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FAQs

Call: 01642888816
Call: 01642888814​

FAQs

FAQs

FAQs help customers find more information about company services and how products work.

Energy4 is here to help business customers. Due to many FAQ information requests beign asked by Business customers, Energy4 has formulated the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to assist business customers further.

Please review our FAQ information  below. Please contact Energy4 by Telephone 01642 888814 or by Email for further questions?

No, never agree any Verbal contract over the telephone with any supplier / energy broker.

Request the contract standing charge and unit rates be emailed to you or send by letter. This benefits you as the business customer especially for legal reasons.

Verbal contracts can be falsified. In our experience this only benefits the supplier and often means an in-depth process has not been fully completed to support your business.

You can have confidence that Energy 4 will always provide you with all the options, advice and recommendations to make an informed and systematic decision based on facts and evidence provided.

Council community switch is when a business or broker offers special prices to domestic customers by bringing many domestic customers together, with this large demand they can apply leverage to the network to provide much more competitive prices.

This Council Community switch is also refrred to as the Big Switch, Area Community Switch, Switch Together, Large Switch.

Energy4 has monitored domestic community switch for a while. After collecting information on the price of standing charge, and unit charge offered it has been found that there is no difference between the price offered by a domestic community switch and the price supplied by the noted supplier on there website. Energy4 did not identify a benefit.

Domestic customers should remain vigilant, and check the supply price being offered by the community switch against what the supplier can provide. Community switch should provide better prices, but Energy4 has yet to find any community switch group who can provide evidence that this has actually happened.

Commercial collective switching does provide benefits, and placing sites and factories together has provided better prices for many Energy4 customers.

Community switch is when a business or broker offers special prices to domestic customers by bringing many domestic customers together, with this large demand they can apply leverage to the network to provide much more competitive prices.

This Community switch is also refrred to as the Big Switch, Area Community Switch, Switch Together, Large Switch.

Energy4 has monitored domestic community switch for a while. After collecting information on the price of standing charge, and unit charge offered it has been found that there is no difference between the price offered by a domestic community switch and the price supplied by the noted supplier on there website. Energy4 did not identify a benefit.

Domestic customers should remain vigilant, and check the supply price being offered by the community switch against what the supplier can provide. Community switch should provide better prices, but Energy4 has yet to find any community switch group who can provide evidence that this has actually happened.

Commercial collective switching does provide benefits, and placing sites and factories together has provided better prices for many Energy4 customers.

Can my utility supplier cut me off

No. Can my utiltiy supplier cut me off, only if you have not paid a bill after 28 days. Your supplier may contact you about the possibility of disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. It’s rare to be disconnected as your supplier will usually offer to install a prepayment meter instead.

Before supplier can disconnect your utility supply, your supplier must give you a chance to pay your debt through a payment plan. If you haven’t already, you should talk to your supplier about your repayment options.

Who shouldn’t be disconnected

Suppliers aren’t allowed to disconnect you between 1 October and 31 March if you’re:

a pensioner living alone
a pensioner living with children under five

The 6 largest suppliers have signed up to an agreement to make sure you won’t be disconnected at any time of year if you have:

a disability
long-term health problems
severe financial problems
young children living at home

These suppliers are British Gas, EDF Energy, npower, E.on, Scottish Power and SSE.

Other suppliers should also take your situation into account, but they’re not obliged to.

If you’ve been threatened with being disconnected but think you shouldn’t be, contact your supplier and let them know. They should visit your home to check on your situation before they do anything. You can make a complaint if they decide to go ahead and disconnect you.

Further information 1

The disconnection process

If you don’t come to an agreement with your supplier to pay off your debt, they can apply to a court for a warrant to enter your home to disconnect your supply. Your supplier must send a notice telling you they’re applying to the court.

Before the hearing takes place, contact your supplier and try and come to an agreement to pay off your debt.

If you haven’t contacted your supplier, there’ll be a court hearing which you should attend. You can still come to an arrangement with your supplier to pay off your debt at this stage. You can take along a friend for support.

If the court grants a warrant, your supplier will be able to disconnect your supply. They must give you 7 days notice in writing before they do. In practice, it’s rare for suppliers to disconnect customers. They’re more likely to fit a prepayment meter in your home.

Your supplier won’t need a warrant to disconnect a meter on the outside of your property (as the warrant is to enter your property), but most suppliers will still get one.

If you have a ‘smart meter’

If you have a smart meter in your home, your supplier could potentially disconnect your supply remotely without needing to access to your meter. However, before they do this, they must have:

contacted you to discuss options for repaying your debt, eg through a repayment plan
visited your home to assess your personal situation and whether this would affect you being disconnected, eg if you’re disabled or elderly

If they don’t do this and they try and disconnect you, make a complaint to your supplier.

Getting reconnected

If your supply has been disconnected, contact your supplier to arrange reconnection.

You will need to arrange to pay your debt, the reconnection fee and administrative costs. The amount you’ll be charged depends on your supplier, but it must be reasonable. If you think the charges are too high, get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

You may have to pay your supplier a security deposit as a condition of giving you a supply. You can’t be asked for a security deposit if you have a prepayment meter installed.

If you’ve paid all the charges your supplier must reconnect you within 24 hours – or within 24 hours of the start of the next working day if you make payment out of working hours.

If you can’t pay all the charges at once, you can ask your supplier if they’re willing to agree a repayment plan with you. If they do agree then they should reconnect you within 24 hours.

If the supplier doesn’t reconnect you within 24 hours they have to pay you £30 compensation. They must do this within 10 working days. They’ll usually credit your account, but you can ask them to pay you by cheque or bank transfer. If they don’t pay on time they have to pay you an extra £30 for the delay.

If you’re disconnected because your utility supply is interrupted, you might be able to claim compensation.

Further information 2

Utility supply disconnection and prepayment meter rules

At one time or another many people experience difficulties paying their bills. If you get into debt with your gas or electricity supplier it’s very important to tackle the problem.

If you let your utility bills build up, there is a risk of eventually being disconnected – which means having your utility cut off – by your supplier. Here we explain the rules, what should happen if you are disconnected and the help available to you to get reconnected.

Debt and prepayment meters

If you don’t engage with your supplier on a debt and 28 days pass, they can contact you about the possibility of disconnecting your utility supply.

Your supplier must give you the chance to repay the money you owe through a payment plan before they disconnect you. The plan must factor in your financial circumstances and ability to pay. Debts can be repaid over a number of months as you also continue to pay for your ongoing utility use.

It’s rare that customers are disconnected. Usually your supplier will ask to fit a prepayment meter, also referred to as a ‘key card’ or ‘token’ meter, in your home. They work in a similar way to a pay-as-you-go phone. You don’t have to have one if you don’t want one. Ask your supplier about your options. Find out more in Understand your utility meter.

If you don’t engage with your supplier to agree how to resolve the debt, or fail to stick to an agreed payment plan, they can also install a prepayment meter under a warrant to recover the money you owe. They can only do this as a last resort and must send you a notice telling you they’re applying to the court.

Who can’t be disconnected?

If you are threatened with disconnection there are strict rules on who can or can’t be disconnected.

If you’re eligible for the Priority Services Register

Suppliers are prohibited from disconnecting a premises occupied by a customer eligible for the Priority Services Register during the winter months (1 October – 31 March). You’re eligible for the Priority Services Register if you:

are of pensionable age
are disabled or chronically sick
have a long-term medical condition
have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
are in a vulnerable situation.

If you’re a ‘Safety Net’ vulnerable consumer

Many suppliers have also signed up to a Safety Net, a pledge to never knowingly disconnect a vulnerable customer at any time of year.

This offers further protection for vulnerable customers. In this instance, vulnerable customers may be customers who are unable to safeguard their personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of the household due to:

age (such as younger people at home)
health
disability
severe financial insecurity.

If you’re bankrupt or you owe debts to a former utility supplier

You cannot be disconnected if:

your debt is owed to a previous supplier
you have been made bankrupt and the debt relates to a period before you went bankrupt
the debt is not for the gas or electricity you have used but for some other service or appliance you have bought from your supplier.

If you think you shouldn’t be disconnected, contact your supplier and tell them. If you aren’t happy with their response, follow their complaints process and make a complaint.

Get help to repay a debt and avoid disconnection

Specific help is available if you have either been threatened with disconnection or who have actually been disconnected:

Further support can also be found in our section on Who to contact if it’s difficult paying utility bills.

Fuel Direct

It may be also possible to repay an utility debt through a scheme called Fuel Direct. You are eligible for this scheme if you get:

income support
job seeker’s allowance
pension credits
employment and support allowance.

Through Fuel Direct, a fixed sum will be automatically deducted every week from your benefits and paid directly to your utility supplier. This will cover your current fuel use and also pay off a certain amount of your debt.

Find out more on GOV.UK: Help paying bills using your benefits (opens another website)

Reconnection

To get reconnected after a disconnection, contact your supplier. There may be costs and charges involved. Your supplier will explain them.

