Help me solve my eletricity bills (s) what are Standard and Discounted prices...

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by figoagogo, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. figoagogo

    figoagogo
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    I have been paying Atlantic Electricity on Direct Debit since Sep 2007.

    We were paying a flat rate (perhaps too low) of £29.00/month. Now they say I owe £432.87 which they will claw back with an increased Direct Debit.

    It seems fine to me, but want to check exactly what I am paying for and how much elec I am using. I always find these bills confusing.

    I seem to paying two rates Standard Energy Units and Discounted Energy Units, not sure what they are, is it for use late in the night (economy 7 type thing) or something else - I should know - but I don't. :(
     
  2. marshall_nathan

    marshall_nathan
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    Normal rate is the first 100 kw[this is just an idea,it dipend of your company]and from there start your discont rate:thumbsup: so more you spend more discount have:D
     
  3. figoagogo

    figoagogo
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    OK thanks - done some working out and it all looks OK - not sure why they have been "under-charging" my direct debits for so long.
     
  4. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
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    These company's always seem to undercharge so it makes it more difficult to migrate to another provider because you would have to clear the bill first :mad:
     
  5. Reepicheep

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    Have they been estimating your usage or have you been having your meter read (or sending in your own readings)?
    They usually re-assess your monthly direct debit each year based on the past years usage and taking into account any price rises.

    If you want to check you usage then there a number of energy monitors on the market that will give you a live KWh reading. You can then go round your house turning things off and on to see where your electricity is being used.
    Some of the monitors have a memory function so you can keep previous weekly/monthly usage records - if you are sad like me you can even create spreadsheets and charts of your monthly and weekly electricity usage :rolleyes:

    Check out the energy monitors here:

    Energy Monitor comparison chart from Electricity-Monitor.com

    I also believe that the government is trying to get energy suppliers to change to new 'smart' meters that send you meter readings direct. You would then be able to log on to your electricity providers website and review you usage and check on a running cost of your usage.
     
  6. Desmo

    Desmo
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    Keep giving them ACTUAL readings rather than letting them estimate. It happens to lots of people who find that over the months and years they've underpaid. I always use actual meter readings when I get a bill in so I know I'm paying the correct amount.
     
  7. figoagogo

    figoagogo
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    Looking back over the last 18months or so its been a mix (estimated/actual), latest is an esitmate but not far from the actual as I checked, but it seems I have been underpaying the DD for some time (£29.99/month). Now the want £100. Like I said I have no issue paying for what I owe.

    I may get one of those meter readers though, I reckon my TV and PS3 may be guzzling most power, oh and the tumble dryer (roll on summer).
     
  8. figoagogo

    figoagogo
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    I am sad enough to keep spread sheets, perhaps not on actual usage though, but I did do a full break down on all the elec bills from this supplier :eek:

    Smart meters make perfect sense this day and age.

    Have you worked out how much energy you use a day, can you compare "units" on bills or do they differ for different suppliers?
     
  9. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    lol

    Companies use a figure provided to them by the Regional Supply Board (electric) and National Grid (gas) for the annual kwh consumption listing for the property. This figure will not be completely accurate and could be wildly innaccurate (property might have been empty for a while etc). This is given to them when they take over the supplies to bill you, they recommend monthly payments on these figures. Each month or quarter they will issue you a statement showing usage based on estimates or actual reads. The estimates will be a sliding scale percentage of the yearly figure they were given with the scale working on seasonal variation (ie larger estimated usage in winter). Most companies who do this method of billing will review the account once a year on the anniversary and adjust the payments. Only if you send in a reading that is vastly under or over the current reading will they contact you to advise something appears amiss. It is your responsibility to recognise if you are only paying £20 a month and know your usage could never cost that little. They put the info on the bills, if you dont read them its your fault.

    Thing is, the monthly payments are only going to be spot on if you call the company at the beginning, tell them how many kwh you consume a year approximately and ask them to reset the monthly payment based on that. Otherwise of course a company is going to undercharge or overcharge because they KNOW NO BETTER. Do you really think they visit every customers house, write down all the appliances in the house, ask for a timesheet of when people are in the property etc?? Amuses me that people moan at them for undercharging and leaving a large deficit, but also moan at them for overcharging and keeping the credit to earn extra interest on. If you dont read the bills, ITS YOUR FAULT. Only time it wouldnt be is if the company has billed incorrectly (imperial/metric billing situation, wrong supply so wrong meter details etc).

    The moment you let someone else be responsible for your financial position, then you've just agreed to let them impact on your life and have no recourse.

    For the OP, usually (as I believe has been mentioned) Standard and Discount rates or Primary and Secondary rates are a two tier billing system which allows a company to advertise to you that they dont have any standing charges. All it means is that the standing charges are built in to the tariffs Standard or Primary rate. Easy way to tell this is that a conventional old fashioned supplier will be charging (purely example) 12ppkwh all units and £3/m standing charge. Another supplier charges 19ppkwh first X amount of units per quarter and 10ppkwh for the rest. The ONLY time it matters that a company uses the two tier billing method is if your property is completely empty, you wont get charged if no usage goes through the meter, whereas the old fashioned billing method means a bill of £3 a month (or however much it is).

    This is not Economy 7, it is simply a billing method, Economy 7 is where you have a price for the daytime units (generally 7am to Midnight) and a very cheap price for the Night units (generally Midnight to 7am). This set up is for people who dont have Gas and use electric storage heaters to allow them to heat their property without it costing an arm and a leg. Example would be 15ppkwh Day rate and 4ppkwh Night rate with a £5 standing charge. However they may bill it two tier and go for 23ppkwh first X units in the Day per quarter and 14ppkwh for the rest of the units used in the Day per quarter. Then for the Night register do something similar, ie 8ppkwh for the first so many and 3ppkwh for the rest.
     
