Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Hidden Costs of Changing Energy Supplier.

Lovely Jubbly...
Pundits, politicians and the energy companies themselves are telling us we need to shop around and change our supplier/tariff to the best on offer.
What they don't tell you about are the hidden costs involved in changing supplier. These companies, their shareholders and chief executives are providing a service which seems like a licence to print money. Even worse they seem to be able to provide the that service funded by the payment terms VERY favorable to them.

I am always looking to save money. I prefer to sign up for a new contract based on a "no penalty" clause allowing me to switch to a better deal if one comes up during the contract term.
I was annoyed in July 2012 that my existing supplier Npower couldn't refund the credit I'd built up over the life of the contract because my new provider, Scottish Power hadn't passed on my meter readings. Not only were they holding onto my money, they were also still taking standing order payments from my bank each month. I contacted Scottish Power who stated they'd given the meter readings to Npower on the changeover date weeks ago.

Where do you go? Who do you believe? Approximately two months after switching to my new supplier I eventually received a refund from Npower of £105. No apology, no interest adjustment, just the £105 of my money which had been overpaid and sat in their account. As you can imagine my opinion of Npower and their accounting practices were fairly low.

Ironically, despite my dislike of Npower I have signed up for their "Price Protector September 2016" contract. On September 16th 2013 I provided my initial meter reading to Npower and what do you know? The nightmare begins again...

Scottish Power has continued to take standing orders from my bank, despite my account being £156 in credit. Obviously, I've now cancelled the standing order mandate, but when I contact them to ask when they would refund my credit. Wait for it...

"Sorry, we haven't received your final meter readings from your new supplier."

Is it just a bizarre coincidence? Or is it a deliberate policy to drag out the time taken to refund customers in-credit payments?

"I'm trying hard to smile..."

I think Ryanair's Michael O'Leary must be masterminding the Big six energy companies PR department. Can we expect them to insist we print out our boarding cards, sorry, energy bills ourselves, whilst charging us for excess usage?

We deserve better than this. The British public pays energy companies considerable sums for what is frankly an appalling service. 
Wasn't privatisation all about providing, choice, competition and service?

What's your experience been like?

Updated 10/02/2014...
Finally. Nearly 5 months after supplying my meter readings on September 15th 2013, Npower have contacted me to apologise.
I would rather have not had the hassle and complications, but they have offered me a bottle of wine and £50 to compensate me for my complaint.
Will I be staying with them after my fixed price contract ends in September 2016? Probably not.

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

1 comment:

  1. There is one reason for this. Nothing to do with trying to get extra money/interest out of the customer. It's simple. The core IT systems within the big six are trash. npower has recently 'upgraded' to SAP in the last year which hasn't been a glowing success considering the millions it cost. They'll iron the bugs out eventually over the next 10 years then replace it with something else that doesn't work.