Over the last couple of months, I’ve been – again – having issues with nPower and their circus-clown cohorts, Lowri Beck. I’ve written about this before, where they had said they hadn’t been in my house for four years, despite being supposed to be checking things at least once a year. (And having supplied meter readings to nPower – so fuck knows how they managed that without having been in the house!)
Anyway, when they did come round back at the start of July, it turned out the electricity meter was
fucked faulty, and so needed replacing. Fortuitous timing, as it’d been OK two weeks previously, when I took a reading from the damn thing.
The problem – as usual, with Lowri Beck – is that their meter replacement teams don’t work weekends. And nPower won’t do anything to compensate their customers for having to take time off to replace a meter (or anything else), even when it’s at nPower’s behest. All of which left us at a bit of a standoff.
Eventually, having progressed through the layers of nPower’s customer services section, I finally got to speak to someone who had the power/rank to be able to book in a job for a Saturday. It was still a bit random, as more urgent jobs would take precedence over a lowly meter reading – but it got done. And only one cancellation before the person came out to do the job.
Because Lowri Beck couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, the fitter had actually come from… London. All the way up to Milton Keynes – so was only able to do one other job on the same day. It does make you wonder just how Lowri Beck stay in business, when they’re that disorganised and cretinous.
Anyway, an hour later, I’ve got a new – well, new to me – meter, and we can hopefully start seeing something approaching account normality.
Mind you, they did still manage to mis-enter the supplied readings from the new meter, and would’ve over-charged me quite significantly if I hadn’t been keeping an eye on the account…
Clowns, the lot of ’em.
As I said earlier, the only scheduled thing for the weekend was a visit from Lowri Beck, the clowns who are nPower’s third-party partner in the area – who needed to check my electricity meter.
Supposedly they legally *have* to do this once a year – and they allege they haven’t been inside my property in four years (i.e. before I even moved in), so it’s hardly a legal requirement in the first place. Saying they haven’t had access is utter bollocks, by the way, as someone from the company was in there to check the gas one a month ago, and I’ve had people from the same company in to do readings before (except they then lost them, due to being useless cunts)
Anyway, the guy turned up, and in his most helpful manner said “Oooh, that’s not good. How long’s it been doing that?”. To which, of course, I said “Doing what?”, as I’m not a fucking mind-reader, and couldn’t tell you one end of a meter problem from the other. “That” he says, and points at the meter. “Go on, give me a clue.”
Turns out, there’s a flashing light that says “I need replacing”. It wasn’t there two weeks ago when I took my own meter reading, but now the clowns are here, we get the full circus lights. *sigh*
So – I now need to get a replacement meter.
But in a fit of truly inspired crap customer service, Lowri Beck’s installers only work Monday to Friday, 9-5. So to get a new meter, I’m going to have to take time off work, costing me money for something that’s entirely not my fault. And nPower won’t offer any alternatives, compensation, or understanding. (Which is no surprise whatsoever)
I’ve got it booked in, but it looks like it may just be time for yet another fight with the asshats at nPower. Oh goody.
As per comments on the previous post about my asshole energy suppliers, I will definitely be looking at changing them this year.
However, because of the ongoing billing fuckups, right now I have no decent figures for comparison purposes. I’m sure I’m not getting a good deal from the cockwhistles at nPower, but I don’t actually know for sure how bad the deal is. I haven’t had a clear and accurate bill in nearly three years – which makes figuring anything else out into quite a struggle.
As always, I don’t see the point in changing anything until I know I’m getting a better deal – so for now I’ll be keeping things with nPower.
However, that’s only for the next couple of months, during which time I’ll be keeping an eye on actual usage and what I’m paying. Once I’ve had the next bill, and know more about the usage and expectations, I’ll be able to make a far better estimation of what I’m spending versus what I could/should be spending.
And from that point, I’ll then have to decide whether I’m going to stick with [current location] for at least another year’s tenancy. If I am, and there’s a good offer around, I’ll swap. Until then, it’s going to be about making sure I’ve got the figures to back up the decision one way or t’other…
Since moving to the new (current) place, I’ve had an ongoing (and too depressing for words) set of issues and disputes with nPower. These have included, but not limited to
- Not having the correct name on the account for eighteen months, despite repeated requests to change it
- Losing documentary proof (including my tenancy agreement) of my address. Originals were insisted upon, sent recorded delivery, signed for, and then lost. Hard to place blame anywhere except nPower
- Billing issues – my bills went up, down, sideways, and every way except correctly
- Misrepresentation – sending a meter reader into my house under the guise of being someone to do ‘legal gas meter checks’. (This was also while the bill/account was in the wrong name, so there was also some issues legally around that)
- A meter reading done by a representative of nPower, who then managed to register that reading to a completely different address, and denied ever having done one for this house. (Despite his having done readings/visits recorded to every other house in my block at the same time)
So it’s fair to say that I regard nPower as incompetent useless dickwhistles at the best of times.