If you experience temporary disconnection because of a power cut, Dial 105, You might be able to claim compensation from your network operator under the Guaranteed Standards.

See Power cuts: Help and compensation under the Guaranteed Standards.

https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/electricity-transmission/safety-and-emergencies/power-cuts

https://www.westernpower.co.uk/power-cut-information/how-to-report-a-power-cut

https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/map

https://www.westernpower.co.uk/power-cut-information/report-a-power-cut/

https://www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts/report-a-power-cut

https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut

Consumer protections

Ofgem is working to deliver changes to protect consumers from experiencing more debt or hardship due to prepayment meter warrant installations. Under current rules, suppliers can charge warrant costs back to you. The charges, which can include court costs, can range between £200 to £900. We’re consulting on plans to place a firm cap at £100 or £150 on warrant charges for all customers.

We’re also proposing to ban warrant charges altogether, and in some cases installations, for the most vulnerable customers. This includes people in financial hardship, and people with physical and mental health issues and learning difficulties.

Remember, if you are threatened with disconnection it is important to act quickly and try and reach a financial arrangement that is acceptable to both you and your supplier.

Further information 3

Contact Energy4 today, click here

NO. Just as with residential customers, if a company changes to a new supplier, nothing changes other than the price that is paid for the gas or electricity flowing through the meter.  The paperwork, meter and network all remain the same, it is only the company which reads the meter that changes.

Energy4 can assist you with this, if you do not have the time to review your contacts.

Because we simplify the process as much as possible we only need a minimal amount of time from you or the person who deals with this in your business normally its the Decision Maker.  It’s really easy and very quick for you to receive a trouble free quote. Just follow these few simple steps.

Step 1 – Latest Copy of Invoice

Just provide us with a up-to-date full copy (both sides and all pages) of your latest invoice in respect of ALL your electricity and gas supplies. If you have multiple sites, we need the latest invoice for each site.

To streamline the process please write your latest meter readings on each of the invoices.

Step 2 – Letter of Authority

Energy 4 needs your permission to speak to energy suppliers so all we need is a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) on your headed paper which we can send to you by email or fax (the LOA covers both electricity and gas accounts).

Step 3 – Send to Energy 4

Return the copy invoices and your LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) and we will complete a trouble free quote for your account and business. You can post, fax or scan the LOA and invoices. The process takes 2 – 3 weeks so will be in touch with you as soon as possible . If however you have your renewal letter to hand and we don’t want to get rollover then please tell us and we will make it a priority and start working to get the best unit price from the suppliers.

Energy4 analyses all your energy usage.  By using the 40+ Utility Suppliers, which we are registered with, we can help you find the best one for your business needs.

Energy4 simplifies the process as much as possible we only need a minimal amount of time from you or the person who deals with this in your business normally its the Decision Maker. It’s really easy and very quick for you to receive a no obligation Free Quote. Just follow these few simple steps

Energy4 simplifies the process as much as possible we only need a minimal amount of time from you or the person who deals with this in your business normally it’s the Decision Maker. It’s really easy and very quick for you to receive a trouble free quote. Just follow these few simple steps

Step 1 – Latest Copy of Invoice

Just provide us with a up-to-date full copy (both sides and all pages) of your latest invoice in respect of ALL your electricity and gas supplies. If you have multiple sites, we need the latest invoice for each site.

To streamline the process please write your latest meter readings on each of the invoices.

Step 2 – Letter of Authority

Energy4 needs your permission to speak to energy suppliers so all we need is a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) on your headed paper which we can send to you by email or fax (the LOA covers both electricity and gas accounts)

Step 3 – Send to Energy4

Return the copy invoices and your LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA) and we will complete a trouble free quote for your account and business. You can post, fax or scan the LOA and invoices. The process takes 2 – 3 weeks so will be in touch with you as soon as possible . If however you have your renewal letter to hand and we don’t want to get rollover then please tell us and we will make it a priority and start working to get the best unit price from the suppliers.

Energy brokers and Energy consultants are not all the same and operate in different ways. Some work indirectly for energy suppliers (so the same energy supplier is always put forward). Some only have access to 2 or 3 energy suppliers so their quotes are similarly limited.

Energy brokers and Energy consultants are not all the same and operate in different ways.

Some work indirectly for energy suppliers (so the same energy supplier is always put forward)

Some only have access to 2 or 3 energy suppliers so their quotes are similarly limited

Energy4 go beyond this and put your tender out to all the suppliers which include the Big 6.

Our company is 100% independent, we do not favour one energy company over another, and we work with all the energy companies. We also put the various different trouble free quotes into perspective by creating a spreadsheet and a financial forecast. We take your estimated annual usage from your bills, calculate the annual spend using the quotes we have sourced for you and detail your annual spend

This makes it easier to establish the best deal, as all suppliers vary the standing charge and unit rates but using your business patterns of usage will show you the best savings

Some of our rates are exclusive to our company and consumers will often not be able to negotiate such rates themselves. Our commitment to our customers is to offer them the best value for money with deals that will benefit our customers the most, we do not favour one supplier over another nor do we offer a particular supplier because their commission is better than another as some brokers and consultants do. Our commitment is to our customers first, we believe their savings is important

This can depend on the supplier and the market. We are notified directly by suppliers when their prices change. These are then immediately input into our pricing matrix to make sure that the prices you see are as up-to-date as possible. Prices for some suppliers may change every day whilst other suppliers’ prices may not be change for a week

Energy 4 receives introductory fees from the winning energy supplier when tendering your energy. This means we are completely INDEPENDENT and best placed to help you reduce costs and make efficiencies…

Energy 4 receives introductory fees from the winning energy supplier when tendering your energy. This means we are completely INDEPENDENT and best placed to help you reduce costs and make efficiencies. We work for our clients NOT for energy suppliers.

Each supplier has different termination requirements

  • Please review your Terms and Conditions for cancellation contracts
  • Please pay all outstanding debts
  • Some suppliers demand both a letter and email to confirm a request for change. Please send Energy4 your contract if you cannot identify this.
  • Specific suppliers will offer 28 days to change suppliers

Energy4 will NOT at no point is your energy supply interrupted. We do not abandon you after the switch; we will keep in touch and also remind you before your contract is due to end so you have the options to look at prices again before signing up another contract term

Contact us, If you have your recent energy bill or a renewal letter handy we can give you a trouble free quote immediately by phone, this will be based on our comparison of the cheapest prices with energy suppliers. Our live system is regularly updated daily with the latest prices across the market; we include the ‘Big Six’ energy companies on our books

When we give a quotation, we detail the savings you could make, give you the various options to choose from, once you have decided on the package that is best suited to you, we will arrange the contract that will be between the supplier and you, we will also keep on top of the situation to make sure that the transfer is smooth and trouble free

Our hours are from 8.30am to 5pm, we are available Monday to Friday. Contact us on 01642 888814 & 88816 or you can email us directly at contact@energy4.co.uk

YES, businesses can have ANY supplier they prefer based on cost, tariff, personal preference and locality.

Businesses NO LONGER need to acquire both gas and electricity from ONE supplier

Energy4 will provide you with a report, looking at your accounts and find out which options would be best for your business needs

No. Energy4 does not work directly with other energy suppliers.

Energy4, is a TPI (Third Party Intermediate), Not a sales consultant or sales contractor working on-behalf or for a specific energy supplier

Energy4 provides an non bias service that is client focused, supplying clients with all the energy utility options available

Energy4 receives commission from any supplier that your business decides to selects, based on price, tariff or personal preference

Energy4 does not add, Secondary and Third charges to your bill. If this is found, please contact Energy4.

The supplier that your business decides to selects will not place, Secondary and Third charges to your bill on our behalf. If this is found, please contact Energy4.

YES, The wholesale price of gas and electricity is not easily predictable and continually fluctuates influenced by world events and the supply and demand of the world’s producers and consumers

Fluctuating wholesale prices mean that the price of gas and electricity offered to UK commercial customers by the 15 or so supply companies is never the same

By constantly monitoring the changes in the energy market, we can help the customer identify the most competitive gas and electricity prices for an individual business or site

With our buying power and knowledge through our consultants. What we do depending on the number of suppliers you use and the size of your business the process of analysing, reviewing and negotiating to make sure you are on the best tariff can be very time consuming, stressful and often results in frustrating outcomes. Our skills and experience provides us with the ability to strategically analyse your invoices and usage and then find the best solutions to help you reduce costs. We have expert negotiating skills for obtaining any rebates due to you for backdating incorrect tariffs and we do all this on your behalf, leaving you to concentrate on running your business

“Smart meter is compulsory” – Incorrect, they are not compulsory, and Ofgem agrees.

“Suppliers are required by their licence to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all domestic and microbusiness customers by 2020” – Incorrect. Suppliers are using the licence stance to roll out  meters when this licence is simply to keep meters in good working order. The question of compulsory  meters is still being discussed by Ofgem.

“If you don’t want to have a smart meter now, you will still be able to have one installed for free at a later date” – Incorrect. Cost will be recovered either through the utility price, network cost, or even a maintenance operation cost.

