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I had high hopes, high apple pie in the sky hopes!
Member Name: Coxy1974
Date: 20/02/07, updated on 26/02/07 (733 review reads)
Advantages: Polite staff, were cheaper than the rest
Disadvantages: no longer cheaper and so much hassle
With rising fuel bills I was spending well over £800 a year to keep my house warm and cook etc. I decided that I needed a change of supplier to cut down the bill a little. After shopping around and consulting website USwitch I found that Powergen would be the cheapest.
Powergen were also advertising in my local Tesco so off down I went to meet up with the stand reps only to find that they had called it a day early. I was given a contact number of one of the reps by the customer services lady at Tesco so off I went to give him a call. He denied he worked for Powergen when he answered his phone but then a couple of days later left me a voicemail on my mobile to say he’d like to discuss me changing over to Powergen in more detail.
Later calls to the call centre confirmed that he was indeed employed by Powergen. I was a little bemused but as I wanted to change suppliers I pressed on by calling the number from their website.
The service I received was excellent. The customer service rep I spoke to was very helpful and went through the packages that they offered. She asked for yearly consumption or yearly bill, whichever is easier for you to supply to them. She then worked out how much Powergen could save me which turned out to be £300, more than USwitch had worked it out to be so I was really pleased.
The plan that I subscribed to was Dual Fuel with Direct Debit payments and dual billing. This means that for Electricity I pay 16.7 pence for each unit for the first so many units and then it drops to about 6 pence for all other units used. Gas is slightly lower but as I am writing this review at work during my lunch break I will come back and provide the price. I also receive a 9% discount for paying by direct debit.
I registered my clubcard for Tesco with them too which meant that I received 1 point for each £1 I paid to Powergen (well every little helps!) so that meant an extra 500 points a year.
It seemed to be going swimmingly and I supplied the meter reference numbers along with the electricity meter supplier number (if you’re unsure where these are the meter reference for the Gas meter is normally on the back of the bill and for electricity it is a supplier number that begins with S on the front of the bill) and the lady assured me that I was now signed up and I should receive a call from my previous supplier to provide readings for both meters and then receive final bills.
I duly received the call and sent through the readings, received and paid the final bills and also received the welcome letter from Powergen along with a letter confirming my Direct Debit payment of £50 per month to cover both the gas and electricity. The process was so easy. Too easy I found out later on.
I then received a letter from Powergen stating that there were problems taking over my gas supply. So I rang the call centre and spoke to someone where I gave the meter reference number again but she said that the meter was not present in my home.
To explain a little about my gas meter and my house.
If you have read my review on George Wimpey you would know about the ongoing problems that I have had. Well what happened was as with all new homes you are given a plot number and the development name. Mine was 21 The Maltings. I was then issued with a house number, 116, that was registered with the land registry and this is the address the meter was originally registered to. Then George Wimpey wrote to me informing me that they had secured some more land so they were building more houses between mine and 114. This meant that I had been allocated a new house number of 124. With the meter company house 116 had 2 meters registered for gas. I ended up registering my gas meter myself for house number 124.
Anyway back to the Powergen saga…..
The lady I spoke to then realised what had happened when I explained the above to her and she kindly sorted it all out for me and put the request through again for me to change suppliers. By this time I was beginning to wonder who was supplying my gas as I hadn’t received a bill from either my last supplier or Powergen. Yet when I wanted to cook my gas hob turned on so I was obviously getting it from somewhere. Yippee – free gas.
Several weeks passed and I received another welcome letter from Powergen and then a bill for electricity only. I’d been with them for 3 months and my account was £260 in credit. How, when I was paying £50 per month? The bill showed 3 payments of £104 to the account, less the bill amount and then the credit amount. How had this happened. So this time I rang and asked to speak to a manager because I was also wondering what was happening with the gas.
The manager I spoke to refunded my overpayments and adjusted the direct debit to £50 per month and said they’d sent out another letter. He then stated that my previous supplier had rejected the application to take over my gas supply because I was being sued by them for monies owing from my final bill. I stated that I was looking at the final bill with ‘Paid’ stamped on it from the bank. He asked me if I was sure it was the final bill. Hmmm – when a bill says ‘Final Bill’ on it you assume that is the final bill don’t you? Well I did and a call to Scottish Power confirmed that this was correct and that they were no longer my supplier of gas.
