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EON - Over £700 Arrears How Can This Be

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Hi

 

Hope someone can advise on this isue we are having with EON.

 

We moved from a 2 bed falt into a 4 bed detached 8 months ago. In our 2 bed we were paying £55 per month for Gas and Electric. When we left there in December we were £224 in arrears which I payed of so we started a fresh in our new home.

 

EON advised that our monthly payment would be £80 per month due to the bigger house which I accepted as fair.

 

I got a letter from EON 2 months ago saying that I was not paying enough and that they would need to increase the monthly payment to £140 and that I was £700 ish in arrears , I was straight on the phone to them and they exlained that we were using on average 25 units of Electric a day which they deem as high usage. I said that I wanted this investigated and they are doing this now, we are taking daily readings and I see we are using between 16 and 20 units a day. The Gas they say between our old and new house is about the same so its only our electric that the issue is with. The also said that if I want the meter checked I would need to pay £93 for a device to be fitted to monitor the situation and that if the meter turned out to be at fault I would get this refunded

 

I have checked everything in the house and nothing sems to be draining anything, the immersion is disconnected from the electric and water is heated by Gas. The only extra appliance since moving is an LCD TV in the dining room.

 

The meter is an old Ferranti with a spinning disc and the last inspection stamp on it was from 1995.

 

Can anyone tell me what kind of electric bill per year or month should be for a 4 bed detached with three occupants. I work away from home 6 months of the year so for half the year its only two ocupants.

 

Any help appreciated.

 

Thanks

Les

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Have you had bills from E-on? Have you checked that the start reading and the readings on the bills are correct? Have you checked that the sums have been done correctly?. Are any bills based on estimated readings?

 

Even though your meter is old it is far more likely that there is an error in billing than the meter.

 

Your electric usage (using the present meter) measured during the summer would be about right for the winter usage they quote.

 

Presumably heating by gas?

 

They appear to be saying that all the arrears are electricity arrears. If so these arrears have arisen in about 5 months - this seems very steep. However I would expect gas and electricity for a 4 bedroom detached house to be 2.5 to 3 times the cost of a 2 bedroomed flat so £140 per month would quite likely not cover you usage particularly if the 'new' house is not very new with poor insulation etc. and old appliances especially the boiler.

 

Check the bills and meter readings before anything else.

 

If you think the meter you have now is reading incorrectly have you an elictrician friend who could fit a second tempoary digital meter post E-on's meter to check the old meter rather than paying £93 to E-on.

 

Stop paying by direct debit !! - the discount is usually not worth the hassle and the forced loans you make them. Pay quarterly in arrears using only proper readings taken by you. What discount do they give for direct debit? Do the sums. Money you lend them is costing you the highest rate of interest that you pay on any loans.

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Hi Les,

 

For dual fuel we give an 8% DD Discount.

 

No 2 properties are the same so there is no such thing as an average consumption, however, from experience in the industry, I would expect to pay around £125 a month.

 

With regards to the electricity consumption, taking daily reads will confirm your average daily usage and enable us to set a more accurate DD, and the consumption/disputes team will ask you to confirm what appliances you use and for how long.

 

If the usage can be justified from this, then the fee would be payable for the check meter if you still wanted to persue this. If it wasn't possible to justify your consumption from the readings/appliances, then a check meter may be fitted for free in some instances.

 

Please remember that if the meter did turn out to be faulty, then any fees paid would be refunded.

 

If you haven't yet, why not register for your E.ON account online and change to an online tariff, there are special discounted rates available on top of the DD discounts.

 

Sorry if I sound like I'm spouting off about the company etc, I just think some of the customer service staff arent that great and maybe could have explained things better to you!

 

Cheers!

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For dual fuel we give an 8% DD Discount.

 

8% dual fuel. 6% on singlle fuel.

 

What exactly is discounted at 6%/8%. Is it the whole bill? or what? The E-on website does not actually say

 

I am always sceptical of any firm that gives discounts for direct debits.

What do they gain compaired to quarterly in arrears? These guys do not give money away for nothing!

 

They gain

 

a) a smooother cash flow,.

b) a cheaper method of receiving payment.

c) less problem with late and bad payers and the cost of collecting customer debts.

d) the ability to dip into an account when it suits them often at variance with the DD guarantee

e) but above all they recieve very large amounts of money from advance payments and if they are so inclined they can manipulate accounts to keep them in high credit. Commercial loans cost and they get loans from customers for nothing..

 

Quarterly in arrears payments earn a discount of 3% if paid within 2 weeks of the bill

 

So to gain the budgetary convenience of equal monthly payments hopefully exactlly totalling a years charges with a discount of 5% (dual fuel 8-3%) the customer agrees to loan Eon money for the whole year.

 

The loan is made up as follows

 

a) each quarter the first payment is 2 months and 2 weeks in advance the second 1 month and 2 weeks in advance and the third payment 2 weeks in advance.

 

 

b) The plans are reviewed annually in April i.e. after the winter usage. That will mean that during the summer the customer will be paying in advance for some of next winter's usage. If the payments are estimared correctly to pay off the whole bill at the end of the year there will always be a credit on the account until the very last day.

 

c) There will be a temptation for E-on to use a somewhat inflated estimate of usage so netting them a free loan. This possibility is made easier by the use of estimated meter readings. Now I wouln't accuse Eon of doing this but there has been much discussion on this recently applied to all utilities.

 

Eon reserve the right to change the DD payment if during the plan the account does not appear to be paying the whole year's estimate plus known usage - they will make the change if the account goes into debit but also if it is not sufficient to maintain the credit they expect. They do not like lending the customer money!

 

On the other hand they will do nothing unless the customer pushes to reduce the DD payment if the account is overfunded. Most customers will not bother until the end of the year and then any rebate is likelty to be tardy.

 

What is certain is that utility customers are lending these companies huge sums (in billions) for the privelege of a modicum of budgetary stability which can be shattered at any time by a demand for higher DD payments.

 

In my situation I have done the sums and DDs are not for me. If you do the sums do not forget you must cost out the loan you are making them at the highest rate that you are paying for variable loans if you have them e.g. credit cards and overdrafts rather than savings interest rates.

 

For me the clincher came when I moved house I was in dispute with a utility over a final bill. They wanted some £800 and took this by direct debit (I had failed to cancel it) at a very awkward time. Though I reversed the DD as soon as it was apparant it made an unwelcome hole in my current account during a house move. They agreed only £26 was owing! As far as possible I do not now use variable sum direct debits and I would advise anybody in dispute with a utiility to cancel any DD mandate through their bank.

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