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Cheap at first but watch out for price increases
Member Name: arleek
Advantages: Good customer service, online bills
Disadvantages: Price increases
We decided to go for the dual fuel thing and pay by monthly direct debit, at least this way we knew exactly what we were going to be paying each month. They chose the payments first based on our situation (size & type of house, how many people living there etc), and after a few months they reduced the payments in accordance with what energy we had been using, which I thought was marvellous, and it turned out that they had reduced our gas to £11 a month, and electricity to £20 a month, which I thought was extremely cheap and I was really happy with this!! They also debited our account with money we had overpayed.
The customer service is excellent, they always explain things clearly when you ring with a query, and things get sorted out when you ask, unlike some other companies where problems just seem to continue. You can also manage your account online and view all your bills etc which I find extremely handy. We've also recently joined the 'Read Reduce Reward' scheme where they allow you to submit your meter readings online and if you manage to reduce your usage over a set period of time you are rewarded with nectar points.
They are very generous with nectar points, as other people have mentioned in their reviews, and I notched up 3000 in just over a year, which I thought was pretty good and now I use my points to buy books.
Anyway, recently things have changed. They have bumped their prices right up as you may have heard on the news, and I received a letter a few months back saying my gas account was in negative credit by £214 and the amount would be taken straight out of my bank account, and they were also putting the monthly payment up to £35 - that's an extra £24 a month! I was aware that we were in negative credit but I didn't know we would have to pay it back AND have our payments increased. I just presumed that they would take into account that summer was on it's way so therefore we wouldn't be using as much gas, and I thought they would just bump our payments up a little bit to compensate for under payments in the past! We are not the type of people to have £214 just laying around in bank accounts!! So I was very angry about this, and to top it off, I checked our gas usage over the previous year and we had only minimally increased our usage (due to having a baby and having the heating on more often), so it was obviously just their ridiculous price increases that had made us short, and not a giant increase in our gas usage. Why couldn't they have increased our payments in the first place if they knew the prices were going to go up? Then they did a similar thing with our electricity which is now £30 a month, so I really am considering switching, especially since it was on the news the other day that they are planning to increased they prices by another 22%.
And also, even though we've joined this 'Read Reduce Reward' scheme (about 6 months ago I think), they have never asked us for a meter reading, and keep basing our bills on estimated readings. Which I find quite infuriating actually, and I have tried to contact them about this but they just said that they were 'dealing with our request'
So I don't know whether to recommend them or not really. The customer service & communication is good, and the nectar points is an added bonus, but the way they went about changing our payments and making us pay back large amounts have just ruined it for me I think. And the price rises are also a big negative point too, but I suppose it must be the same with every gas & elec supplier. Is it?
Summary: Good overall but too many price increases
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