“Ofgem and government have discussed the benefits” – Incorrect. Ofgem meetings issues were discussed including failures, specifically poor outsourcing of parts, defective meters, and screen problems.

“The devices work well” – Incorrect. Evidence shows more than 11% of smart meters stopped functioning correctly, or meter readings were difficult. Energy supplier could not read the meter at 9%, 6% IHS will not connect or stopped working. 5% IHDs stopped working at distances from meters, 2% of meters do not work with solar panels, and 1% have inaccurate bills.

Link 1 – Ofgem – A guide provided by Ofgem relating to the smart meter

Link 2 – Which Magazine

Where are “smart meters” from?

Smart meter term is derived from copying the research name smartgrid which the network, utility companies, Ofgem, and the Government discussed heavily. The meter has nothing to do with smartgrid.

Smartgrid relates to the consumer unit (fuse box) in the property. This would shut off all non essential electrical appliance, leaving on fridges, and medical equipment on. Primary role of meter is to shut down the meter from outside the property. Poverty meter is correct name.

Correspondence between Energy4 and OfGem. Energy4 Saving Businesses Money.

Contact Energy4 today, click here

YES. Energy4 have a selection of suppliers to cater for your needs depending on your locality

Can I change my utility provider, Yes. All businesses are free to change utiltiy provider that operates within the UK based on locality, credit history, and capacity. Specific Green Energy suppliers and Local CHP suppliers can only supply to local customers

However, business customers must:

  • Provide your business address
    – The current name of your supplier
    – Annual Consumption (kW)
    – Business registration (Private Limited, Sole-trader, PLC, etc.,)
  • Complete Letter Of Authority (LOA)
  • Contract End Date (CED)
  • Termination notice period
  • Energy quote from Energy4
  • Switch energy supplier or renew present supplier / change utility provider
  • Energy contract submitted
  • Energy contract processed
  • Previous energy supplier can reject transfer
  • New energy supplier can reject contract
  • Confirm switch of energy supplier

Contact Energy4 today, click here

Further information 1

Further information 2

Ofgem establishes road map to make switching easier for consumers

A fast and reliable switching process can encourage
consumers to engage in the energy market, and make
companies work harder to meet their needs.
We have reviewed the switching process and identified changes
that could deliver fast, potentially next day, transfers and improve
the reliability of the process for consumers. We will consult in
March on longer term changes that build on smart metering.
However, we believe that improvements must start now.
Ofgem is therefore proposing to tighten up the current
rules to secure a reliable three-week switch (after any
cooling off arrangements)1 while reforms are being
developed.
Government has recently asked the industry to see what
changes could be made in the short term to speed up the
switching process. We welcome the focus that government
is bringing to this area. We will provide support to
industry’s response and are challenging them to deliver as
soon as possible.

Current rules on switching

Over 5 million switches took place in the last year. When
a consumer decides to switch supplier, they should
have confidence that the switch will be fast, reliable and
straightforward.
New rules brought in across Europe, require that a switch should
take three weeks at most (after any cooling off period that the
consumer may have). Our figures show that only eight out of
ten domestic switches in Great Britain hit this target in electricity
and that this drops to less than two in ten for the gas market.
Changes to the systems that support gas switching, approved by
Ofgem and implemented last month, should enable a significant
improvement to performance in gas. However, it is clear that
greater focus is needed by suppliers if the target is to be met for
all switches. We will continue to monitor how suppliers perform
against this standard.

About our review

Between May and October this year, Ofgem led a detailed
review of the end-to-end switching process with consumer
bodies, government and industry. Many of these arrangements
have been in place since competition started in the late 90’s
and need to be updated to take advantage of new technology
and the roll out of smart meters.

Through our review we identified changes that can be
implemented in the short term to improve speed and reliability.
This review has also informed the more ambitious proposals,
that we will consult on next year, to deliver reliable and fast, eg
next day, transfers. We have now published a detailed summary
of our review.

What consumers told us

We conducted qualitative research with both domestic and
business consumers about their experiences and what they
want from a new change of supplier process.
Overall, domestic consumers said that they were most
concerned about the earlier stages of the switching process,
such as choosing the best deal for them. When asked to
think about the change of supplier process, consumers said
they wanted a reliable and accurate transfer and for it to be as
efficient and streamlined as possible.
For some business consumers, a faster switch was felt to have
benefits. However, their primary concern was for the transfer
to be reliable and hassle-free. A number of businesses raised
concerns about the objections process – where a supplier can
block the switch in certain circumstances.

Securing improvements for consumers now

Our consumer research shows that reliability is currently
the number one priority for consumers. We have identified
changes that should be made now to secure a reliable three
week switch for consumers while industry drives forward work
to make switching faster.
We are now:
• Consulting on tougher rules, to be implemented as
soon as possible next year, that would require suppliers
to switch all consumers within three weeks (after any
cooling off period)
• Consulting on tougher rules to make sure companies
transfer the right consumer or face penalties if they do not
• Looking to put certain practices under the microscope by
stepping up our monitoring, including supplier behaviour
in blocking a switch in certain circumstances.
It is vital that consumers can have confidence in the transfer
process and we want industry to communicate clearly what
should happen when a consumer decides to switch. Energy
UK, the trade association that includes the large domestic
energy suppliers, shares our ambition to introduce a switching
guarantee for consumers and will consider this in line with
the improvements that suppliers are currently developing to
achieve faster switching. Energy UK has also agreed to review
its current billing code of practice to ensure that it meets
consumers’ needs when they switch supplier.

Supporting the industry’s work to speed up the
switching process in the short term

Through our ongoing retail market reforms, Ofgem is
introducing new rules to make the market simpler, clearer and
fairer, so that consumers can identify the best deal for them.
Suppliers need to go further to rebuild consumers’ trust by
introducing changes that improve both the reliability and
speed of the transfer process.
In response to the government’s push for faster switching,
suppliers are assessing the output of our review of the
switching process to identify changes that allow consumers
to switch more quickly than today. We are working with
industry on this initiative to ensure that it delivers the right
outcome for consumers. We are challenging the industry to
deliver a faster switching process as quickly as possible.

Longer term improvements to the switching process

ur review suggests that, by building on the roll-out of smart metering, we can go even further on switching timescales
so that domestic and business consumers could move to their new supplier the next day, or even on the same day.
These changes, in particular introducing a new central switching service that brings together the existing services in gas
and electricity, could improve the reliability and efficiency of the transfer process for consumers and bring down costs.
This could also streamline the process for dual fuel consumers.
To support our analysis, we have asked industry for information on how much it will cost to make these changes and
what the wider benefits would be. We will consult on these reforms, with a full impact assessment of the costs and
benefits, in March 2014. We will then introduce any changes as early as possible.

 

No. Can my energy supplier cut me off, only if you have not paid a bill after 28 days. Your supplier may contact you about the possibility of disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. It’s rare to be disconnected as your supplier will usually offer to install a prepayment meter instead.

Before supplier can disconnect your energy supply, your supplier must give you a chance to pay your debt through a payment plan. If you haven’t already, you should talk to your supplier about your repayment options.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus – if you’ve been told you’ll be disconnected
At the moment, your energy supplier won’t disconnect your gas or electricity if you miss a payment. Contact the consumer helpline if your supplier says they’ll disconnect you.

If you’ve got a prepayment meter and you don’t top it up, your energy supply might still stop. Check what you can do if you can’t top up your meter.

If you haven’t paid a bill after 28 days, your supplier may contact you about the possibility of disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. It’s rare to be disconnected as your supplier will usually offer to install a prepayment meter instead.

Before they disconnect you, your supplier must give you a chance to pay your debt through a payment plan. If you haven’t already, you should talk to your supplier about your repayment options.

Further information 1

Who shouldn’t be disconnected

Suppliers aren’t allowed to disconnect you between 1 October and 31 March if you’re:

a pensioner living alone
a pensioner living with children under five

The 6 largest suppliers have signed up to an agreement to make sure you won’t be disconnected at any time of year if you have:

a disability
long-term health problems
severe financial problems
young children living at home

These suppliers are British Gas, EDF Energy, npower, E.on, Scottish Power and SSE.

Other suppliers should also take your situation into account, but they’re not obliged to. In this case “Can my energy supplier cut me off” Yes. Find another utility supplier.

If you’ve been threatened with being disconnected but think you shouldn’t be, contact your supplier and let them know. They should visit your home to check on your situation before they do anything. You can make a complaint if they decide to go ahead and disconnect you.

Further information 2

The disconnection process

If you don’t come to an agreement with your supplier to pay off your debt, they can apply to a court for a warrant to enter your home to disconnect your supply. Your supplier must send a notice telling you they’re applying to the court.

Before the hearing takes place, contact your supplier and try and come to an agreement to pay off your debt.

If you haven’t contacted your supplier, there’ll be a court hearing which you should attend. You can still come to an arrangement with your supplier to pay off your debt at this stage. You can take along a friend for support.

