly payments of required.

annsixty Fri 23-Aug-19 19:22:37

Had a phone call this afternoon from British Gas.
They need to change my meters as they need upgrading.
Given 3 days next week when I can specify a time suitable to me.
It will take 45 minutes.
The two engineers will provide suitable identification.
So far so good.
Then asked for my date of birth as pensioners are offered a discount, alarm bells started.
The discount will be a massive 40%.
Then asked for bank details so discount can be applied.
At this point I told the caller no way and rang off.
Has anyone else had this call?
Do you think the engineer will turn up at 6:30 on Tuesday evening?

GabriellaG54 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:24:25

...and yes, I understand and can calculate my bills down to the 5th decimal point.
I'm never wrong and my provider is iSupply. I give monthy readings on 1st of every month without being asked and I take a screenshot of the meter as proof.

GabriellaG54 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:27:22

I'm surprised you asked us as the best way to find out is to ring British Gas...isn't it?
It's a free phone number.

EllanVannin Fri 23-Aug-19 19:49:22

I can never make head nor tale of the electricity bill the way it's calculated. I just pay up and look happy sad smile

annsixty Fri 23-Aug-19 20:05:53

It was a rhetorical question Gabriella I certainly don’t expect anything will happen.
I soon realised it was a scam although he was very plausible.

Diane227 Sat 24-Aug-19 19:22:06

Gabriella. Thankyou for the info. When they put the DD up I pointed out to them that some people might not be able to afford an increase in cost and might decide to reduce their usage but anything you say falls on deaf ears. I have also been harassed about getting a smart meter. I dont want one and made it clear. A couple of months ago a young man rang and said they were changing my tarrif as I wouldnt have the meter. Then his supervisor rang and apologised saying that wasnt going to happen.
It does worry me about old folk if memories go a bit and how they cope with all of this . Im not in my dotage and it stresses me out.

ayse Sat 24-Aug-19 20:36:33

Octopus is really easy. I read the meter monthly when they tell me too and receive a statement via email a while later. You can also get £50 for referring someone who opens an account and they get £50 too. I had a query a couple of days ago and called. They were very helpful and resolved the query rapidly. It’s my second year with them and they are not more expensive than many others. This year’s energy costs are less than last year. They are green energy as well.

Charleygirl5 Sat 24-Aug-19 22:23:59

I am also with Octopus and a couple of times I have contacted them the reply has been rapid, with a real person and my query has been sorted.

I requested to have a smart meter fitted because I can no longer read the meters although they are outside. No problems whatsoever and it is not a company to raise the DD each month as others have done.

Teacheranne Sat 24-Aug-19 22:35:46

I am now a little hesitant about changing to one of the new, smaller providers after my recent experience with Sainsburys Energy. They ceased trading a few months ago and my account was moved to British Gas, at the same low tariff until the end of my contracted term ( Nov).. But I am now getting emails and phone calls from BG to bully me into getting a smart meter ( had one, never again!) and informing me of the huge increase in my bills after November when I go on the most expensive BG tariff. To get a better deal, I will have to have a smart meter and agree to a two year contract.

Obviously I don't have to stay with BG and will compare all the companies but it worries me how frequently these new, small companies stop trading and their customers are moved, without consent, to a different company, often BG, and forced to pay large early cancellation fees to change.

These new companies are cheaper but don't necessarily have the financial structures of the more established companies. I wonder where they make the savings to be so much cheaper? After all, every company has to buy their gas and electricity from the same supplier, there is only one National Grid!

FlexibleFriend Sun 25-Aug-19 10:57:32

Sainsbury energy was always owned by British Gas.

mosaicwarts Sun 25-Aug-19 11:18:12

I've only got electricity as gas isn't available here, my central heating and aga run on oil.

I went through a hellish few weeks trying to change from ISupply, they said my address was wrong on the database. I don't recommend them at all, their customer service is zero.

I'm with SSE now and get very clear bills - plus they have just refunded me with my credit of £170. Without me asking! I can't have a smart meter as our signal isn't strong enough, I did make enquiries.

Teacheranne Sun 25-Aug-19 11:25:16

I knew that Sainsburys were linked to British Gas but in the terms and conditions, they made it clear that they were a seperate entity and not financially linked.

However, obviously their accounts went to BG when they ceased trading but that's not the first time that these smaller, new companies close. There is always a guarantee that supplies will not be affected as one of the big six companies take over but it is not ideal as ultimately the prices will go up.

Who knows how long Bulb or Octopus can last when competing against the big companies?

And BG should not now be bullying me to have a smart meter or trying to tie me to a long contract.

Chewbacca Sun 25-Aug-19 11:26:21

I've been with Bulb for a few years now and have found them to be very fair and easy to deal with. When I recently moved house, they credited my account with £50 because I had "self referred" from my previous address. They also automatically reduced my monthly direct debit, without me asking them to, because they had over estimated what my usage would be at my new address. I was with British Gas once....... never again. They're a nightmare to deal with.