Direct Debit review for members


  • Community Manager
  • 6299 replies
Hi everyone

I want to let you know that we're going to be reviewing all members’ accounts over the next few months to make sure your balance and payment amounts are in line with your actual usage.

The review follows our rate change as a result of the rise in wholesale energy costs.

Because the increase is less than 1p per kilowatt hour, we’re not going to be changing everyone’s Direct Debit payments. What you spend with us also depends on how much energy you actually use.

What we’ll do is review your account and make sure your use and spend match your annual forecast - and, therefore, the level your Direct Debit is set at.

We’ll contact you if we think your Direct Debit payments need to change up or down. And we’ll always confirm any change to your Direct Debit payment 10 working days before it takes effect.

Can you change your Direct Debit anyway?

Yes.

If you’d like to change your Direct Debit payment, please let us know. Tap Help in the app and, type ‘service’, then select the option to message the team and tell us what you’d like your payments to be.

We also ran a poll about Direct Debits last year, asking members how you would like to manage your Direct Debit payments.

Many members asked for a self-serve system - using the app to make small changes to payments on a monthly basis, depending on your energy use.

We haven’t forgotten this and we are investigating a number of ideas for payments in the future.

There is lots of other exciting and useful development work being done before then, including an overhaul of WattBot and the roll-out of second generation smart meters.

When I have more information about these - and I’ll be hoping some of you will up for helping us test beta versions - I will update everyone.

Any questions? Let's chat about it below.

15 replies

Hello,
I recently joined Pure Planet. All seemed great at first, but I have just received an email informing me of price changes. I understand the wholesale price increases and can accept a 5.6% increase (though you seem to have calculated mine at 7.1%) but you have told me you plan to increase my direct debit payments by 34%(!!)from April. I can only assume your system is skewed as a result of the recent cold snap and a short-term abnormal rise in my energy use. How do I bring the Direct Debit payments back to just a 7.1% increase?
Who (and how) do I talk to someone at Pure Planet to resolve this?
Many thanks...
Hello,
I recently joined Pure Planet. All seemed great at first, but I have just received an email informing me of price changes. I understand the wholesale price increases and can accept a 5.6% increase (though you seem to have calculated mine at 7.1%) but you have told me you plan to increase my direct debit payments by 34%(!!)from April. I can only assume your system is skewed as a result of the recent cold snap and a short-term abnormal rise in my energy use. How do I bring the Direct Debit payments back to just a 7.1% increase?
Who (and how) do I talk to someone at Pure Planet to resolve this?
Many thanks...
Hi @Betaspyder
Thanks for posting. I've combined your two posts here into one place - otherwise it gets too confusing for members to follow conversations if there are duplicate questions/replies.
No problem talking to us about Direct Debits. You can message the team anytime. To do this please head to Help in the app and type 'message the team' and they will respond when they can. It’s not a live-chat service but someone will get back to you.
@Betaspyder I've had the exact same problem. I've been with Pure Planet less than a month and they way they've calculated the Direct Debt has caused a 42% increase! I see on another thread they're suggesting that larger increases are based on actual usage rather than estimated, but as I've only given one reading so far, that can't be the case for me. It appears their estimation logic is a little wonky. I'm hoping they'll be able to calculate a more sensible direct debit figure otherwise I'll have to move supplier again.
Hi @dshipp
Thanks for posting in the community.
For the benefit of @Betaspyder and other members, I will copy here the reply posted in the other thread, which you mention.

Original payments are based on the usage figures you'd provided when you received your quote.
After you switch, we're sent your usage history and your meter readings, and we're using this to base your new payment amounts on.
We want to ensure that members are paying the right amount for the energy they use, to avoid falling into debt.
We review members' Direct Debit payments every six months.
And this is also why we ask for meter readings every month - because these help to keep your account as accurate as possible.
That makes some sense, although my usage history from the previous supplier will only be for the 22 days between my purchasing the house to switching to Pure Planet, so again is not a good data point. If you're basing it on the previous occupants usage history that is likely to be inaccurate.

Either way, it's a massive increase in direct debit which isn't based on hard figures in my case. Combining a reassessment of usage with a change in rates seems to be a really bad move as it's going to create the perception of the amount we pay not staying in line with the wholesale changes. I would have preferred my direct debit to be adjusted after 6 months of actual usage, rather than this huge hike after 1 month.
I have had exactly the same issue. I'm not happy at all about it. Doesn't follow at all that this should happen.
Having had time to dwell on this and do some calculations I've decided that this isn't so bad, but the messaging in the email is really poor and sets people up to be really annoyed.

You're initial statement says 5.6% increase on average, but this is taking into account the cost of the membership fee which doesn't change. The increase's to unit prices are actually 6.29% for electric and 9.86% for gas. This isn't made clear and gives the impression that things are changing by a small amount.

The next problem is that the "You'll pay an additional £XX a year for the energy you use" is based on what the increase in unit price is rather than the newly calculated usage amount. In my case it was £73 per year. The before figure was £1114, however that's not really my before figure, that's the before figure for the revised assessment of my usage, which again isn't made clear. My actual current usage figure based on my direct debits is £832.44 (rightly or wrongly). So the real annual increase I should be expecting is £281.56 which combines both a unit price increase and an increase in expected usage (yet to be determined whether this is realistic).

