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Why is my DD changing if I'm on a fixed rate deal?


Userlevel 2

So I’m on a fixed tariff…

 

I was told ‘’ Your forecast 12 month energy spend is £504.84.’’ And I paid £34 a month approx…they kept saying ‘ this gas is more than expected’….2 people in a tiny bungalow. Don’t cook much, have showers,.. basically they kept adjusting the monthly use and increasing my monthly payments till now I’m told my forcast  12 spend is a £1000 a year and I owe them money!

 

WHAT PART OF MY FIXED RATE DEAL WAS FIXED IF I OWE MONEY AND THEY KEPT CHANGING MY DD !? 
 

now they want me to renew again…fixed rate means FIXED…unless your pureplanet obvs…

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Best answer by G4RHL 20 June 2021, 19:01

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31 replies

@Kerrywerrywoo Take a deep breath and have another look at the statement you have. If you are on a fixed rate then you are on a fixed rate. What you are charged is based on what you consume. Your DD will alter twice a year because of the Winter/Summer consumption adjustment. It will also alter if you consume a lot more. Surely all that is fair and reasonable?

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

The part of your fixed rate deal that is fixed, is the UNIT RATE, Kerry.

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

@Kerrywerrywoo

The fixed tariff is just that, the price of each kWh of electricity and gas is fixed, it is not an "all you can use)" price, so the more you use the more it will cost.

The £34 a month you were quoted seems very low considering it would include the membership fee for both fuels, which is why they kept adjusting it.

The renewal prices this year have increased dramatically across all suppliers, with some customers reporting a 40% increase on last years price

Whatever you do if looking for a better deal is to make sure that you compare actual usage plus per unit costs and standing charge ( membership fee ),

Good luck

 

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

Welcome to the Pure Planet Community.

At the risk of repeating what’s already been said, but I need it to explain the screenshots.

WHAT PART OF MY FIXED RATE DEAL WAS FIXED IF I OWE MONEY AND THEY KEPT CHANGING MY DD !? 

The ‘rate’ part.

How much energy you use, however, and therefore ultimately what you are billed for, is entirely up to you.

Assuming of course that you have actually been supplying Pure Planet with regular meter readings, so they know how much you are using.

Energy is not like an ‘unlimited’ mobile phone contract, which is why page one of the contract paperwork you received contains a ‘forecast’ (not the actual figure, because well, they won’t know that until you use it) of your energy use, you can see mine there £931.80:


And page two contains your fixed tariff unit rates:
 

 

If Pure Planet forecast your energy spend as £504.84 (which seems awfully low to me if it includes gas, I’m electricity only) then initially you would have been expected to pay:


£33.66 in April - September

£50.48 in October - March

 

I’m sorry if you are disappointed by this information, but I’m not sure what Pure Planet are supposed to do, they supply you with the information when you sign up, in what I believe is an OFGEM standardised format.

You state  Pure Planet informed you ‘this gas is more than expected’

Where did they tell you that?

Have you checked the unit rates (cu.feet; cu. metres; or kWh) for your meter, and the unit rates used to calculate your statements match?

Could this be related to the issues you had with a new gas meter installation last year?

Did you provide historical usage for the property when getting your quote, or did you use the OFGEM Typical Domestic Consumption Values, by entering your property type?
 




Kindest Regards

Gwyndy

Userlevel 2

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

Welcome to the Pure Planet Community.

At the risk of repeating what’s already been said, but I need it to explain the screenshots.

WHAT PART OF MY FIXED RATE DEAL WAS FIXED IF I OWE MONEY AND THEY KEPT CHANGING MY DD !? 

The ‘rate’ part.

How much energy you use, however, and therefore ultimately what you are billed for, is entirely up to you.

Assuming of course that you have actually been supplying Pure Planet with regular meter readings, so they know how much you are using.

