Symbio warning

redbullmaster

Active Member
Just a heads up for any Symbio users,

Under their new summer and winter payment scheme they going to charge you 30% more and then only pay you back when your in credit of 20% of your annual consumption.

Just had a horrible 1hr conversation with Symbio trying to sort out my billing.
At the moment I pay £58 a month for the year and I'm in credit for about £80

Under their new system, at first they wanted me to pay £94 in the winter and £70 something in summer I think it was.

Had to argue to get to a supervisor who looked at my consumption and changed the figure of 5800 Assumed Annual Consumption to 4900. Which had a 10% added to it for any changers in the year's usage.

But now my new bill is £69.09 in the summer and £84.44 in the winter, winter runs for 6 months of the year, October to March.

The reason its so high is they add a 30% to cover any changers in usage though the year.
So your paying a extra 40% in case you use more energy in the year.

So they going to sit on my money and pay back any owed in a year or when it hits 20% of my annual consumption.
They are paying 5% interest on it, but only is once annually.

Was told when my contract ends in November I have no choice but to accept the new terms or I can leave.

Not impressed with this at all as an £26.44 a month for 6 months of the year will hit me hard as I am on a low wage and don't have that much disposable income

Yes I will get it back, but knowing that they are overcharging 40% is just not acceptable in my view.

Time to change providers if I can find one close to what I'm paying now I think
 

redbullmaster

Active Member
This is the email they sent out

We trust you have kept well and safe during the pandemic and we hope you and your family remain safe during the staged easing.
Symbio Energy has been the LOWEST PRICED ELECTRICITY PROVIDER for two years consistently including renewals for all regions. We have saved an estimated £50,000,0000 for UK customer when compared to the Standard Variable Tariffs of the biggest 6 energy companies in the UK.
That said, we have unique processes which confused many customers. The purpose of this communication is to change Symbio processes to reduce confusion.
In reality, since 2017, the number of small energy suppliers has fallen by 40% and energy prices have risen with the decrease in competition. Of course, small suppliers have more of a risk than larger suppliers which can obtain funds from the stock market and bond markets, unlike the smaller contemporaries. That said small suppliers are up to 40% cheaper than larger suppliers. Without smaller suppliers putting competitive pressure on larger suppliers, there is no incentive for lower prices.
Covid 19 and Energy Consumption
Energy consumption varies from day to day and month to month. Cloudy, colder days consume more electricity than sunnier days. Shorter winter days consume more energy than longer days. Temperature has a huge impact upon consumption and indeed April 2021 had the most ‘frosts’ since 1918. Homeworking, more stored frozen food, electric car charging at home form part of the many, many changes to the electricity consumption patterns. Climate change is also wreaking havoc with traditional seasons, temperatures and therefore energy consumption. All of this means a greater degree of variability in bills and energy consumption. In fact, 2021, has seen an extremely large increase in consumption compared to expected averages with 2021 wholesale prices over 150% higher than 2020 prices.
In light of the above, we have reviewed our processes and taken extensive feedback from customers who find our unique billing logic confusing and are seeking more standardised payments in line with all other energy companies. We have therefore added functionality to our system which will allow a more familiar model. We detail the changes below but it is important we reiterate the terminology used in billing.
Monies on Account – These are monies collected to hold on the account to pay for your energy when the bill is issued. The monies on account will invariably be slightly more than your actual billed amount to allow for the peaks and troughs of consumption. Any amount over your billed amount will attract 5% interest and in the event that the company is holding more than 20% of your annual bill, it will be automatically refunded. 5% interest is on average 30 times more than the average current account interest. Monies on the account have no reference to your actual bill but is an amount held to cover your expected monthly bills over the year.
Estimated Bills – Estimated bills are calculated using numerous data points including Estimated Annual Consumption estimates provided by a national database, market conditions, changes in consumption, weather, and season. Estimated bills are not your actual reconciled bills. They are estimates and as with any estimate, there are customers who are under-estimated and customers who are over-estimated. The optimal way to get accurate bills is to submit regular meter reads OR obtain a free smart meter from Symbio.
Actual Bills – These are bills that are reconciled between the estimated bills and the actual bills where a validated meter reading is provided. Please note that an energy bill is in the main the price per unit of electricity used, plus the standing charge for the meter rental and other infrastructure related to energy consumption. Hence you can only be charged for the number of units you have actually consumed. Nothing more, nothing less.
Difficulty in Paying – Symbio is committed to helping any person with difficulties. We are the ONLY company at present to have zero prepayment meters, zero prepayment tariffs and zero disconnections in the UK. Prepayment meter tariffs are more expensive than normal or even standard variable tariffs. Prepayments do allow customers the opportunity to pay their debt via the meter but as the tariff is higher and the meter rental higher, it prejudices the most vulnerable. We have now consulted with the Citizens Advice Bureau and we would advise anyone with difficulties to contact the CAB or the list of help in the table below. We will ALWAYS assist people with difficulties in payment.
Should you have any difficulties paying your dues or have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call us at 0333 050 9372
For independent support, we recommend contacting
  • Step Change 0800 138 138
  • Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 0808 223 1133
  • Age UK 0800 999 99
Disagreement with Estimates – This is the simplest thing to address. Simply provide a meter read via the Mobile App or Online Portal. The programs do have a tolerance level on the system to stop under-reporting or over-reporting and if you are facing difficulty with a meter submission, please call the following tech support number for submissions only (not for general queries – sorry). The system will automatically reconcile your bill.
The Changes - Important
Unlike most other UK energy companies, we will simply charge a standard monthly amount which will vary twice a year. We will collect less from April to September and slightly more from October to March, to more align the payments to expected consumption. The new system has calculated the ‘Amount on Account’ which we will take from your Direct Debit. This is NOT, your billed amount.
Your bill is only ever the amount of electricity you have consumed and the standing charge (except in certain circumstances). In this respect, Symbio Energy is the Lowest Priced Energy Provider in the UK and has been for two years consistently (including renewal tariffs). This seems repetitive but it is important to understand as we get a lot of customer confusion on this.
The money on account is your money and any excess will attract 5% interest from Symbio Energy. In line with Ofgem best practice guidelines and unlike our competitors, we will not allow any excess amount on your account to exceed 20% of your annual bill and will automatically refund any excess at the end of your contract period.
Example
Average UK customer on 3100KWH per year would pay approximately £550. Symbio Energy will collect £53.63per month on account from April to September and £65.65 from October to March inclusive.
If there is no increase in energy consumption in the year, then at the end of the year, there could be £100 extra on your account. This amount would attract 5% interest on a monthly simple interest basis. This £100 would be the maximum 20% our system would allow. If the amount collected on a monthly basis results in Symbio holding an amount greater than 15% over your billed amount, it will automatically return the extra amount into your account in line with Ofgem best practice.
In line with the industry, the amount collected on account will only increase if the energy consumption has gone up. Equally once we have received verified meter reads and your consumption is lower than anticipated, the regular amount collected will be reduced automatically.
You can see your balance on account positive or negative via the online customer portal or the Symbio Energy App available on the Apple or Android stores
We will be rolling out this change for the July billing.
Should you wish to remain on your current billing methodology for the time being, simply