If the court grants a warrant, your supplier will be able to disconnect your supply. They must give you 7 days notice in writing before they do. In practice, it’s rare for suppliers to disconnect customers. They’re more likely to fit a prepayment meter in your home.

Your supplier won’t need a warrant to disconnect a meter on the outside of your property (as the warrant is to enter your property), but most suppliers will still get one.

If you have a ‘smart meter’

If you have a smart energy meter in your home, your supplier could potentially disconnect your supply remotely without needing to access to your meter. However, before they do this, they must have:

contacted you to discuss options for repaying your debt, eg through a repayment plan
visited your home to assess your personal situation and whether this would affect you being disconnected, eg if you’re disabled or elderly

If they don’t do this and they try and disconnect you, make a complaint to your supplier.

Getting reconnected

If your supply has been disconnected, contact your supplier to arrange reconnection.

You will need to arrange to pay your debt, the reconnection fee and administrative costs. The amount you’ll be charged depends on your supplier, but it must be reasonable. If you think the charges are too high, get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

You may have to pay your supplier a security deposit as a condition of giving you a supply. You can’t be asked for a security deposit if you have a prepayment meter installed.

If you’ve paid all the charges your supplier must reconnect you within 24 hours – or within 24 hours of the start of the next working day if you make payment out of working hours.

If you can’t pay all the charges at once, you can ask your supplier if they’re willing to agree a repayment plan with you. If they do agree then they should reconnect you within 24 hours.

If the supplier doesn’t reconnect you within 24 hours they have to pay you £30 compensation. They must do this within 10 working days. They’ll usually credit your account, but you can ask them to pay you by cheque or bank transfer. If they don’t pay on time they have to pay you an extra £30 for the delay.

If you’re disconnected because your energy supply is interrupted, you might be able to claim compensation.

Further information 3

Energy supply disconnection and prepayment meter rules

At one time or another many people experience difficulties paying their bills. If you get into debt with your gas or electricity supplier it’s very important to tackle the problem.

If you let your energy bills build up, there is a risk of eventually being disconnected – which means having your energy cut off – by your supplier. Here we explain the rules, what should happen if you are disconnected and the help available to you to get reconnected.

Debt and prepayment meters

If you don’t engage with your supplier on a debt and 28 days pass, they can contact you about the possibility of disconnecting your energy supply.

Your supplier must give you the chance to repay the money you owe through a payment plan before they disconnect you. The plan must factor in your financial circumstances and ability to pay. Debts can be repaid over a number of months as you also continue to pay for your ongoing energy use.

It’s rare that customers are disconnected. Usually your supplier will ask to fit a prepayment meter, also referred to as a ‘key card’ or ‘token’ meter, in your home. They work in a similar way to a pay-as-you-go phone. You don’t have to have one if you don’t want one. Ask your supplier about your options. Find out more in Understand your energy meter.

If you don’t engage with your supplier to agree how to resolve the debt, or fail to stick to an agreed payment plan, they can also install a prepayment meter under a warrant to recover the money you owe. They can only do this as a last resort and must send you a notice telling you they’re applying to the court.

Who can’t be disconnected?

If you are threatened with disconnection there are strict rules on who can or can’t be disconnected.

If you’re eligible for the Priority Services Register

Suppliers are prohibited from disconnecting a premises occupied by a customer eligible for the Priority Services Register during the winter months (1 October – 31 March). You’re eligible for the Priority Services Register if you:

are of pensionable age
are disabled or chronically sick
have a long-term medical condition
have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
are in a vulnerable situation.

If you’re a ‘Safety Net’ vulnerable consumer

Many suppliers have also signed up to a Safety Net, a pledge to never knowingly disconnect a vulnerable customer at any time of year.

This offers further protection for vulnerable customers. In this instance, vulnerable customers may be customers who are unable to safeguard their personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of the household due to:

age (such as younger people at home)
health
disability
severe financial insecurity.

If you’re bankrupt or you owe debts to a former energy supplier

You cannot be disconnected if:

your debt is owed to a previous supplier
you have been made bankrupt and the debt relates to a period before you went bankrupt
the debt is not for the gas or electricity you have used but for some other service or appliance you have bought from your supplier.

If you think you shouldn’t be disconnected, contact your supplier and tell them. If you aren’t happy with their response, follow their complaints process and make a complaint.

Get help to repay a debt and avoid disconnection

Specific help is available if you have either been threatened with disconnection or who have actually been disconnected:

Further support can also be found in our section on Who to contact if it’s difficult paying energy bills.

Fuel Direct

It may be also possible to repay an energy debt through a scheme called Fuel Direct. You are eligible for this scheme if you get:

income support
job seeker’s allowance
pension credits
employment and support allowance.

Through Fuel Direct, a fixed sum will be automatically deducted every week from your benefits and paid directly to your energy supplier. This will cover your current fuel use and also pay off a certain amount of your debt.

Find out more on GOV.UK: Help paying bills using your benefits (opens another website)

Reconnection

To get reconnected after a disconnection, contact your supplier. There may be costs and charges involved. Your supplier will explain them.

If you experience temporary disconnection because of a power cut, Dial 105, You might be able to claim compensation from your network operator under the Guaranteed Standards.

See Power cuts: Help and compensation under the Guaranteed Standards.

https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/electricity-transmission/safety-and-emergencies/power-cuts

https://www.westernpower.co.uk/power-cut-information/how-to-report-a-power-cut

https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/map

https://www.westernpower.co.uk/power-cut-information/report-a-power-cut/

https://www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts/report-a-power-cut

https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut

Consumer protections

Ofgem is working to deliver changes to protect consumers from experiencing more debt or hardship due to prepayment meter warrant installations. Under current rules, suppliers can charge warrant costs back to you. The charges, which can include court costs, can range between £200 to £900. We’re consulting on plans to place a firm cap at £100 or £150 on warrant charges for all customers.

We’re also proposing to ban warrant charges altogether, and in some cases installations, for the most vulnerable customers. This includes people in financial hardship, and people with physical and mental health issues and learning difficulties.

Remember, if you are threatened with disconnection it is important to act quickly and try and reach a financial arrangement that is acceptable to both you and your supplier.

Further information 4

Contact Energy4 today, click here

DO NOT take tariff information from only one supplier, It may the best tariff that your current supplier can offer, but not necessarily the best on the market to meet your needs

Never discuss your tariff with only one supplier. Energy4 on your behalf, can check ALL suppliers for the best deals

The truth is that many suppliers have provide incorrect information to customers, this can be found via Ofgem

Energy4 provides a trouble free quote, helpful, independent service to check your supplies, providing expert help you can trust

Energy suppliers are demanding large payments for back dated usage, can Energy4 help?

Yes, we can and we are very experienced in analysing and managing this type of situation, often to a favorable resolution for our clients

Sometimes energy suppliers make mistakes and we are experts at identifying any errors to provide you with independent checks. We can confirm if the demand is valid, and if so, assist in negotiating appropriate terms to settle the outstanding amount

It’s much easier to begin negotiations to a successful outcome earlier in the process so it’s best to contact us as soon as you’re aware of any issue

Yes.  Energy4 can help with this. Depending on how far the process has progressed we might be able to intervene.  We will investigate to see if all the correct procedures have been followed. Energy supplier will have applied to the Magistrate’s Court to have your meter disconnected.
To help prevent progression to a court summons make sure you contact us at: contact@energy4.co.uk
If you receive any demand from your energy supplier, the quicker we can assess the situation the easier it is to be able to start negotiations where appropriate.

A Meter Operator agreement or (MOP contract) is a legal requirement for all half hourly electricity supplied meters. This contract covers the supply of the meter, maintenance and the necessary telecommunications for sending your consumption data to your energy supplier.

The Meter Operator agreement or (MOP contract) is either;

Included into the utility contract – As part of the Utility bill that the customer pays (included into the price of the unit and standing charge). This Included MOP contract only exists for the length of the utility contract.

OR

Separate MOP contract from the utility bill as a MOP service provider contract – There are multiple MOP providers in area region who compete to provide these services.

However they request customers sign up to 18 month, 30 month, etc., waht is called an unneccesary over-run contract, that well exceed the utiltiy contract. This is to benefit the MOP provider because this forces the business owner to sign another 18 month contract later down the line.

If the Business customer signs a contract where the MOP is included, they still have to pay for the external MOP provider, they will simply be told not to collect data. The main output of the data being collected is to allow the Electrical grid and providers to identify the usage of the electrical infrastructure and if the Grid can supply and local Transformers can deliver. Over capacity can damage electrical lines, infrastructure, damage transformers, and cause “black-outs”.

You do NOT have to be forced to go with a specific MOP service provider, there are multiple companies in each area. Strongly advise that you ask Energy4 to locate all the local MOP providers, and provide a list of each of there services, and there annual costs.

The supplier you are with cannot dictate terms of your MOP provider if they are not helping to facilitate the MOP service.

Utility providers are currently doing this which is illegal under the Consumer act as it is causing a monolopy of services in areas.

Where MOP came from?