Energy is not like an ‘unlimited’ mobile phone contract, which is why page one of the contract paperwork you received contains a ‘forecast’ (not the actual figure, because well, they won’t know that until you use it) of your energy use, you can see mine there £931.80:


And page two contains your fixed tariff unit rates:
 

 

If Pure Planet forecast your energy spend as £504.84 (which seems awfully low to me if it includes gas, I’m electricity only) then initially you would have been expected to pay:


£33.66 in April - September

£50.48 in October - March

 

I’m sorry if you are disappointed by this information, but I’m not sure what Pure Planet are supposed to do, they supply you with the information when you sign up, in what I believe is an OFGEM standardised format.

You state  Pure Planet informed you ‘this gas is more than expected’

Where did they tell you that?

Have you checked the unit rates (cu.feet; cu. metres; or kWh) for your meter, and the unit rates used to calculate your statements match?

Could this be related to the issues you had with a new gas meter installation last year?

Did you provide historical usage for the property when getting your quote, or did you use the OFGEM Typical Domestic Consumption Values, by entering your property type?
 




Kindest Regards

Gwyndy


 

thanks for the explanation. Ok I understand now that the fixed rate was the units. This is my first house so wasn’t understanding it clearly.   I have lost my mum and dad in the last year and dealing with them both / estates ‘ funerals probate etc means I have not been paying attention to things :(.  Soo… Each month when I put in my meter readings - every single time the gas readings shows me a little message basically saying ‘ this is higher than expected ‘…so I have contacted pureplanet and they said I was using more than they projected. Roll forward to last week on the day I had a phone call saying my DD was going up yet again and I also owed them £180. I was so upset.  MY BIG PROBLEM is when I signed up it was because I was offered a projected spend which showed a reasonably priced bill each month - the tarif offered and projected costs it made it look like I would pay less and have a lower tarif if that makes sense……it’s a very small bungalow…2 adults…..at home all day - they had all this information and I had nothing to compare it too obviously as first house so signed up…..so I had an initial projected use of around ££146 electric and £96 gas based on the info I gave them.  I can afford that sounds very  good>……….then  that was adjusted to 280 E / 90G……then up again to £539E / £340G……then AGAIN up it went to £599E / £423G……. So bearing in mind a huge chunk of this last year was up in wales caring for a dying parent using his gas and electric. So now I’m told my ACTUAL projected usage is around £1200 a month with G & E. how the hell can they so drastically under estimate what I was going to use when I signed up? Surely they can work it out a bit better because estimating my usuage from 146 on electric and 96 on gas to jump to 600 and 450 is a HUGE jump. And I was away a lot! If I sign up again how many more times will they raise it this coming year claiming I’m ‘using more than expected’….sorry it’s because I have been away for months and they still say I used more, well if the heatings turned off …how can I be using more ! It’s just shady as hell. 

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

Unfortunately, I think you may have overestimated what Pure Planet ‘know’


Basically when you sign up to an energy provider, they ask you to either

A: Provide your own estimate of your annual usage based on your last year’s figures.

or

B: Select the type of property from a list

If you choose option ‘A’ then at least in theory, unless something is massively wrong, your bill should be reasonably accurate.

If you choose option ‘B’ then Pure Planet has to use a set of figures provided by OFGEM - this is to ensure that the quote provided based on property size is comparable, not accurate, between supplier’s websites - price comparison sites can use their own figures.
That set of figures Typical Domestic Consumption Values, care not who you are, where you live, or how many people are in your property for how much of the day - they exist solely to provide what OFGEM consider to be a ‘reasonable estimate’ for comparison purposes.

They can, and often are, way, way, out, this for example are the calculated figures provided by my local energy supplier (Swalec) for my property:
 



2312 kWh per year, or £44.81 per month

I’ve lived in this property off and on since 1996, never in 25 years has the electricity consumption been below 4700kWh per annum (and between 1996 and 2003ish, we had a Rayburn, so there wasn’t running a boiler or electric shower to take into account.)

This is my last statement from Pure Planet:

 


Estimated Annual Usage 5910kWh - now that’s more like it, far nearer to accurate.