  10. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
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    lol well you can believe that if you want but it is rather funny how you are wowed by new suppliers by promises of lower bills and then low and behold at the end of the year when they work out your usage it goes upto above what you were paying with the original supplier because (even though the evidence is there from as you say the Regional Supply Board (electric) and National Grid (gas)) of there underestimate of your usage. ps I myself don't fall for all the rubbish they spout and go for the lowest supplier and keep them regularly informed of my usage ;) Call me a cynic if you want but I find its the same with insurances as well :(
     
  11. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    lol, I'll believe it because I work for an energy company and thats exactly how it works.

    RSB/NG give new supplier an EAC/AQ figure for the year. Supplier happily spreads this annual consumption over the years bills on the estimates if a customer doesnt provide any readings. They do it on a sliding scale to represent seasonal usage. Most suppliers will only review the Budget Plan (fixed monthly payments) once a year as an automatic thing as they show you on every bill whether you are in credit or deficit. If you choose to see that you are in deficit and its building up slowly over the year, thats your fault for letting it carry on. If however the bills show everything is running ok but the estimates are way out and when a real reading is produced the account is massively in deficit....thats STILL your fault as you can see the readings on the bill and can check them against the meter, if they are out of line, call up and ask for advice on what to do. Companies only have to read the meters once every two years as per OfGem and the Energy Act.

    I'm not quoting something I've been told, I'm quoting the truth that I work with every day, go check Ofgems site ;)
     
  12. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
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    Yes you and the company's you stand for are of course always right and that is why organizations like this are needed http://www.energy-ombudsman.org.uk/links/6-0-faqs.php ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  13. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    I'm fully aware of the ESO, Consumer Focus etc, I work with them on a daily basis as I tend to deal with high level complaints because I'm very very very good at what I do. Identify where the problem is, get it corrected, explain it to customer so they DO understand it and are not just nodding their head and if necessary (ie it was our fault) attribute a proportional level of compensation.

    Thing is, I dont work for one of the Big 6, the company I do work for though is very good at getting most things right, we regularly get awarded by Which Magazine for all our services (energy, broadband, mobile, telephone). As we only use network marketing to sell the services, we cant afford to get it wrong.

    The thing is, the Energy Industry specifically is massively regulated but also massively complex. Switching a supply isnt just a case of one supplier telling the other they want to charge this customer, there are lots of bits of data that go back and forth between suppliers, Meter Operators, Data collectors, Data Aggregators etc to set up a supply. The fact that so many go smoothly to be honest is a bit of a miracle! However, if a customer cant take responsibility for keeping an eye on their account, I repeat, its their OWN fault. The supplier can only work with what they are given, they cant KNOW its wrong unless its certain things, which dont crop up that often.

    I'm not saying suppliers are Angels, of course not, they are businesses so will be doing what they do at the best cost to themselves. The fact is, with soooooo many accounts to handle and soooo many things that can go wrong, the amount that do is far less from a relative point of view to most other services that can be provided (ie phone, broadband, satellite/cable TV etc).

    By all means, buy in to the media hype that energy companies do everything they can to screw the customer over illegally and purposefully try to muck your account up just to annoy you for their own amusement. Then, when you wake up, actually go and READ the Ofgem website and the ESO website, dont just linky to it as though you have a clue how it operates. ;)
     
  14. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
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    As I have already pointed out, I'm obviously wrong in every conceivable way and you are so very right :thumbsup: We seem to be going round in circles so lets draw this to a conclusion and just agree to disagree :smashin:
     
  15. Desmo

    Desmo
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    That's not what he said. Sounds like you're the one looking through crap tinted glasses more than him looking through the rose tinted ones :)

    The problem as I see it is that the pricing structures are overly complicated and you do need to sit down with pen and paper (or Excel) to get it all worked out properly. The main thing people need to do is keep on top of giving ACTUAL readings.
     
  16. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
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    On the contrary I am not looking through "crap tinted glasses" and further more if you had read all of my posts you would actually have seen that I have indeed got a good service provider (Scottish power) who have good customer service and that I also keep them well informed of my meter readings, The point I was trying to make is that all company's including utility providers obviously will try and put profit before customers if they can get away with it, Its a fact of life because they are businesses and not charities, I think with the necessities of life in a modern fairly wealthy society some things should be government run ie gas, electricity, water etc etc and don't even get me started with the bonus grabbing greed driven bankers, But hey what do I know I'm just a customer after all :smashin:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  17. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    well of course companies will put profit before customers to a certain degree, that is rather obvious.

    what you are trying to say though in your earlier posts is that energy companies are purposefully doing dodgy things with reads/payments etc. Sorry fella, but everything an energy company does is agreed by the regulator OfGem and the Energy Act. Sometimes things go wrong, but those things are quite often down to the RBS/NG or the customer. Most times the energy supplier gets it wrong is due to the information they have been given that is wrong. Like I say, try having a read through the ESO and OFGem websites.

    Dont forget, I do happen to use gas and electric myself, I am a customer as well, and I am a customer who hates bad service. I stay with various service providers who are obviously more expensive because I much prefer the help they give me when I need it. The same way I'm happy buying my Hifi through a more expensive bricks'n'mortar shop for the back up I get. Hence I provide amazing customer service to my customers at work, because its the right thing to do and because I'm good enough to do it. What I dont appreciate is the Media Hype that makes the energy suppliers look like they are in the wrong all the time when the majority of the time it isnt their fault. As soon as the ESO took over from Energywatch (in other words the ombudsman became regulated themselves), complaints that were upheld dropped dramatically because the ESO is only interested in genuine problems and not people who cant be arsed to read their bills....lol
     

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