As part of the UK de-regulated energy market you now have the right to appoint your own meter operator as apposed to letting your current energy supplier appoint there preferred supplier as the cost is often hidden in a suppliers standing charge.

The subject of metering is often confusing for customers since privatisation, particularly since the meter operator contract is no longer part of the supply agreement.

Many customers are unaware of required legislation such as the statutory requirement that sites with a maximum demand in excess of 100kW should have half-hourly metering installed as standard, and are unsure of who to contact.

The process of managing the relationship between the Supplier, Meter Operator and Local Distributor is often a minefield, and is an area where many customers choose to outsource.

If you are unsure if you have a MOP agreement in place for your half hourly site please call Energy4 on 01642 888814.

Any supply from renewable sources is automatically exempt from CCL, as is domestic or charitable non-business use.  If your organisation is defined as an energy intensive user or a horticulture user, your supply may qualify for partial exemption.

Can I change my energy provider, Yes. All businesses are free to change utiltiy provider that operates within the UK based on locality, credit history, and capacity. Specific Green Energy suppliers and Local CHP suppliers can only supply to local customers

However, business customers must:

  • Provide your business address
    – The current name of your supplier
    – Annual Consumption (kW)
    – Business registration (Private Limited, Sole-trader, PLC, etc.,)
  • Complete Letter Of Authority (LOA)
  • Contract End Date (CED)
  • Termination notice period
  • Energy quote from Energy4
  • Switch energy supplier or renew present supplier / change utility provider
  • Energy contract submitted
  • Energy contract processed
  • Previous energy supplier can reject transfer
  • New energy supplier can reject contract
  • Confirm switch of energy supplier

Contact Energy4 today, click here

Further information 1

Further information 2

Ofgem establishes road map to make switching easier for consumers

A fast and reliable switching process can encourage
consumers to engage in the energy market, and make
companies work harder to meet their needs.
We have reviewed the switching process and identified changes
that could deliver fast, potentially next day, transfers and improve
the reliability of the process for consumers. We will consult in
March on longer term changes that build on smart metering.
However, we believe that improvements must start now.
Ofgem is therefore proposing to tighten up the current
rules to secure a reliable three-week switch (after any
cooling off arrangements)1 while reforms are being
developed.
Government has recently asked the industry to see what
changes could be made in the short term to speed up the
switching process. We welcome the focus that government
is bringing to this area. We will provide support to
industry’s response and are challenging them to deliver as
soon as possible.

Current rules on switching

Over 5 million switches took place in the last year. When
a consumer decides to switch supplier, they should
have confidence that the switch will be fast, reliable and
straightforward.
New rules brought in across Europe, require that a switch should
take three weeks at most (after any cooling off period that the
consumer may have). Our figures show that only eight out of
ten domestic switches in Great Britain hit this target in electricity
and that this drops to less than two in ten for the gas market.
Changes to the systems that support gas switching, approved by
Ofgem and implemented last month, should enable a significant
improvement to performance in gas. However, it is clear that
greater focus is needed by suppliers if the target is to be met for
all switches. We will continue to monitor how suppliers perform
against this standard.

About our review

Between May and October this year, Ofgem led a detailed
review of the end-to-end switching process with consumer
bodies, government and industry. Many of these arrangements
have been in place since competition started in the late 90’s
and need to be updated to take advantage of new technology
and the roll out of smart meters.

Through our review we identified changes that can be
implemented in the short term to improve speed and reliability.
This review has also informed the more ambitious proposals,
that we will consult on next year, to deliver reliable and fast, eg
next day, transfers. We have now published a detailed summary
of our review.

What consumers told us

We conducted qualitative research with both domestic and
business consumers about their experiences and what they
want from a new change of supplier process.
Overall, domestic consumers said that they were most
concerned about the earlier stages of the switching process,
such as choosing the best deal for them. When asked to
think about the change of supplier process, consumers said
they wanted a reliable and accurate transfer and for it to be as
efficient and streamlined as possible.
For some business consumers, a faster switch was felt to have
benefits. However, their primary concern was for the transfer
to be reliable and hassle-free. A number of businesses raised
concerns about the objections process – where a supplier can
block the switch in certain circumstances.

Securing improvements for consumers now

Our consumer research shows that reliability is currently
the number one priority for consumers. We have identified
changes that should be made now to secure a reliable three
week switch for consumers while industry drives forward work
to make switching faster.
We are now:
• Consulting on tougher rules, to be implemented as
soon as possible next year, that would require suppliers
to switch all consumers within three weeks (after any
cooling off period)
• Consulting on tougher rules to make sure companies
transfer the right consumer or face penalties if they do not
• Looking to put certain practices under the microscope by
stepping up our monitoring, including supplier behaviour
in blocking a switch in certain circumstances.
It is vital that consumers can have confidence in the transfer
process and we want industry to communicate clearly what
should happen when a consumer decides to switch. Energy
UK, the trade association that includes the large domestic
energy suppliers, shares our ambition to introduce a switching
guarantee for consumers and will consider this in line with
the improvements that suppliers are currently developing to
achieve faster switching. Energy UK has also agreed to review
its current billing code of practice to ensure that it meets
consumers’ needs when they switch supplier.

Supporting the industry’s work to speed up the
switching process in the short term

Through our ongoing retail market reforms, Ofgem is
introducing new rules to make the market simpler, clearer and
fairer, so that consumers can identify the best deal for them.
Suppliers need to go further to rebuild consumers’ trust by
introducing changes that improve both the reliability and
speed of the transfer process.
In response to the government’s push for faster switching,
suppliers are assessing the output of our review of the
switching process to identify changes that allow consumers
to switch more quickly than today. We are working with
industry on this initiative to ensure that it delivers the right
outcome for consumers. We are challenging the industry to
deliver a faster switching process as quickly as possible.

Longer term improvements to the switching process

ur review suggests that, by building on the roll-out of smart metering, we can go even further on switching timescales
so that domestic and business consumers could move to their new supplier the next day, or even on the same day.
These changes, in particular introducing a new central switching service that brings together the existing services in gas
and electricity, could improve the reliability and efficiency of the transfer process for consumers and bring down costs.
This could also streamline the process for dual fuel consumers.
To support our analysis, we have asked industry for information on how much it will cost to make these changes and
what the wider benefits would be. We will consult on these reforms, with a full impact assessment of the costs and
benefits, in March 2014. We will then introduce any changes as early as possible.

On receipt of a customer’s signed contract, the energy supplier will normally write (at some point) to confirm details and enclose the T&Cs.  Sometimes this is known as the ‘Welcome Pack` or a letter.  At the same time, the new energy supplier will apply through an independent agency, to take over the supply.

The old energy supplier may object because of :
a) A debt on the account.
b) The customer is still in contract on the day the new energy supplier has applied to take over.
b) No TERMINATION NOTICE was received, received too early, or received too late.

On further checking, the date issue can normally be resolved, but an aged debt must be settled before the old energy supplier will release a customer. If timely TERMINATION NOTICE was not provided, then the old energy supplier is normally entitled to block the transfer.  We contact you 7 days before the transfer date to request a meter read. We also ask you to forward a copy of your final billing, which we reconcile with the first bill from your new supplier.  In our experience around 30% of transfers have meter related problems – so we carry on checking until we are satisfied.

In Energy4’s experience energy suppliers try to renew contracts at prices which are typically around 25-30% more than the market rate. This is why our services are so important to helping your business reduce costs where possible.  With renewals of existing contracts (verbal or written) there is no ‘cooling off’ period.  The contract is binding immediately on your confirmation with your energy supplier. Where Energy4 might be able to help is if your contract has been automatically renewed without your confirmation. Contact us for more details about how Energy4 can submit a Notice of Termination on your behalf.  This will ensure you’re not automatically renewed and become free to move to a different supplier

A court summons for a disputed utility bill, can be reviewed by Energy4. Depending on how far the process has progressed we might be able to intervene. We will assist to ensure all the correct procedures have been followed. Because the energy supplier will have applied to the Magistrate’s Court to have your meter disconnected.  To help prevent progression to a court summons make sure you contact Energy4.

If you receive any demand from your energy supplier, we can assess the situation.  But only if you contact us quickly in order to start negotiations where appropriate.

Smart meters use wireless signals to communicate with your supplier, which means you don’t have to ring in meter readings.  You will be able to see how much power you are using by the hour in pounds and pence on the meter’s small, computer-like screen.  There is no charge to have one fitted.  It shouldn’t take an engineer longer than an hour to install.  Officials claim they will help you to save money, as you’ll be more aware of how much energy different appliances use — and reduce your consumption.

These digital meters will also ensure you are only billed for the power you’ve used, putting an end to estimated bills.  Most big energy companies are writing to customers to offer them one of the new smart meters.  However, some are only offering them in certain areas of the country and many smaller firms are not yet fitting them, so you may have to wait.  As many as one in three households is also being told they can’t have a meter because it won’t work in their property.  For example, if the walls are too thick, or they live in a rural area with poor mobile phone signal.

