To be fecking LIVID at my energy provider??

(28 Posts)

So I'm struggling to make ends meet, as a lone parent with two kids still at home (one has just gone to uni). I do all the bargainy things like couponning and stalking money saving forums for glitches and discounts but it's getting rougher to keep afloat - as most people will agree. So today I had to cancel some direct debits to the charities I support and a few insurance premiums - I'm just going to have to risk it hmm and I've been going through all of my other essential expenditure to see where I can shave some shekels.

I've been vaguely aware for a few months that my gas and electricity monthly debits were too high at £160 (!), having shot up from £60 but I stupidly put it down to our household being lavish with having hot water and not turning lights off!

So I've just registered online and am bloody gobsmacked that my account is £500 in credit!!

I'm so cross! I know Winter Is Coming, but surely it's sodding immoral for them to take so much money like this? I'll be ringing them to sort this out so that they refund at least some of it so I can feed my children so they haven't got a leg to stand on, have they?

Or am I being naive?

MoreBeta Sat 06-Oct-12 12:50:59

Isn't it funny how the energy companies like us to build up a credit during the summer to help us in the winter so we don't have to worry.

Utter tosh!

Why don't they let us build up a deficit in winter and pay it off over the summer? It would mean the same bill to us.

Ah yes I remember, its so we effectivley pay in advance for our fuel while they pay for teh energy in the bulk wholesale market 30 days in arrears and they get to use the money we pay in advance for free to finance their business instead of having to borrow it and pay interest.

ihearsounds Sat 06-Oct-12 12:44:26

Check on line with the comparison sites to make sure that you have a good deal. Remember to input your actual usage not what you pay.. I stupidly did a deal over the phone. Thought yea great, fab savings. I was sooo getting robbed, and if I hadn't checked I would have been paying over a grand a year more than a rival company. Yes prices are going up, of course, its nearing winter after all lol, but not all of them are greedy feckers.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 06-Oct-12 10:05:30

I got fed up with constantly being in credit and asking for my money back, we drop the Direct debit and then they put it back up round and round we go.
So I switched to an energy provider who uses Smart meters and a pay at the beginning of the month for what I used last month. Brillant they e-mail me the bill on the 5th of the month and then take the money on the 8th of the month. Love them to bits and they are constantly in the best buys for energy.

eurochick Sat 06-Oct-12 10:00:58

You should be some amount in credit at this point in the year. The amounts are worked out so the estimated annual amount is spread equally across the months, so you should be paying for more than you actually use in summer and less in winter, so it all averages out. But £500 in credit sounds like rather a lot to me, so I'd be inclined to ask for about £300 back. If you ask for it all back, you will probably have to find some of it again at the end of winter when your account is underpaid and if things are tight that might be hard.

BrittaPerry Sat 06-Oct-12 09:14:55

Did you check the deal online? If you are stll in your ooling down period, do it.

People on the phone don't have access to the online deals.

Right, well my very first AIBU and you were all so nice to me - thank you for not tearing me a new one when I was being U! And thick! And panicky!

I've just got off the phone to a lovely young chap who talked me through everything, took my meter readings and said that I'm actually only £250 in credit as of today. He went through all of my options and I plumped for a fixed rate until Jan 2014 so my monthly direct debits have been reduced by £23. Which is something. I'm leaving the credit on my account as I live in the Grim North and I'm scared it's going to be a harsh winter plus everyone's saying that fuel prices are going to rocket.

So I feel a bit better and am going to look at ways of reducing my energy consumption - we already sit under blankets and sleeping bags! - and I'm off to steal borrow my mum's heated drier to see if that helps.

Thanks again, lovely MNers!

weblette Sat 06-Oct-12 00:11:29

What really pissed me off when I queried it was that they believed the contractor over me. A reading I submitted a fortnight later was 'disregarded' as someone 'professional' had done it hmm

GargarmelIsMean Sat 06-Oct-12 00:09:17

Our account is always about that much in credit by the end of the summer, then the credit is chipped away at over the winter months and it build up again the following summer. We prefer it that way because it means a constant amount is taken each month rather than having the shock or worry of a big bill.

If you need money now, demand a refund, but if you can afford to try to keep some of it in credit, it will make a big difference to you winter fuel bill because it will already be half paid.

We pay £64 a month at the moment and last year our total gas and electricity bill for a 3 bed terrace came to £815, so that £64/month only just fell short of the right amount. I am very stingy with the heating, thermostat set to 16, we wear lots of jumpers and have blankets over the sofa to thrown over us. I dread to think what our bill would be.

GrimAndHumourless Sat 06-Oct-12 00:07:19

good gel

lisad123 Sat 06-Oct-12 00:07:02

We pay £140 a month for our two bed but because of dh heating is always on and we don't have washing line or the sort of garden you can fit one in either so dryer is used a lot.

Oh blimey, weblette! That's horrendous!
Grim - they're insurances for non-essential household items that are old and knackered anyway - I wouldn't dare cancel the boiler/cat/dog insurance! But thank you for your concern.

santaisNOTathreat Sat 06-Oct-12 00:06:03

I'll be getting one of those heated airers

but you will still be using electric to power the airers and have to see washing hanging about, if you want to get the money back then it is your right. However imo i would wait. It is October and not in winter yet and we have another 6ish months of cold wet windy weather <depressing>.

i would wait until april before making any sort of action on utility bills

Ask for an energy review.

Lots of suppliers have New tariffs available so check your on the cheapest.

I guess you're right, Worra - I'm just fed up that they've taken so much but I really should have checked. I bloody will from now on!!

GrimAndHumourless Sat 06-Oct-12 00:02:38

please please please reinstate your insurances

weblette Sat 06-Oct-12 00:01:22

If they've used a contractor meter reading be careful... Thanks to someone's inaccurate fingers we were overcharged by £1100..

WorraLiberty Sat 06-Oct-12 00:00:11

X posted!

Ahh well, get a refund...even if you ask for half refund and half to stay on your account to cover winter.

WorraLiberty Fri 05-Oct-12 23:59:28

The thing is, it's your account - therefore it's down to you to check the balance and the payments match.

I'd be pleased rather than angry that you've got more money than you thought.

But make sure you keep an eye on it in the future.

Lisa - it says online that they've not read the meter since June. I'll take the readings myself tomorrow before I ring them. Thanks.

Thanks, sookie.
No, Worra, I've been ridiculously lax about checking - too busy scrimping and saving in other areas - more fool me!

Santa - I use the tumble drier a lot too but I think if I get a refund, I'll be getting one of those heated airers from Lakeland to try and save some money. I do think £160 is a lot for a 3 bed house though, even if I had the heating on all the time!

lisad123 Fri 05-Oct-12 23:55:34

Just check they have the right meter readings and then ask for full amount back if you need it. I am always slightly over at end of summer but it helps towards winter but ask them to lower your payments too.

You money you are entitled to ask for it back, I would ask for it all back and lower payments slightly, and see how winter goes.

WorraLiberty Fri 05-Oct-12 23:54:01

Have you not been looking at the balance of your quarterly statements?

I always ring and lower my D.Debits when I'm in credit by a certain amount.

sookiesookie Fri 05-Oct-12 23:53:55

No, they have to give you it IF you request it, they don't have to offer.

Thank you, onedev. I will try really hard not to cry tears of rage on the phone to them.

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