Now can you see why Pure Planet have ‘kept changing your figures’?

No supplier knows anything beyond the most basic information about your property, so assumptions are made using TDCV - TDCV doesn’t know:
How old your property is.
How energy efficient it is.
Whether you are home all day, or out all day.
What part of the country you are in.

All it cares about is what the typical use is for a property of your ‘type.’

So, what happens to fix this?
As each month passes, your energy provider builds up a picture of your energy consumption, your usage is calculated according to a formula provided by OFGEM which basically takes your usage so far, divides it by how many days you’ve been on supply, then works out how much, accounting for summer/winter you will use over a year.

There are also ‘bubbles’ of usage, related to the historic recorded use on your meter, but no provider has access to that when you sign up.

It doesn’t really matter who you signed up to, pretty much the same thing would have happened - the only way to avoid it is to know your usage, which of course you could not.


Now, I’m not telling you ‘stay with Pure Planet’ what I’m telling you is ‘be prepared wherever you go for this to happen again next year’ - because until such time as you have an accurate annual usage figure to enter this will keep happening to you, doesn’t matter who you join.


I do sincerely sympathise, my friend moved into an old house, signed up with the local company at a friend’s recommendation, and just before her 12 month contract ended, after spending months telling her ‘your direct debit is on track to cover your annual usage’ - they slapped her with an undercharge to the value of £400 - looks like those direct debits weren’t so ‘on track’ after all.


The ‘system’ energy providers have to work by (such as it is) is designed to achieve certain outcomes, in doing so, it unfortunately has side effects, of which what you’ve experienced is one.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

@Kerrywerrywoo in addition to @Gwyndy excellent answer, the membership fee (standing charge) alone is about £61 per year per fuel after the dual fuel discount. You can see that the initial payments were very low allowing for hardly any energy usage 

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

first of all I’m sorry for your recent loss.

I couldn’t make much sense of your figures, but I’m of the opinion there is no way it should ever have got to the state of you having to pay £1200 a month, so either you meant a year or there is something very wrong.

There are lots of people in the community who are trying to help you out here, it’s fairly clear this needs to be unwound and examined both for your sake and for PP’s. Please don’t take this the wrong way but ranting about it being shady isn’t going to help, you need to step back and supply some facts here so we can help you get it sorted. 

There are three things going on here:

A very wrong initial estimation of your annual energy consumption (no blame attached you weren’t to know)

A meter change may have caused confusion

Questionable handling of the account by PP,  but then I don’t know what they’ve done overall

I think what needs to happen here is for PP to go back over your account  from the very start and check readings and  recalculate, but before you get to that may I ask you some questions which hopefully will throw some light on the matter?

Please can you find the earliest statement with true meter readings NOT estimated on it for both gas and electric, note the readings and the date.
Now  go to the meters on the wall (not the in home display) and take readings with the date taken both gas and elec., post all of the dates and readings on here. That will enable us to give you a ball park figure of what you’re using, which is where we need to start.

If you don’t want to do that then please please use wattbot, type message the team, and ask them to check your account from when you started with PP.

There’s nothing shady here, what we probably have is a screw up by multiple parties. It needs fixing or at the very least explaining. Having real readings and dates is important to sorting this.

You’re going to need to get this sorted either way (whether you stay with PP or leave), and leaving will get complicated if you don’t sort it.

Post back?

 

 

Userlevel 2

Hi sorry yes it’s a year not monthly. I was quoting several statements that show how each time my DD increased the average monthly usage was quoted and it kept jumping up. My very first quote was very very low which set in my head ( obviously) an unrealistic amount I’d expected to be paying per year and per month. £146 electric plus £96 gas……then my most recent bill is also pictured…it’s an enormous jump. 

 

 

Userlevel 2

Meter readings : all actual readings by me from the meters no estimates 

 

Userlevel 2

Hi sorry yes it’s a year not monthly. I was quoting several statements that show how each time my DD increased the average monthly usage was quoted and it kept jumping up. My very first quote was very very low which set in my head ( obviously) an unrealistic amount I’d expected to be paying per year and per month. £146 electric plus £96 gas……then my most recent bill is also pictured…it’s an enormous jump. 