Click here

and you can accept or decline the change.
All customers who move to the new billing methodology will receive a £5 discount on their next bill.
If you have a current fixed standing instruction, this will change to the new methodology in the July bill which will be issued on the 1st July 2021.
Please Note: If you do not decline the changes by

Clicking here

, it would be considered as your acceptance for the proposed change.
NOTE :
Estimated bills are NOT your actual liability. Once we receive verified meter reads, this becomes an actual bill. In reality, due to the variability described above, the best practice is to provide monthly reads. However, if this proves too arduous, you can apply for a FREE SMART meter. This will put you on the list to have a free Smart Meter installed and we can obtain the monthly reads from the Smart meter taking the stress off you. (Seems repetitive but is important information).
Fact
  • Symbio Energy has the lowest electricity price in the UK for 2 years running.
  • Symbio Energy has the lowest Standard Variable Penalty Tariffs in the whole industry. We DO NOT PENALISE LOYALTY, unlike others
  • Symbio Energy currently has ZERO prepayment meters in the UK , which means we have ZERO prepayment penalty tariffs that penalise the vulnerable.
  • Symbio Energy also has the lowest customer positive balance ratio of any energy company.(seems repetitive but also important for us to highlight)
Apology
Symbio Energy does recognise it has failed to have sufficient resource on our phones and e-mails. We honestly expected a slightly greater digital platform uptake. That is our mistake and we unreservedly apologise. Our office is in India and due to Covid 19, India has an extensive lockdown which has not helped. We are increasing our customer services resource massively and this will all be in situ by end of July such that we have minimal call waiting times.
We would unreservedly like to apologise to anyone affected by our poor performance in this area.
Waiver – Leave without Penalty

We recognise that despite being the lowest cost provider we have failed in many aspects of our service. Predominantly, in providing timely responses due to Covid 19 and other matters. We also recognise that despite saving people money, the new billing methodology and the way we operate does not provide people with the benefit they had expected. To this end, we are providing a no-penalty exit to a customer wishing to leave for the next 4 weeks. There will be no exit fee charged.
Summary
  • The new billing system will see fewer changes in bill amount through the year irrespective of changes in consumption patterns as opposed to the current system which seeks to titrate collection to usage.
  • The new system is optional for current customers. The link will allow customers to choose. At renewal, all customers will be on the new billing system.
  • We recognise we have failed in some areas and we unreservedly apologise. Where we are no longer a benefit, we are providing a one-month moratorium on exit fees, such that customers on fixed tariffs can leave without an exit fee.
  • We will continue to strive to improve and have trebled our staff numbers AND training. We will also strive and commit unequivocally to continue to be the lowest priced electricity provider in the UK.
Kind Regards
Symbio Team
0333 050 9372
[email protected]

symbioenergy.co.uk
86 Integer House, BRE Innovation Campus, Hertfordshire, WD25 9xx
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Good luck finding a provider anything like as cheap - my next lowest price to my current Symbio fix led rate is 50% more than I’m paying now, and with wholesale prices are at a 13 year high it does not look likely that I’ll find any better this side of winter.
 

redbullmaster

Active Member
My contract runs out in Nov, so will keep them till then and I have opted out of thier new price system.

May open a case with the ombudsman, not expecting much, but seems crazy they can knowingly overcharge you 40% of your bill.
 

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