UK Electricity Switch
On a personal note, I switched our electricity supplier away from one of the 'Big Six' some years ago.
Point One: To achieve the saving in the cost of electricity, you have to have enough spare cash to pay the last quarter's bill from 'Big Supplier' while also paying a month in advance for 'New Supplier'.
I was able to do that, so we reduced the cost for a while.
'New Supplier's' website gave me the option to reduce the monthly Direct Debit, and several times suggested I should make a reduction.
So I did.
Then I get an email saying they need to increase the Direct Debit by 40%!
I checked our electricity usage, and the payments we had made, and by following their suggested reductions in Direct Debits, we now had exhausted the first months payment that they use to keep your account in credit.
Part of the problem was the day they took the Direct Debit was after the day they calculated the bill, so it looked like we were in arrears.
I calculated what I thought the DD should be and it wasn't even close to a 40% increase. So a phone call was made and they were told I disagreed with their new DD amount and I would only pay the amount I had calculated. They reluctantly agreed.
After two years with them, they decided to increase the costs by 20%, so I found a cheaper supplier.
We were in credit at the time the switch to 'New Supplier2' was agreed - with their upfront month in advance payment having been paid, and I was looking forward to a credit from the supplier we were switching from, when they took ANOTHER months Direct Debit
Point Two: Cancel your Direct Debit if you are in credit, at the time you agree to switch suppliers.
It took a month to get the credit repaid.
The 'New Supplier2' had fixed the Direct Debit for the new account too high, but would not agree to a reduction until after we had been with them for 6 months.
After 6 months we were in credit by over 2 months worth. They would not agree to reduce the payment by the amount I requested, nor would they refund any of the credit. 'Not until the end of the contract' I was told.
I escalated the issue to a Dispute.
They ignored me and closed the ticket themselves, saying it had been resolved.
A couple of months later, even though the Direct Debit was taken, they couldn't create a Bill. They had technical problems.
Then we got a Bill that was 'incorrect' - the items on the Bill didn't add up to the total being charged!.
I couldn't get through on the phone in a reasonable time, so I emailed my incredulity.
I decided we would 'switch' again.
With a little more that 1 month to the end of the contract we were nearly 3 months in credit, so I cancelled the Direct Debit, and a few days later agreed to 'switch' to another supplier.
The 'switch' happened OK, with the new supplier taking their first payment on the first day of the new contract, with the previous supplier still having over 2 months credit.
At the end of that month, I had a request for a meter reading for both the new supplier AND the previous supplier. My account for the previous supplier was also incorrectly charged for that months electricity as correctly, was my account with the new supplier. As the Direct Debit had been cancelled, this just seemed to be a way of consuming my credit.
I'm not a Facebook user, but I did check the Facebook page for the previous supplier - who was IRESA , and was horrified by what I read.
When my emails were ignored about their charging my account for electricity they had not provided, and the credit on the account was being 'consumed' I decided to visit Money Claim Online and raise a claim against them.
The claim costs £25 to process, but as I was out of pocket by £173, I thought it worth a try.
Because they had not responded to my emails, they were in breach of their published Complaints procedure, and therefore in breach of the Ofgem policies they should have been following.
The good news is the outstanding credit was transferred by IRESA to my bank 5 days after they were hit with the MCOL Claim, and they repaid the £25 MCOL fee as well.
This was a lot quicker than attempting the Ofgem complaints process.
Point Three: Don't be fobbed off by your suppliers. There seems to be a trend among companies where they are attempting to intimidate the customer to accept poor service. You have to FIGHT BACK
I am also pleased that my new supplier, Bristol Energy, answered the phone within 30 seconds when I spoke to them recently, so my first impressions are good.