Is anyone becoming confused at this point because I damn well was. Another call to Powergen confirmed that they hadn’t yet taken over my supply but they would re-request and this time it all went through OK. ‘Finally’ I thought ‘Something seems to be going right’.
At this point I will stress that each time I rang the staff at Powergen were ultra polite and appeared to be efficient and resolved my query so at least the customer service staff and their managers know what they’re doing right? Wrong – a few months later I was served in Tesco’s by my friend and my card was declined. I checked with the bank, £500 overdrawn. I asked for a breakdown of transactions – Powergen had taken 2 payments of £500 that month.
I was livid. I couldn’t believe it. I rang them from work and spoke to one person, then another and another. None of them knew what had happened. I was offered excuse after excuse some of them being that the system had automatically reversed itself and another that it really hadn’t taken 2 payments and that my bank was showing incorrect records.
I was offered one solution by one person and when I rang back to confirm it I spoke to another person who offered an entirely different solution because the first person wasn’t available and couldn’t ring me back. I ended up with a refund of the overpayments and my bank charges refunded.
I thought everything was going swimmingly until the meter reader came the other week. He read the gas meter and then went. As I’m supposed to receive dual billing I thought it odd he didn’t read the electric meter (they are side by side outside the property) so out I went after him. He knew nothing about reading the electricity meter but tried to read it anyway from the bar code. Nothing – not registered with Powergen. He gave me a card with the reading on and said it wasn’t his problem as today was his last day, shrugged and walked off. At the time my mother was in hospital critically ill so I had no time to ring Powergen. I rang them the following Monday and was assured that there was no problem, my meter was still registered with them and I was still a customer with them.
4 days later a bill arrived, not for gas as you might think as the meter had just been read, but for electricity in November just before my meter was removed. I kid you not. They wanted to charge me £70 for 19 days electricity. I rang them and they said that my meter had been removed on the 29th November 2006. I told them it hadn’t but they insisted that they had the meter there. I took a picture and sent it in to them over the internet with my digital camera (a bit extreme I know but that was the only way I could get them to believe me it hadn’t been removed!) they then agreed that it hadn’t been removed.
I asked for a full explanation as to why it had happened in the first place and the lady assured me that she would get a manager to write to me. By now I wanted to move suppliers and wanted an apology. My mother was still in hospital, I was working full time, looking after my dad and trying to keep on top of the housework too. This was the last thing I needed, especially as I was due to be going away with work for a couple of days on top of everything else. My mother came home shortly afterwards but still required constant caring from my dad, myself and my sister who lives across the road from us.
Last Saturday I received a letter from Powergen. ‘Great, that didn’t take long to issue and apology and find out what happened’ I thought. How wrong was I – the cheeky so and so’s had taken the new reading for electric from the digital image I had sent and reissued a bill for nearly £200 and charged me double VAT for the privilege! Hopping mad I got on the phone and got the VAT refunded but that’s not the point. I expected so much and got nothing.
I’ve paid one gas bill in nearly 12 months but paid through the nose with regards to electricity not to mention having to make near on 100 phone calls to the call centre to sort out their mistakes, been embarrassed in front of friends when my card was declined in the supermarket and generally had so much stress over it that I just feel absolutely disgusted with the company.
The notes on my file must be so long. Whenever I ring these days they’ll put me on hold for at least 5 – 10 minutes whilst they bring themselves up to speed with what has happened on my account!!!
I've come back to update this review as I am extremely outraged now. I now have received a Gas Bill from Powergen, along with a new electricity bill and both of these are estimated readings! How when the Gas meter was read a few weeks ago???
I rang the call centre and spent the requisite 10 minutes that it takes them to read the notes on my file and then explained the reason for my call. Apparently they've not received any readings, have no record of my call the previous week to confirm I still have my electricity meter and still insist that I'm not a Powergen customer for my electricity!!! Oh and the bill is extortionate. £250 nearly so effectively now I owe them £141.24. I cannot say how badly I feel about this company - please do not ever touch them with a barge pole. I have written a major letter of complaint to them and copied in the regulator as I am sick of this. Maybe I should have written in and said that my boyfriend is a member of a gun club?!?!
Summary: I cannot wait until I get a new supplier