 

 

And this months 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

@Kerrywerrywoo

oops - I hadn’t seen the second screenshot brb

OK

Well the second estimate is much more realistic than the first. Quite frankly the first should have been queried from the start, it’s so obviously wrong. 

The problem is Kerry, that once you go into arrears it’s a double whammy, and that’s what’s happened to you. You not only have to pay the arrears off but also have to up the payment to cover your usage, so the increase can seem very large, especially if you started from a figure that’s way too low.

The most important thing here is to establish that PP started the readings from the correct numbers and to see what you’ve used since you started, then you can start to unwind this and figure out what’s happened, but looking at those figures I think it’s as I’ve just described. Then eventually (if not sooner) you can look at what you leave switched on and whether you have led lamps etc to try and reduce your consumption.

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

I’m sure @woz will be along with his spreadsheet skills shortly.

Do you know what your new meter measures in? presumably either m3, or kWh?

My top of my head calculation is you used:
2371 kWh of electricity 
874 units of gas 
Over 243 days

So, not allowing for weather etc.

Approximately 3600 kWh per year of Electricity, 1350 units (15340 kWh?) of gas?


Thanks Gwyndy

 

Userlevel 2

This may help in order !  Some 0f the readings have been done twice because when it’s said ‘ this readings higher than expected’ I have reentered the numbers off the meter x thanks for helping. It’s all a bit overwhelming finding out I am paying lots more than I was initially said I would plus I owe £180… I also started off with a brand new gas meter at zero. 

 

 

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

On your statements, or your contract, it should tell you what your unit cost is, can you tell us those figures, they will help @woz with his calculations.

Thank you
Gwyndy

 

Userlevel 2

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

I’m sure @woz will be along with his spreadsheet skills shortly.

Do you know what your new meter measures in? presumably either m3, or kWh?

My top of my head calculation is you used:
2371 kWh of electricity 
874 units of gas 
Over 243 days

So, not allowing for weather etc.

Approximately 3600 kWh per year of Electricity, 1350 units of gas?


Thanks Gwyndy

 

Thankyou well the gas meters brand new. The electric meters old style with rolling digits on wheels /  ‘ not digital. Having not had experience of paying these bills myself in the past I have no reference to fall back on. I did say to the lad who called me with the news of my debt and more rises in DD each month that to tell me my forcast usage was going to be so low/cheap was incredibly unprofessional and as I had said from my initial registration myself and partner work from home so we would be in 24/7…. -ps….I hasten add not only where we away a lot between sept and xmas with my dying father we also don’t have a gas cooker ….all this gas can only be heating :/ we are pretty frugal IMO….never leave lights on when out of the room etc. It’s just all been the last thing I needed on top of everything else you know. If I have used it I’ll pay but it’s just how it’s been done has stressed me out. Initial forcast crazy low….me not knowing any different so the reality of our apparent usage was a huge shock but to be in debt has upset me :( now they want me to renew and I’m totally confused and suspicious about how m8ch more it will rise :( 

Userlevel 2

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

On your statements, or your contract, it should tell you what your unit cost is, can you tell us those figures, they will help @woz with his calculations.

Thank you
Gwyndy

 

Here you go 

 

Userlevel 2

I really do appreciate everyone’s help. Thankyou, I’m off to bed now but will reply tomorrow and I’m very grateful for everyone who’s helping me. I really am Thankyou ♥️

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

I’ve very roughly calculated it, but @woz is the resident spreadsheet expert - me, I still mourn the loss of Lotus 123.

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

apologies but my computer is very broken and just attempted to recover so no spreadsheets or anything for that matter. I’m posting from my phone which I don’t like doing.

Looking at the figures I estimate the annual electricity at around just over 3000kWh, perhaps 3100, and gas at around 11500. 