One reader, who didn’t want to be named, reveals her elderly mother was bewildered when EDF Energy sent a letter saying it had booked an appointment for a smart meter to be fitted in her home, even though she hadn’t asked for one.  She says: ‘It’s misleading to just send out a letter with an appointment date and time. The wording suggested that all households had to have one.’

Andy Hookway, 57, a retired policeman from Plymouth, had a similar experience with EDF Energy.  He said: ‘I said I didn’t want a smart meter, but they ignored this and sent me an appointment.  I called to cancel and then, the day before, they sent me a text reminder, so I called again.  Yet the engineer still showed up. When I turned him away, he said this happened to him at least every other day.’ EDF has apologised to both customers for any inconvenience.

Marnee and Keith Pringle, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, say they were told by E.ON that their off-peak rate would end — causing their electricity bills to soar from £1,820 to £3,086 a year — unless they switched to a smart meter.  The letter they received read: ‘To stay on a tariff with cheaper off-peak rates you need a different meter, and we’ll install a smart meter for free.  The couple, who are both retired insurance brokers, already face high bills, as they live in an area with no gas supply.

Marnee, 69, says: ‘I feel like we’ve been backed into a corner.  We live in a cottage with thick walls and poor mobile phone signal, so what will happen if they can’t fit one? Are we still going to be charged the higher tariff?’ Greg and Nina Stevens, both 68, from Northamptonshire, received a similar letter from E.ON, telling them their off-peak tariff would end and their bills would rise ‘significantly’ unless they had a new meter fitted.

Smart meters automatically send readings to your provider over a wireless connection. It means the end of estimated bills.  When Money Mail intervened, E.ON admitted that neither the Pringles nor the Stevens had to have to have a smart meter fitted.  They could continue to get their off-peak tariffs if they had new analogue meters installed.  E.ON also apologised for the wording of its letter.

Allison Rogers, 54, a depot manager, also from Northamptonshire, says she is fed up with receiving texts from her supplier, Scottish Power. ‘I have had numerous texts telling me to contact them to arrange for a smart meter to be fitted,’ she says.  ‘They didn’t ask if I wanted one. They have now put a note on my file to say I don’t want one, but the lady I called said that I would eventually have to have one installed.’  Scottish Power has apologised for its actions.

Robert Mitchell, 81, a retired IT contractor from Birmingham, was called by Sainsbury’s Energy, part of British Gas, to say his meter was due for replacement, although it was just a few years old. ‘It wasn’t a question of whether or not I wanted one. It was like they were just letting me know I had to have one,’ he says.

Geoff and Jenny Payne, 68 and 65, from Kent, say: ‘We had a stream of emails and phone calls from British Gas. In the end, we became thoroughly sick of the matter and told them to stop contacting us.’  British Gas says: ‘If a customer tells us they do not want a smart meter, we stop sending them communications.’

A spokesman for EDF says that its approach of sending out smart meter appointments has been endorsed by the watchdog, Ofgem.  The spokesman added: ‘Customers are not obliged to accept the appointment and can rearrange or cancel by contacting us by phone or online.’  An E.ON spokesman says: ‘Smart meters offer a number of benefits for customers.

However, they are not compulsory and we’re reviewing our communications to ensure this is made clearer.’  Scottish Power’s exclamation mark symbol on its letters is ‘a standard prompt on customer communications to denote that action is required’.   An Ofgem spokeswoman says: ‘It is not compulsory to have a smart meter installed — consumers have a right to decline them and suppliers must not mislead them.’ (1)

(1) By Leah Milner For The Daily Mail  – Published: 22:01, 26 September 2017 | Updated: 11:34, 27 September 2017

Suppliers send out letters and texts to customers that fail to make it clear that smart meters are optional.  EDF Energy is texting customers:  ‘We need to upgrade your meter to a smart meter’. E.ON send out letters that state in bold, red type: ‘Reminder: your meter is being phased out’.  Scottish Power’s letters say ‘Action required’ next to a large, red exclamation mark.  Some E.ON customers have even been told they face losing their cheap deal if they refuse to have a new meter.  In 2017, the supplier said it would replace its expensive standard tariffs with rolling deals that cost up to £262 a year less, but only if customers get a smart meter first.

These meters automatically send readings to your provider over a wireless connection. It means the end of estimated bills, and customers will be able to see more clearly how much energy they use, helping them to r, educe their costs.  The UK Government ordered suppliers to offer optional smart meters to all households.  As many as one in five UK households says they do not want one. Some are concerned about how their personal data will be used. Others don’t want the hassle of waiting in for an engineer to call.  Many are reluctant, after learning, that most of the 7.36 million meters already installed will stop working if you switch to a different supplier.

Money Mail does understand that this problem will be fixed.  Without an engineer needing to visit a software update will be possible.  But no details have been confirmed so far. (1)

 (1) By Leah Milner For The Daily Mail  – Published: 22:01, 26 September 2017 | Updated: 11:34, 27 September 2017

Yes, Energy4 can help. Suppliers do not explain why this is occuriong. We are very experienced in analysing and managing this type of situation.  Often to a favourable resolution for our clients.  Sometimes energy suppliers make mistakes.  We are experts at identifying any errors to provide you with independent checks.  With assistance we can confirm if the demand is valid.  And then we assist with negotiating appropriate terms to settle the outstanding amount.  It’s much easier to begin negotiations to a successful outcome earlier in the process.  So it’s best to contact us as soon as you’re aware of any issue.

You maybe on a tariff with your supplier, however without evidence you will not know this is the best tariff that your current supplier can offer. Suppliers will not quote other suppliers. Prices may not necessarily the best on the market to meet your needs.  Why waste time checking with other suppliers when you can leave it all to Energy4, our expert help you can trust, with current energy market prices

Energy companies are using high-pressure tactics to push customers into having smart meters in their homes.  They schedule dates to fit them without being asked and threaten to take away cheap deals.  Suppliers have been ordered by the UK Government to offer smart meters to all households in Britain by 2020 deadline.  Or the suppliers will face fines.  Customers are not obliged to say ‘yes’ and can refuse to have one installed.

But Money Mail has been inundated with letters from readers who feel pressured into having one of the new meters.  They are  misled into thinking that they are compulsory.  Energy companies are using high-pressure tactics of hard selling to push customers into having optional smart meters in their homes

They tell us they have been bombarded with calls, texts and letters even after they have refused one.  At least one major firm is sending out letters saying they have made a smart meter installation appointment, despite the customer never requesting one.  Another says this is something they are trialling. If customers do not want a new meter, they have to call and cancel, or an engineer will just turn up. (1)

(1) By Leah Milner For The Daily Mail  – Published: 22:01, 26 September 2017 | Updated: 11:34, 27 September 2017

The great smart meter revolution has faltered and households can choose, once again, to opt out and keep hold of their old-fashioned utility meters which require manual reading.

When they were introduced in 2009, smart meters were supposed to simplify the billing process and ensure readings were up to date and accurate. But the roll-out has been plagued with problems – as explained below.

Now, according to research conducted by comparethemarket.com, one in five people do not want one.

The Government had originally said that every household would be set up with a smart meter by 2020 – and nearly seven million have been installed so far – but in June the Government subtly downgraded this requirement. Now every home will be “offered” a smart meter by 2020, with no obligation to take one.

The controversy around smart meters is more so because it is the Government’s job to set overall energy policy, not the job of suppliers, and the move away from carbon-based energy sources, the national roll-out of smart meters, and the expansion of renewables and nuclear power has cost consequences, with the consumer expected to pick up the tab.

Every household will, ultimately, pay for the new meter roll-out via their bills. As energy companies are quick to say, this is one reason why bills are rising.

But should you get one? These are six key considerations.

It is the Government’s job to set overall energy policy, not the job of suppliers Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

1) Smart meters could make it harder to switch gas and electricity providers

Early adopters of smart meters got a nasty shock when they later tried to switch energy provider.

Some of the “first generation” smart meters fitted in households are currently incompatible with a new national communications network – which is how your usage data is transmitted to the energy provider.

Meters not connected to this system “go dumb” when consumers switch suppliers, meaning their new smart meters are no better than the old-fashioned ones. Customers would have to submit readings manually as before – something which can actually be more difficult with a “smart-meter-turned-dumb” than an old-fashioned meter.

The Government and Smart Energy GB, the body tasked with promoting the rollout of smart meters, insist the original meters will eventually connect with the network. However, insiders at some of the large energy companies have said they may need to be replaced. (1)

2) Smart meters don’t bring an end to estimated bills (or billing errors)

For many homeowners, who believed they would gain even more control over their bills, the introduction of a smart meter has been a disappointment.

The majority of energy providers encourage customers to pay via annual payment plans, where their yearly usage is estimated in advance and the cost split into 12 payments. This means that millions of bills still refer to “estimated” use, even where customers have smart meters.

It also means that many customers are, as before, have credits on their accounts of hundreds of pounds.

Errors with meters also mean that wrong information is being sent and acted upon by suppliers.

