Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Npower.Why it's hard for solar customers to save money.

Sometimes I think that Npower has based its business strategy on Millwall Football Club supporters anthem "No one likes us, we don't care" during the late 70's. 
Even by the standards of the 'big6' energy companies, It's hard to imagine a more consistently inept and alienating attitude towards their customers.

For my sins I've been an Npower customer for 3 years. In fairness they appeared to have the most competitive tariffs when I signed up. It's my own fault for being a cheap skate, rather than looking at customer satisfaction tables.

For the past 12 months I've been using their "Go Fix 6" tariff, it's a fixed price deal which ends in July 2012, I pay £65 per month by direct debit for my gas and electric.
Yesterday I received an email alerting me that my bill was available online and also there was an "important announcement" I needed to look at. 

First the good news...The online bill tells me I'm £105 in-credit, it's coming up to the lowest energy usage quarter of the year and I'm £105 in-credit, "that's fantastic". 
Helpfully, the nice people at Npower provide a comparison graph of my energy usage this year in comparison with last. They confirm my findings that my electricity usage has dropped by 30% and gas usage has remained the same.

Now the bad news.....Despite me being £105 in-credit, they're only going to refund me £62. On top of this disappointing information they also announce they're increasing my monthly direct debit to £72 per month. So, for the next quarter I'll be paying 10% more, whilst using less than average power. I can almost guarantee that my next bill will see me even more in-credit, I bet other companies wish they could run their business on FREE credit.

I rang the customer services who tell me that it's "standard practise" to raise direct debit amounts if a tariff is coming to an end. When I asked them to explain why they were only refunding half of my in-credit amount, they said they were "unable" to discuss outstanding balances.....

Guess who's going to be looking at alternative energy supplier websites next month?

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

1 comment:

  1. Icarus,

    I'm in a very similar situation to you: an npower customer of four years who's "Go Fix 6" tariff deal ends at the end of July.

    I've made my ISP, phone and mobile operators work hard to keep my business and several utility providers have loyalty schemes in place yet frustratingly customer retentions seems to be an alien concept to npower at present.

    Given the transfer process typically takes five to six weeks I've already moved to a new provider. I'm savvy enough to know that both my npower boiler cover and FIT payments are NOT dependant on me remaining with them.

    TIP: Switch tariffs via USwitch (having first followed the link on moneysavingexpert.com) and you qualify for a free case of wine from Virgin Wines - even if you stay with the same utility company.

    Provided you aren't put off by much of their energy generation coming from nuclear power EDF seem to be offering the best deal with their dual fuel Blue + Price Promise.

    Aside from being the cheapest (based on my typical consumption) it offers the advantages of a price fix until September 2013 and no cancellation penalty, giving you the best of both words.

    Interestingly, chatting to a USwitch operator reavealed that they'd been receiving a LOT of enquiries for npower customers in our situation.

    A mass exodus is clearly underway!