Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Is Your Feed In Tariff Payment Late?

Have you ever been bullied?

It's not always a big kid coming over and pushing you around. Sometimes it's nasty words or threats. Sometimes the bullying is very subtle, your boss tells you that redundancies are needed and the project you're working on needs to be "finished" ASAP.

Sometimes it's just big companies flexing their corporate muscle and imposing terms and conditions which they, themselves, would have rejected.

I send my FiT readings to Npower every quarter, using the online function rather than posting the details. I get an almost instant response from them thanking me for supplying the details and confirming the meter readings I've provided.

It seems a good system. I do all the work and they can electronically update my records and calculate the amount to be credited to my bank account.

The final day for the latest quarterly reading was the 25th June 2013. Having provided the reading (and received confirmation) I assumed that I'd be receiving the payment in a week, or two at most. It's now been 3 weeks and NO payment has been received.

Let's get onto the bullying bit...

I've just taken a look at the small print on the bottom of Npower's confirmation email. 

"Once we have your reading, we'll arrange payment - 

this may take up to 60 days after the closing date. If we receive your reading after the closing date your payment will be incorporated into the next quarter's reading as per the dates above".

They could take 2 months, that's 60 days to pay their supplier (me) for the products I've supplied over the previous 3 months. Some of the energy generated in my latest meter reading was generated 3 months ago, so they're getting 150 days nett credit terms. 
How many organisations manage to arrange such generous payment terms?

Well, Npower customers don't enjoy similar terms. If you visit Npower's website and click on the "Paying Your Bill Link" you'll discover how long you have to pay them.

"Quarterly - you'll have 14 calendar days from the date on your bill to pay for your energy."

You try asking for extended terms and see how they react. "Pay-up" is the reaction I suspect you'll get.

Paul Massara, npower chief executive, warned "household energy bills will rise from £1,247 today to £1,487 by 2020 in real terms - not taking into account inflationary increases - if usage remains static."

Who would like to bet that Npower profits won't remain static during the same period?

Are other energy companies any better at making FiT payments on time?

NB: It's been a month now and NO payment has been received. I've written an update on this piece speculating why my payment hasn't arrived. Link to new piece.

I'd be interested in your comments.

Twitter: (@solaricarus)


  1. I usually get paid about three weeks after the end of quarter reading (which was 30 June in my case. So any day now ... However the 60 days' is a standard contract term in the 'FiT industry' - by the way it's 60 working days so 12 weeks!

    1. 12 weeks!!!

      "When do we want it? NOW..."

  2. At a guess I'd say it's been 2 Years since your Installation was Installed? Per Ofgem guidance FIT licensee's have to obtain a "meter inspection" every 2 years. They're probably waiting for their nominated meter reading agent to visit your property and get this "inspection" back to them. If that hasn't happened by the time the 60 days is up they'll probably pay you anyway.

    1. Hi Anonymous. Really useful comment. I hadn't realised that Ofgem made this requirement to avoid fraud.
      It seems perfectly reasonable, but why don't the energy suppliers make this point to householders who are reaching the two year cut-off point? Another bad mark against Npower.
      Here's the link to the Ofgem website, which confirms the two year inspection requirement.

  3. They should have already instructed their reading agency to read your meter a couple of months before it was due. The reading agency will most likely have made two unscheduled visits and "should" have left a card asking for you to ring them and make an appointment. Now the blame game lays between the reading agency (if they didn't leave the card) or you (if you binned the card, maybe thinking it was a flyer etc). Give the Feed In Tariff team a bell and they "might" be able to accept a photo of the meter or I guess give you the tel no for the reading agency to sort an appointment. You could also just wait for the 60 days period to come and they will probably push the payment through anyway but you will run into the same delay next quarter at which point they could demand a visit before payment.