Thursday, 25 July 2013

Not, Is Your Feed In Tariff Payment Late, But Why It May Be...

I wonder how many of you are aware of the need for your FiT meter to be read every two years?

Verifying meter readings
6.12. This section has been added to recognise that the two-year meter reading verification is a key control in mitigating fraud.
6.13. FIT Licensees are required to take reasonable steps to verify Generation Meter Readings and/or Export Meter Readings, at least once every two years from the Installation‟s Eligibility Date. 

I'm not certain that my FiT provider, Npower recognise their responsibility!

Details of my Reading/Payment dates.

Submitted date                                     Date payment received
31/03/2012                                        18/04/2012 (18 days)
24/06/2012                                        29/06/2012 (5 days)
24/09/2012                                        01/10/2012 (8 days)
24/12/2012                                        08/01/2013 (16 days)
31/03/2013                                        08/04/2013 (8 days)

25/06/2013                                             ???       (31 days, & counting)

As you can see from the details above, Npower have paid my FiT payment 5 - 18 days from my sending in the meter reading.
When I sent in my latest readings on the 25th June I assumed that I'd receive a payment into my bank account in early July.
After waiting until the 21st July, I began to worry. Had they received my readings? They'd sent a confirmation email, but we're dealing with Npower here...

I emailed them and asked if there was a problem. Two days later I received the following.
"Thank you for your email. I can confirm your June meter readings have been received with thanks. Payment will be received within 60 days of the meter read closing date (1st July) please let us know if you require any further information."

I emailed them back pointing out that they'd previously made their payments within a maximum of 18 days, had their policy changed? Two days later I received the following.
"Thank you for your email. Our payment terms have always been that payment will be received in up to 60 days from the meter read closing date. Please accept our apologies that payment has taken longer than ordinary on this occasion."  

At this stage I began to become suspicious. My previous piece on Link to previous piece had brought an anonymous comment from someone (who sounded as if he knew what he was talking about) pointing out that my installation had now passed the two year point when a meter reading was required.
He, or she, queried if I'd had a card pushed through my door telling me that a meter reader had called whilst I'd been out, or if I'd been approached by Npower to arrange a convenient time for the meter to be read. The answer was NO to both questions.

I'd decided that my FiT was going to take longer than expected this quarter, there was nothing I could do. Npower "Terms and Conditions" quite clearly state up-to 60 days from meter reading. 

Then I received a further email from the Npower team.
"Our Meter Check team Meter Plus have contacted us as they would like to arrange a two yearly generation meter inspection with you. Two Yearly inspections are a required for all Feed in Tariff customers, in accordance with Ofgem Guidance. Please can you kindly call Meter Plus on 0800-0730-030."
Well...What a surprise. 

It seems entirely reasonable for the FiT payment provider to carry out checks on the meter readings sent in by their customers. I'm sure the temptation may be too strong to resist for many people to inflate the output figures from their PV panels for financial gain. However, is it a sensible policy for inspections to be made at the two year anniversary? Surely, if people are aware of this check they'll tidy up their fraudulent readings once every two years.
It seems even more foolish for Npower to wait until the two year anniversary and then delay payment because "we're awaiting your meter reading."

If it's coming up to YOUR systems two year anniversary, don't send it a card, send your FiT provider a request for a meter reading.

Me? I'll just be pleased when they pay me.

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

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