Levelised payments should be an option

Related products: Payments & billing

My previous provider allowed me to balance payments across the year, avoiding the impact of having higher bills in the winter and lower bills in the summer. This should be an option across all energy providers and is a point against recommending Pure Planet.   
I also went to ask wattbot, and like all automated chat bots, wattbot is fairly useless and mostly frustrating. I think these shouldn’t be used at all, and there should just be FAQ files. 

(Bills also did that silly thing where I received a refund for credit on my account, in the same month where my direct debits went up.) 
 

Hi @cjeam 

Welcome to the Pure Planet community!

If you sift through the posts here, you’ll find that someone asks this question (or makes this suggestion) every few weeks. And the same comments are made:

  1. That Pure Planet are absolutely clear in their publicity that they have two levels of direct debit payments - a winter/summer split.
  2. That if it is very important to an individual they can choose from many providers who have a single all-year-round equal direct debit payment - or they can set up a bank account specifically to pay the Pure Planet bill and pay equal amounts into that account from their regular account
  3. Some people conclude that because it is raised every few weeks there must be a lot of demand for this facility. My view, for what it is worth, is that PP have thousands of customers, and only a handful seem to find this a problem.

Hope that helps a little

Stephen


I think PP’s approach is fine and it is not difficult to budget for. Many of my bills are annual and you get used to it, never mind the fact my income, other than OAP, is paid to me annually.


Thanks for posting this idea @cjeam 

It would be v interesting to hear other Members’ views on the option of level/equal DD payments


Thanks for posting this idea @cjeam 

It would be v interesting to hear other Members’ views on the option of level/equal DD payments

I thought we had been here before, as far as I'm concerned the existing payment structure is fine. If it ain't broke, don't try and fix it


I'm sure we've been here lots of times, this may be the first time I've seen it in the ideas board.

My views are, I would hope by now, fairly well known.

Pure Planet's system doesn't work for me personally, however I believe they have the right to set the terms of the way the run their business within OFGEM rules.

 


I really like the 60/40 split  , as most people use more in the winter months so it makes sense to keep ontop of your debt , instead of having huge credits or debits in your account at certain times of the year. 

Its not a problem for me.


It’s fairly clear to me that unless a significant number of customers request this that it simply isn’t going to happen. 

Because that is so...

A statement from PP needs to make this clear;  

e.g. For the foreseeable future Pure Planet will not be offering equal payments throughout the year and will be staying with the current split which is customers paying 60% of their annual costs over the colder 6 months (October to March) and 40% over the warmer 6 months (April to September)

If there is sufficient demand we will consider changing this to offer equal payments throughout the year, but at present the vast majority of our customers are OK with our current payment model.

We think our system is fairer for both us and for the customer as the majority of customers use more energy and we have to buy more energy in the colder weather.

The reason for such a statement is rather harsh, but I think necessary, if any customers are “hanging on” thinking it might change sometime soon it’s unfair to have them thinking it’s likely to change.

All said it’s the ultimate choice of the customer as to whether they accept this payment structure, and although I’ve said this many times before it won’t go amiss to say it again, the current split is worse for those on very tight budgets or those who rely on benefits, and if my assumptions are correct it also tends to be older customers who are more set in their ways who don’t like it. 

Anyone not in those categories will usually accept that once over the initial hurdle of starting in the colder months (which is the worst case for customers who then start with higher payments), ongoing the system will be of benefit to them as PP will hang on to less of their money.

If equal payments were offered there would probably need to be more strict review criteria and an even more intelligent system (tongue firmly in cheek) to pick up accounts which stray into excessively negative or positive territory.

The statistic that PP don’t have is how many customers DON’T come to PP because of the split rather than how many request a change once here. That’s potentially a very different ballgame.

 


 

  1. That Pure Planet are absolutely clear in their publicity that they have two levels of direct debit payments - a winter/summer split.

Never saw it mentioned in any material before I signed up. Didn’t think to look for it because I thought it would be obvious that this is an option for customers which want it with all energy providers now. It seems easy and obvious.