Today, though, has taken it to a whole new level.
Things have settled down somewhat, and on Tuesday I gave them a meter reading directly through the website. At that point, my account was £1.62 in credit. Happy day, all well and good.
Today I logged in for a quick check. £595.82 in credit. Um, what? So I look, and it’s got four cancelled bills, adding up to the amount in credit. Four bills I’ve received, and paid. Now cancelled. File under “Fuck, What The”
So I gave them a call. The first incompetent managed to put the phone down on me. So I called back, and finally got through to one of the (few) efficient and competent individuals who work at nPower. (I’m quite sure she won’t last long, having been actually pleasant and competent)
It turns out that – once in receipt of a valid meter reading – nPower cancel out all the estimated bills back to the previous correct reading. They then recalculate all those bills with the correct figures (although technically they must still be estimates of what was used, averaging out the figures over the number of bills) to bring everything back up to date. So for however far back, the bills get cancelled – despite having been printed, posted and paid – and then recreated. Then I’ll know what I need to pay to be up to date.
Except of course that they’ve also got to send out all those new bills. So next week I’m going to get five bills from nPower – the four reconstructed ones – as well as the one to bring me up to date.
Now, I realise that this is something that’s required by the energy regulator – but does it strike anyone else as a completely fucking barking way to run a business?
As nPower have today announced that the average joint-fuel bill will be going up by over 10% from December 1st, I’ve decided that I’m now definitely going to take my complaint to the Energy Ombudsman, and cost the fuckers some money.
Jesus christ, a 10% increase. Do they think people are made of money? Fucking hell.
I wouldn’t mind so much if there were any decent alternatives to change over to. Sadly though, they’re all as shitty as each other.
Yesterday, I got a letter from nPower – addressed to the correct name, at the correct address. (This is actually noteworthy, as it hasn’t happened in the preceding eighteen months) It relates to the complaint I made about – um – the fact that they couldn’t (well, hadn’t) corrected my name and address on my account, despite repeated requests to do so.
Apparently, because they haven’t been in touch in so long since I raised the complaint, I can now speak to the Energy Ombudsman about it. (Which I threatened to do last month, when it all actually got sorted)
So. Should I do so?
After all, the complaint has actually been fixed, but it now looks as if their entire system is so broken that even though it’s been sorted – and the correctly addressed envelope proves it’s been sorted – it hasn’t been flagged on the system as sorted. Which really is pretty fucked, however you look at it.
I’m tempted to do so, and cost them some more money (apparently even registering an issue with the Ombudsman lands them with a fine) and see where it takes me…
Since moving in to the new place, one of the banes of my life have been the utility companies for the property.
nPower in particular have been stunningly shit. It’s taken them eighteen months to get the name right on the account – the letting agency notified them of the change, and they did nothing. I’ve gone through the process no less than six times, sending ID and proof of tenancy, and it all disappeared into the black hole of “Fuck-All Happening” that seems to define nPower. Even their complaints team were so bad that they didn’t even call me within the expected timescale, despite repeated requests. The best one was emailing the proof documents the fifth time, putting on ‘read receipts’ etc., and getting one back saying “The message was deleted without being read“. That was when I started getting really pissed off.
Additionally, because of ‘moving to a new system’, they managed to not send me any bills – and not be able to send bills, because gawd knows, I asked! – for a year. I then got four bills in a day – all printed on the same day, all sent out, all for different amounts. And all with one week in which to pay.
It appears to have now been sorted. I totally lost the plot, and requested that they just send me a “we can’t be arsed to fix the problem” deadlock letter so that I could take it up with the Energy Ombudsman and get them properly screwed over. Suddenly I finally got through to nPower’s one efficient person, and everything was done within twenty minutes, with her not even being able to understand why it had taken so long. I think her phrase “Well I can see that someone put the documents in the system. They just didn’t bother to do anything else with them” pretty much sums up the entire painful process with nPower.
I’m going to wait for the next bill so I can see whether they’ve finally got things right or not. I’m remaining pessimistic for the moment, but who knows, maybe miracles do happen on occasion…