Energy firm smartens up billing for customer – The Crusader
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Formerly with SSE, Paul Fairley was moved to Ovo Energy when it took over. Last summer he gave the go-ahead to have a smart meter installed and switched from paying quarterly to direct debit.
“I have always paid on time and much preferred the old system,” the 80-plus pensioner told Crusader.
“But my understanding was this was the future and I had to, so reluctantly I consented.”
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]
Paul got an in-home display monitor for his gas and electricity meters, but from what he could deduce things did not go well.
“One day I had a few pounds credit, then suddenly I had over £60 without hardly using anything more. When I called I was just told to move the monitor nearer to the meter,” he recalls.
“I just want to know where I stand so I can compare how much I used and the cost, have clear notification of any increases and a comprehensible bill.”
As consumers are advised he got in touch with his supplier but says he did not hear further. “I sent at least eight letters,” he recalls.
A national rollout of smart meters is underway, however they are not obligatory and refusal at present has no time limit.
From the inquiries Crusader receives much more guidance generally in a clearer format about using smart meters is needed, although in principle they are a good thing.
Some customers however struggle to get to grips with them and can’t easily tell when a malfunctioning connection is the problem.
Switching suppliers can also cause problems and enrolment of new meters on to the network is not always smooth.
Always check your smart meter is a new one and if any specific smart meter tariff is available or likely to be soon.
We shared Paul’s understandable anxieties with Ovo however and it is now giving Paul more support, including clarity about his current tariff.
“A very nice man got in touch,” he confirmed. I’m getting a proper bill and a hard copy is available. They explained about recent increases and the price guarantee.
“I have been put on its priority person’s register so getting answers should be easier too and I received a goodwill gesture for the lack of service before. Am no longer ignored, thank you Crusader.”
Paul’s name has been changed
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As certain as taxes, fraud will be with us as the new year gets underway. We are constantly urged to be vigilant, and note the latest scams that national fraud prevention service Cifas (www.cifas.org.uk) is warning about.
Beware any email claiming to be from Royal Mail warning about a “missed delivery” and request for a fee. It’s a con. Sector strikes are likely to trigger more of these.
Next year an EU visa waiver is coming in meaning UK travellers will have to apply for an exemption.
Always check a website is legitimate by using www.getsafeonline.org/
The cost of living crisis is increasing the risk of loan fee fraud. If you asked to make an upfront payment for a loan it’s a con, an always check if a firm is authorised: www.fca.org.uk/firms/
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