I was really surprised that @Marc asked to hear the views of members, because I thought this was a closed topic. But perhaps the emphasis was on other members, rather than the very few regulars who share their views every time this comes up! My guess is that it has been raised about ten times in the past year? So we know that it's definitely an issue for at least 20 or 30 people out of Pure Planet's thousands of customers. For the rest, we know that it's not a game-changing issue, because they are still customers. We could play Woz's guessing game - my guess is less than a hundred have decided to pay more for their energy so they can make 12 equal monthly payments. And I'll start my own guessing game in case anyone wants to join in - my guess is less than a hundred have left because they want to pay in 12 equal monthly payments.

One thing I'm fairly sure about - changing it at this stage will cost more and cause more comment here than leaving it alone!

(I can't believe I've just added to another thread on this topic - perhaps blaming lockdown is an acceptable excuse for not having a life!!??)


 

  1. That Pure Planet are absolutely clear in their publicity that they have two levels of direct debit payments - a winter/summer split.

Never saw it mentioned in any material before I signed up. Didn’t think to look for it because I thought it would be obvious that this is an option for customers which want it with all energy providers now. It seems easy and obvious.

@cjeam You may have a point that it needs more prominence, but ultimately anyone looking at the quote will see it immediately.

This is a screenshot from MSE cheapenergy, I haven’t tested other comparison sites, perhaps someone else would like to?

 


Seems bizarre that you would be so against giving customers the option of either summer and winter payments or level payments Stephen. Customers satisfied with the current payment split can leave it alone with no concerns, customers who want level payments can switch to them, seems ideal. 


Seems bizarre that you would be so against giving customers the option of either summer and winter payments or level payments Stephen. Customers satisfied with the current payment split can leave it alone with no concerns, customers who want level payments can switch to them, seems ideal. 

I agree it would be nice to have the choice, but I don’t work for PP.  

PP’s entire financial systems are built around the 60/40 model. (or 40/60 if you prefer)
What seems like a simple request isn’t simple to implement it would require a complete rehash of the entire billing system, and testing, and it would also likely impact the forward buying of energy, so although I’d like to see the choice I can also see why it’s very unlikely to happen.

 


I was really surprised that @Marc asked to hear the views of members, because I thought this was a closed topic.

Well I’m just a mere community manager @stephenrand so what I do or say, thankfully, isn’t business-critical! :laughing:

But in my role I am constantly informing the wider PP team what our community Members are saying. (About one in five PP Members have registered here. Others will have seen the community, and may read it, but haven’t created a profile).

Sometimes I talk to the PP team about specific issues, other times the general mood/vibe/feeling of our community.

We do see our approach to split DD payments crop up quite a lot. So for me that’s interesting.

Another thing to mention here, is of course that lower payments start from next month!  :slight_smile:


 

  1. That Pure Planet are absolutely clear in their publicity that they have two levels of direct debit payments - a winter/summer split.

Never saw it mentioned in any material before I signed up. Didn’t think to look for it because I thought it would be obvious that this is an option for customers which want it with all energy providers now. It seems easy and obvious.

@cjeam You may have a point that it needs more prominence, but ultimately anyone looking at the quote will see it immediately.

This is a screenshot from MSE cheapenergy, I haven’t tested other comparison sites, perhaps someone else would like to?

 

I've just checked uswitch, summer winter split clearly noted along with no call centres, although the online chat bit could do with clarifying

 


I was really surprised that @Marc asked to hear the views of members, because I thought this was a closed topic.

Well I’m just a mere community manager @stephenrand so what I do or say, thankfully, isn’t business-critical! :laughing:

Hi @Marc 

Don't put yourself down! The community loves you - start being rude to customers in your posts and you could drive people away - probably even more than the change to summer payments coming soon. By all means show this post to your colleagues, point out the power you hold, and politely suggest a pay rise. Just don't tell us if you get more than 1%…

Have a good weekend!


Hi @Marc 

Don't put yourself down! The community loves you -

Have a good weekend!

Aw, thanks @stephenrand you’re well loved too! :blush:


Thanks for all the contributions on this topic. :raised_hands:

I’m marking it as ‘on hold’ as it’s not something we’re currently looking into. 


Yes @Marc the Community thinks you're great!

I'm happy with 60/40 split - it works -

     Bill's are high, pay more

     Bill's are low, pay less