It's only when I get to the final figures that show the change in direct debits that I realise something is amiss. At this point I look at it and think "They've messed up the new direct debit amounts - they've told me prices are increasing 5.6% but they're charging me 42.5% more! This is the sort of thing British Gas would do! I thought I could trust this company!"

So as I say the messaging in the email is really poor. I also think that it was a poor decision to combine a rate increase with a re-estimation of usage. Undoubtably you will have customers who can't or won't fathom it out for themselves and see the lack of someone they can ring to talk it through as the final straw. They'll look elsewhere.

I personally am interested to see whether my newly estimated usage is accurate or whether the estimate when I joined was more accurate. I really hope this wasn't a bait-and-switch tactic that purposefully underestimated my costs when I joined. In my case I don't believe you have any more information for estimation now than you did when I joined just under a month ago, so I think either your estimation algorithms are wonky or you're tipping the scales to build up some credit in your bank account.
Let’s both hope Pure Planet resolve our issue and that this is just a teething issue for them. I thought I had made a good switch but now let’s see how they handle this. I also hadn’t appreciated when signing up that there seems no way to initiate a telephone conversation with the customer service team. I emailed requesting that they phone me today 3-5pm to resolve...15 minutes to go and still no call...

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for the response Marc but this process fails if meter readings are submitted after a period of abnormal use, particularly for new customers, as is my case following the recent cold spell of weather. I have asked your customer services team to call me today so that we can reset the direct debit back to the original agreed figures and hope that someone will call before close of play today...
Betaspyder;4899:
Let’s both hope Pure Planet resolve our issue and that this is just a teething issue for them. I thought I had made a good switch but now let’s see how they handle this. I also hadn’t appreciated when signing up that there seems no way to initiate a telephone conversation with the customer service team. I emailed requesting that they phone me today 3-5pm to resolve...15 minutes to go and still no call...

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for the response Marc but this process fails if meter readings are submitted after a period of abnormal use, particularly for new customers, as is my case following the recent cold spell of weather. I have asked your customer services team to call me today so that we can reset the direct debit back to the original agreed figures and hope that someone will call before close of play today...


Hi @Betaspyder
I've checked with our services team, and I understand that we have been in contact and your Direct Debits adjusted?
Hope all OK
I have the same issue. I joined PP in September last year and provided actual usage from the previous 12 months from BG. So I was pleased to be saving around £50 per month! Now I’ve had my 6 month review with PP (considering it has been throughout the autumn & particularly cold winter) and my direct debit has been increased by a total of almost £500 per annum. (Ie I may as well have stayed with BG!). This feels unfair as my usage will obviously drop now and I’m not willing to overpay so massively based on cold weather use only. That’s the whole point of spreading the payments. As others have said I’d rather pay for actual useage. I’ll msg re my dd payments but I’m not accepting this level of increase
DebG;5225:
I have the same issue. I joined PP in September last year and provided actual usage from the previous 12 months from BG. So I was pleased to be saving around £50 per month! Now I’ve had my 6 month review with PP (considering it has been throughout the autumn & particularly cold winter) and my direct debit has been increased by a total of almost £500 per annum. (Ie I may as well have stayed with BG!). This feels unfair as my usage will obviously drop now and I’m not willing to overpay so massively based on cold weather use only. That’s the whole point of spreading the payments. As others have said I’d rather pay for actual useage. I’ll msg re my dd payments but I’m not accepting this level of increase


Hi @DebG
Thanks for posting.
If there's an increase that will be because the current level of Direct Debit payments don't match the energy usage.
But the service team will be happy to talk about your Direct Debit payments, to agree a level you're happy with.
Tap Help in the app and, type service, then select the option to ‘Message the team’ and tell us what you’d like your payments to be.
This wouldnt be just information from when you owned the property unfortunately. Usage information about readings and meter information comes from a middle man which my company call the industry. They basically collect all the data about our meters. All previous suppliers. All meter reading history. To help estimate what sort of energy is consumed by the property.and sending information from and to old and new suppliers. Unfortunately, the only way to make sure everything is up todate in the accounts is with readings. This benefits you so that you get your accurate bills. The adsact usage can be seen. This also helps the supplier aswel as your self. If you at some point believe your meter is faulty. Readings will help identify this which can be lengthy if you dont take regular readings because there is no usage history.

I do not work for pureplanet but i am a customer. I work within the energy sector.
I would very much like to tweak the dd amounts as and when required... i know im paying too little and dont want debts i think i can gauge how much i spend winter and summer now and would like to zmend payments... twice i have requested a reassesment and a sstaaement of useage... but have had no response. I love u guys for what u are tyna do and i work for the biggest big 6er, homemove originally and noww in vulnerable debt... so please get to work on the customer service side its letting you down.
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hi Dave
how long have you been with PP?
I ask because if it’s a short time they won’t have sufficient historical data to work out your usage but your previous provider will. If however it’s a longer time then they may be able to. Also working out your payments is easy if you have any historic meter readings from old bills. If you’re prepared to send me the data either on here or by dm, I’ll calculate it for you if it helps. As far as getting s reply goes, did you submit your message to the team or just ask wattbot? You need to type “message the team” and submit your query. In the meanwhile if you can find a meter reading from about a year ago, not estimated but read, and note the date, then take one now, for both elec and gas, working out your payments will be easy.

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