That’s around £950/year to £1000 at those prices but the renewal will be a lot more as the prices have increased by maybe 30%
can’t spreadsheet as no computer sorry!

I did the calcs independently of @Gwyndy but made some assumptions, for example that you will use some gas in july and august.

So now you need to add up everything you’ve paid since you started and subtract it from £950 or 1000, that will show the shortfall to the end of the year. Sorry about the computer I’m very reliant on it so a bit screwed for the moment…

 

thanks for the explanation. Ok I understand now that the fixed rate was the units. This is my first house so wasn’t understanding it clearly.   

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo welcome to the community! Thanks for getting stuck in.

I can see other Members have been wonderful and explained that fixed applies to the unit rates. If you use more than the estimates, Direct Debits may go up. And if you use less than estimated, they go down!

(BTW i’ve slightly edited your original post, just to remove the profanity)

Thanks everyone for helping out a fellow community member :blush:

Userlevel 2

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo 

I’ve very roughly calculated it, but @woz is the resident spreadsheet expert - me, I still mourn the loss of Lotus 123.

 

 

Thankyou this is really helpful. I understand a lot more now how it works and why I got so flustered, with everything going on my stress jar has been full so Thankyou for taking the time to explain! 

Userlevel 2

apologies but my computer is very broken and just attempted to recover so no spreadsheets or anything for that matter. I’m posting from my phone which I don’t like doing.

Looking at the figures I estimate the annual electricity at around just over 3000kWh, perhaps 3100, and gas at around 11500. 

That’s around £950/year to £1000 at those prices but the renewal will be a lot more as the prices have increased by maybe 30%
can’t spreadsheet as no computer sorry!

I did the calcs independently of @Gwyndy but made some assumptions, for example that you will use some gas in july and august.

So now you need to add up everything you’ve paid since you started and subtract it from £950 or 1000, that will show the shortfall to the end of the year. Sorry about the computer I’m very reliant on it so a bit screwed for the moment…

Thankyou again I’ll work it out and can be clearer now on what to expect and why. Thankyou so much ! 

Userlevel 2

 

thanks for the explanation. Ok I understand now that the fixed rate was the units. This is my first house so wasn’t understanding it clearly.   

Hi @Kerrywerrywoo welcome to the community! Thanks for getting stuck in.

I can see other Members have been wonderful and explained that fixed applies to the unit rates. If you use more than the estimates, Direct Debits may go up. And if you use less than estimated, they go down!

(BTW i’ve slightly edited your original post, just to remove the profanity)

Thanks everyone for helping out a fellow community member :blush:

Hi Marc

thanks for the reply. The community have been incredibly helpful in explaining what’s happened, I would like to say a huge part of my confusion came down to the first quote from pureplanet for an unrealistic usage value which set my tone - when I was told by you my expected cost per year would be around £250 per year then it’s crept up to over £1000 it’s a huge shock. Clearly this estimation technique you are using is not accurate so perhaps a better system of usage questions could at some point be used so new home owners without experience don’t have a heart attack. More questions = more accurate estimates. I cannot be the first to have been shocked in this way so hopefully at some point this might be rectified. The guy on the phone mumbled stuff about bills up n down in summer n winter. Not really helpful. Luckily the kind people here took the time to clearly show me what’s happened and now I understand. 

@Kerrywerrywoo If it is of any solace just remember that PP will only charge you for what you use. In time you will build up a picture for yourself. Some of us here, probably you can call us nerds!, keep spreadsheets running to show the monthly kWh consumption for each of gas and electricity and also the cost. I sometimes/used to see my cost going up when the kWs have gone down but that is because of unit price adjustments. I am on a fixed contract now which makes recording the figures simpler but I do always know how much in kWhs I have used and that proves useful when the time comes to check on comparison sites. Great care is needed with those to ensure you compare like with like.

Above all you will always find members here with the knowledge and ability to help. Not paid by PP, just wanting to help. And sometimes we  post some silly things for a bit of fun!

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