Angela Forman, who lives in East Sussex, agreed to have a smart meter installed after being told it would remove the need to send monthly meter readings. She had been on an Economy 7 tariff, which takes separate readings in day and night, when energy demand and cost is lower.

However when she received her first bill under the smart system it was for £114, much higher than her usual £94. Her meter had a fault and was sending her energy company an estimated reading, actively costing her money.

And horror stories have swamped social media of customers being billed tens of thousands of pounds incorrectly.

Mark Umpleby tweeted SSE with a photo that said he had used £33,183 of gas in one day – 2,765,175 per cent over budget. Another customer, Usman Hussain, tweeted a picture of his meter saying he would be charged nearly £9,600 for his day’s electricity and gas. (1)

3) Smart meters won’t work if you have a poor signal in your area

The successful operation of smart meters can also be a postcode lottery. Live in an area with poor mobile signal? There’s a chance your smart meter won’t work.

This was the issue for Mrs Forman. The mobile reception was not good enough, which forced her smart meter to revert to “dumb mode” and send estimated readings.

Another reader, Suzanne Harvey, had a smart meter installed in 2014 and was told by the engineer who fitted it that the poor reception might create difficulties. This proved to be the case and she failed to receive a bill for almost a year.

Smart Energy GB expects the rollout of the national network to make the meters independent of mobile coverage – effectively fixing this problem. (1)

4) The display units linked to smart meters are crude and difficult to understand

Many have complained that the “smart interface” of their meter – the device which sits inside the house and displays data about usage and cost – is difficult to understand.

The hope is that mobile apps will be developed which are more user-friendly.

Ovo, one of the newer providers and an advocate of smart meters, has an app which shows usage and readings updated by week. It also shows any current balance as well as usage and cost over recent months.

References:

(1) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/six-reasons-say-no-smart-meter/

There is nothing Smart about this meter, the term was taken from Smart Grid, an idea for a system to be intergrated into every consumer unit and switch gear across the UK, deactivating unrequired usage during power-grid failures, etc.,

From articles written by povert charites, and the Rowntrees foundation, this is just another attempt to cut of those in abject poverty who do not have the finances to pay. It is simply a ‘Poverty’ meter, to get around the old welfare laws that can protect the sick, homeless, destitute, and those in poverty in line with the Department of Work and Pensions.

Smart meters use wireless signals to communicate with your supplier, which means you don’t have to ring in meter readings or use the internet

“…Officials claim they will help you to save money, as you’ll be more aware of how much energy different appliances use — and reduce your consumption…” (1)

“…These digital meters will also ensure you are only billed for the power you’ve used, putting an end to estimated bills. Most big energy companies are writing to customers to offer them one of the new smart meters. However, some are only offering them in certain areas of the country and many smaller firms are not yet fitting them, so you may have to wait. As many as one in three households is also being told they can’t have a meter because it won’t work in their property — for example, if the walls are too thick, or they live in a rural area with poor mobile phone signal…”(1)

 

References

(1) https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4922822/Power-giants-tricking-getting-smart-meters.html

What charges can be imposed by the installers, and are charges meant to be taken on by the utility provider, not directly charged to customers?

“…For domestic customers, there must be no up-front charge for a smart meter installation. As is currently the case with traditional meters, part of consumers’ bills will be made up of the costs associated with providing and maintaining meters…”

“…For non-domestic customers, as for traditional metering, energy suppliers can make their own decisions about how they charge customers for metering services and different suppliers take different approaches. Customers should engage with their supplier to discuss any possible installation charges, and could also consider switching to another supplier, or approaching a third party meter supplier…”

Can suppliers charge extra charges when customers (shop owners) refuse the new Smart meters and want to keep the original meters? We have been notified that this is £25 per month!

“…Whilst we believe all consumers will benefit from having a smart meter, they aren’t compulsory, and you can choose not to have one…”

Currently suppliers are outright lying to customers by email, telephone, and foot-in-the-door hard sells. Smart meters are not compulsory. Report any criminality you come across to trading standards and OfGem immediately: Smartmetering@ofgem.gov.uk

“…However, suppliers are permitted to offer tariffs at different prices to different meter types, and are permitted to apply entry criteria to a tariff, such as having a smart meter…

Currently there is no evidence provided by industry of such special tariffs, which are infact in contradiction with the Consumer Act

“…Choosing not to have a smart meter installed may mean you don’t have access to all the available tariffs on the market, some of which could be cheaper…”

Currently speculation at present, no documentation has been submitted by industry to concur these comments.

Can the “Smart meter” charges placed on Customers be justified, specifically extra charges for using the Smart meter, and who owns the Smart meter technology, its cost, and justification?

“…The Government (BEIS) own the smart metering policy framework, and have published a cost-benefit analysis…”.  This analysis however does not account for inflation, index rating, and currency valuation changes.  There is nothing Smart about this meter, the term was taken from Smart Grid, an idea for a system to be integrated into every consumer unit.  This also included switch gear across the UK, deactivating unrequired usage during power-grid failures, etc.

“…Suppliers are expected to pass both costs and savings of the rollout through to their customers which, over time, should result in net savings…’.  Research shows no evidence of any requirement of suppliers to pass anything on to customers accept there attempt to offload the installation costs.

‘… In addition, the information provided by smart meters should help customers to better manage their energy use and reduce their energy consumption and costs…’.  This information has no relevance, and is directly linked to information from the Carbon Trust.  Industries can improve efficiencies on there process line, insulation, and smart lights can be added.  However, proper site maintenance and upgrading equipment helps to keep costs down.

‘…Energy suppliers are responsible for purchasing and installing smart meters for their customers. Individual energy suppliers procure their own smart meters from a number of different manufacturers, and they must meet technical specifications that are set out in regulation…’.  Currently OfGem has no standing on suppliers offloading installation costs to customers.  It appears they are following the route of less resistance with completing government policy, not the resulting fall-out.  This stance will only change if the Federation of Small Businesses, and other groups lobby government for legislative change.

My business energy supplier / energy broker wants me to agree a verbal contract over the phone. What should I do? We strongly advise NEVER to confirm anything verbally over the phone with any supplier / energy broker. In our experience this only benefits the supplier and often means an in-depth process has not been fully completed to support your business

Never agree a verbal contract over the telephone. Ask for prices and the contract to be sned to your email or posted to your business address. Suppliers and brokers are still trying to add extra consultnat fees. You can have confidence that Energy4 will always provide you with all the options, advice and recommendations to make an informed and systematic decision.  This is based on energy market data and real facts to help you identify false information sold by the energy market.

With our buying power and knowledge, depending on the number of suppliers you use and the size of your business, the process of analysing, reviewing and negotiating to make sure you are on the best tariff can be very time consuming.  By using our services you avoid the stress but benefit from the good results.  Our skills and experience provides us with the ability to strategically analyse your invoices and usage, and then find the best solutions to help you reduce costs.  We have expert negotiating skills for obtaining any rebates due to you for backdating incorrect tariffs and we do all this on your behalf, leaving you to concentrate on running your business.

NO. You will not be disconnected. Energy4 can help log your Notice of Termination with your Energy supplier at the right time.

NO. Terminating utility services does not mean your electricity or gas will be disconnected.

Terminating utility services is what occurs during the process of moving supplier. The business owner once signing and agreeing to a new contract with a new supplier must notify there present supplier following the 30 days+ notice period. This is refered to as Terminating.

Utility serrvices can also be disconnected or diverted.

Disconnected occurs if the site has gone or the meter has been removed.

Diverted occurs if the site has changed and the incomer is being extended or moved to another part of the site.

Energy4 can help log your Notice of Termination with your Energy supplier at the right time.

Contact Energy4 today, click here

Further information 1

It is the term used by the energy industry to describe giving notice that you do not want to be automatically renewed at the end of your current contract.  Normally they ask this to be done by writing or email.

If you are unsure of your contract status, you can find out from your supplier by asking them to check your end date, or you could instruct us to do so on your behalf with a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA).

If you are unsure of your contract status, you can find out from your supplier by asking them to check your end date.  Or you could instruct us to do so on your behalf with a single LETTER OF AUTHORITY (LOA).

Most of the energy suppliers require a minimum credit rating for your business therefore, with a good credit score you have the best chance of getting the best prices. Some of the other variables that determine the eligibility for cheaper energy prices include:

Most of the energy suppliers require a minimum credit rating for your business therefore, with a good credit score you have the best chance of getting the best prices.

Some of the other variables that determine the eligibility for cheaper energy prices include:

1) Type of business are sole trader, limited company etc, what sector, such as manufacturing, retail etc.

2) Post code.

3) Direct debit payment terms are the best way to pay and this also shows the supplier you will pay on time.

4) Your meter profile is the first two digits on your meter reference number, the range is between 00 and 08, this classification is related to your consumption as small business has an average 03/04 profile.

5) Your annual consumption as SME is averages about 20,000 kWh annually.

The RO came into effect in 2002 in England and Wales, and Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland in 2005…

The RO came into effect in 2002 in England and Wales, and Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland in 2005. It places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources.

KVA which stands for kilo Volt Amps, is used to refer to the measure of power in a transformer. It is as a result of the product of voltage and power.

kVA stands for kilo volt-ampere, this is used to refer to the measure of power in a transformer. It is as a result of the product of voltage and power. The kilo Volt Amps is mainly used for the purpose of showing the output capacity in a generator.

Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies.

Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including:

  • solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or stand alone)
  • wind turbines (building mounted or free standing)
  • hydroelectricity
  • anaerobic digesters
  • micro combined heat and power (CHP)

The UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) makes the key decisions on FITs in terms of government policy. The energy regulator Ofgem administers the scheme

Your MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) is the unique identifying number of the Gas meter at your property.  It is usually a 6 to 10 digit number, sometimes referred to as an “M” number.  It can be found on your gas bill (generally on the back of the bill).

Your MPAN is the unique identifying number of the Electricity meter at your property. Meter Point Administration Number, also known as MPAN, Supply Number or S-Number, is a 21-digit reference.

Energy4 offer a number of suppliers, who will accept contracts signed. We use a well established verbal system as well as written contracts which are legally binding.

Energy suppliers take credit issues very seriously with their customers. There are number of solutions that Energy4 can look at and see what Energy4 can do to help you move to another supplier.

Yes, In our experience energy suppliers try to renew contracts at prices which are typically around 25-30% more than the market rate. This is why our services are so important to helping your business reduce costs where possible

With renewals of existing contracts (verbal or written) there is no ‘cooling off’ period and the contract is binding immediately on your confirmation with your energy supplier. Where we might be able to help is if your contract has been automatically renewed without your confirmation. Contact us for more details about how we can submit a Notice of Termination on your behalf to ensure you’re not automatically renewed and become free to move to a different supplier

A business energy contract is a legal agreement between two or more parties. A rollover contract is signed at the beginning of your business energy contract and should be read carefully before signing. It details what happens if you don’t renew your contract in the renewal period. A rollover contract gives you information on how to notify for cancellation or non-renewal

Be aware of the renewal letter window period for termination (For example: “if you wish to terminate your electricity or gas contract you must contact us in writing no sooner than 120 days and no later than 90 days before the anniversary of the contract signing date”)

If you opt out during the renewal period no charges are applied. If notice is not given for cancellation, you will be automatically signed up for another year or agreed duration. The Renewal Letter will also state when you will need to tell you current supplier you wish to leave them

Unlike other cost reduction companies, Energy4 is registered and regulated by 27 utility suppliers. We are able to identify from the sheer number of tariffs the most competitive for your business

We work diligently and ethically on your behalf taking out all the stresses and wasted resources from your business

Because our background is in Cost Reduction Analysis we validate everything in your energy account you can be assured that we have looked very closely

NO. Can my energy supplier stop my switching? Ofgem is clamping down on suppliers that have been blocking services that automatically switch customers to cheaper energy deals with rival companies.

Bulb, First Utility, and OneSelect have all been found guilty of blocking switches made through automatic switching services, such as Flipper and Switchd. No fines have been dished out, as yet, but the energy regulator has ordered these suppliers to stop.

Can my energy supplier stop my switching, if the following occurs;

Switching energy supplier is surprisingly simple, and once you’ve agreed a new deal, you should be with your new supplier in just 17 days, which includes a 14-day cooling-off period.

But there are some instances when you’re current supplier can legitimately block your move to a new one, and you might be stopped if:

You owe your supplier money

If you have an outstanding energy debt with your current supplier, and the money has been owed 28 days or more, then your move can be blocked until this debt has been paid. Suppliers could insist on installing the currently unreliable and complaints covered Smart Meter and Prepayment Meter.

If you have a prepayment meter installed, you can switch supplier unless you owe more than £500 for gas or £500 for electricity. When you switch, you’ll need to ask the new supplier to agree to transfer your debt along with your supply (this is called the ‘Debt Assignment Protocol’).

If you’ve owed money for less than 28 days, you can still switch supplier, but be aware that the debt will be added onto your final bill.

If you decide to switch because your supplier is putting up its prices, you’ll have 30 days to pay off the debt before they can block your switch.

And if the debt has built up because of a mistake by your supplier, such as a billing error, you can still switch and the debt will be added onto your final bill.

If you already have a prepayment meter installed, you can switch supplier unless you owe more than £500 for gas or £500 for electricity. When you switch, you’ll need to ask the new supplier to agree to transfer your debt along with your supply (this is called the ‘Debt Assignment Protocol’).

You’re on an unsupported meter

If you’re on a prepayment meter, or have a Economy 7 or 10 meter installed, you might not be able to switch if the new supplier or tariff doesn’t support those types of meter, else have standard meter installed, which your new supplier might charge you for.

You live in rented property

If you live in rented or shared accommodation, you may not be able to switch without permission from the property owner or whoever’s name is on the bill. If you are responsible for paying the energy bills at the property, and the bills are in your name, then you have the right to choose your supplier.

What if your supplier is stopping you from switching?

If none of the above applies to you, and your supplier is blocking your switch even though you’re entitled to transfer to another supplier, you’ll need to make a complaint.

UKPower customers haven’t encountered the problems that have beset some custoemrs using automatic switching services, but even though Ofgem is ironing out these issues, automatic switching has some additional problems.

What’s the problem with automatic switching?

Energy4 has helped many companies  switch to a better deal for over a decade now, and the process couldn’t be simpler. Contact energy4 today for a quote.

Enter a couple more details on your current energy deal and annual usage – if you don’t have this to hand, we can run a comparison based upon the size and type of property you live in – and we’ll show you a list of deals that could potentially knock hundreds off your annual energy bills.

You just then pick the deal that’s right for you, and we take care of the rest. It really is that simple.

Contact Energy4 today, click here

Energy4 do most of the work in regards to the switching process but you need to send a letter of termination to your existing supplier in order to avoid being rolled over by them

You need to find out what your suppliers rules are about termination as each supplier has their own T&C’s you signed up to

The easiest way to switch suppliers is to let us do the work and you sit back and look after your company

If you have recently moved into a property, then your electricity and gas suppliers will be the same as the previous tenants. It’s important you do this shortly after taking occupation of the property as your supplies might be on out of contract rates which are much higher than conventional business energy rates. Contact Energy4 now to see what we can do to help you

To qualify for VAT exemption the site has to be either:

  • •For domestic use
  • A building, or part of a building, which consists of a dwelling or number of dwellings
  • A building, or part of a building, used for a residential purpose
  • A home or other institution providing residential accommodation for children
  • A home or other institution providing residential accommodation with personal care for persons in need of personal care by reason of old age, disablement, past or present dependence on alcohol or drugs or past or present medical disorder
  • A hospice
  • A residential accommodation for students or school pupils
  • Residential accommodation for members of any of the armed forces
  • A monastery, nunnery or similar establishment
  • An institution which is the sole or main residence of at least 90% of its residents
  • Except use as a hospital, a prison or similar institution, a hotel, inn or similar establishment
  • Self catering holiday accommodation
  • A caravan
  • A houseboat
  • A charity otherwise than in the course of furtherance of a business
  • Where there is a supply of goods or services partly for domestic or charitable endeavours
  • If at least 60% of the goods or services qualify (meet the aforementioned criteria the whole shall be treated as meeting the criteria)

There are two more common types of contracts for businesses, 28 day rolling contracts and the Deemed Rates contracts

Half hourly meters are for those companies that are energy intensive and their average peak for electricity demand is higher than 100kWh over a three month period for the year previous.

Two simple ways to check of you are a half hour customer:

– Half hourly meters have a communications link to the energy supplier which can be read remotely on a daily basis and the information is then sent back to them

– Check your energy bill, if you are on a half hourly meter you will see that your bill begins with double zero “00”

Our specialised team can arrange for the cheapest prices from suppliers especially those that cater for the half-hourly meter market

Businesses that don’t or have not done a comparison of energy prices since market deregulation in the 1990’s often find themselves locked in to a 28 day supply contract.  The prices for energy in these contracts often fluctuate up and down with the market situation and are rarely competitive.  We usually recommend that businesses switch to fixed term, or fixed rate contracts and have them for a minimum of one year sometimes with the same supplier fortunately as the name 28 day suggests a switch can happen anytime by giving 28 days notification of intention to switch which is good news for you

 

Deemed or also known as out of contract rates are considered the worst in the industry, often they apply to businesses that are new or that have terminated a contract and have not switched a supplier. However, like the 28 day contract, you also have 28 days notice period is required to switch to the cheapest electricity prices. At the moment the prices around about 45 pence/day Standing charge and 26.5 p/kWh Day Rate depending on the type of meter you have in the property

CCL will be shown separately on your bill, is subject to VAT and cannot be reclaimed from HMRC. The Climate Change Levy (CCL) was introduced in 2001 and is a government tax on businesses energy usage; this covers agriculture as well as the public sector.  The aim of the levy is to encourage commerce and industry as well as the public sector to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve one energy efficiency

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