There’s been a lot in the news recently about energy companies and their charges for providing us with our power. Here is my small, slightly off-topic contribution to that debate.

At Ravendale House we received our electricity from NPower, so I was pleased to discover that they were also the providers at the new address. I’d been paying the bill by Direct Debit for years, only my address had changed, not my bank details, so the change should be pretty straightforward. Shouldn’t it?

I rang in plenty of time to notify our impending move and also on the day of moving to give them the final meter reading. I assumed that was that.

There followed numerous letters, some of which were about tariffs and completely unintelligible, and some arriving on the same day in separate envelopes, how wasteful is that? One of these letters along with the fact that the September Direct Debit hadn’t been taken, led me to believe all was not well and prompted me to make a further phone call.

This time I spoke to a very helpful young man who went into great detail about our estimated annual consumption at the new address, the revised amount of our Direct Debit (£41) and the date the first payment would be taken from my bank.

He also explained that the £11.63 we owed from Ravendale House would be taken as a ‘one-off’ payment with the first Direct Debit in October. Very plain, very clear, perfectly acceptable. For the second time in a few weeks I thought that was that.

Shortly after moving in the man came to read the meter and a few days after that we got our first bill. Two things were wrong here. One was that it was based upon an estimated reading, the second that they were requesting payment in full. What about my Direct Debit??!!

A further phone call was required.

After waiting for 20 minutes (fortunately a free-phone number) I finally got through to a young lady and explained the problem.

The first bit was straightforward, the meter reading had been received too late to catch the bill which was already in the process of being sent out. Fair enough. As regards my direct debit, I didn’t have one set up!

What! Why?

Because they didn’t hold my bank details!!

It seems they don’t transfer your bank details when they change your address. As to why the helpful young man didn’t address this issue? I got some convoluted tale about him not being able to input my details and had been forced to send my case to a special team, who it would appear had also failed to input my details and so hadn’t set up a Direct Debit with the same bank I have been using for over 30 years.

Did anyone bother to tell me? No. I got lots of other letters from them, but not about that.

I told her all the figures I had previously been given about estimated consumption, dates, Direct Debit amounts etc. and she assured me all was well and that I would receive confirmation of my new Direct Debit, (which would now start in November because it takes 19 days to set one up?!), in the post in the next few days.

Oh good, more letters from NPower, I could paper a room with the ones I’ve got already. Naively I once again thought that was that.

The next letter I received was a revised bill based upon the actual meter reading, a much more realistic figure of £35.46 for a few weeks consumption compared to the £3.89 of the previous, estimated bill. This time the letter did acknowledge that payment was to be by Direct Debit and so yet again I thought that was that. I must need my head looking at!!

A few days later I got the letter confirming the Direct Debit arrangements from November. Bearing in mind I had already been quoted a monthly figure of £41.00, owed them £35.46 for current consumption plus £11.63 for the old address and hadn’t paid them a penny for the last 2 months, guess how much the Direct Debit is to be?


Yes that’s it £10.00. I give up.
And I haven’t even touched on the hoops I have to jump through every time I ring up because the account is in Peter’s name. I’m his wife for goodness sake, put a note on your records. Anyone would think I was trying to hack into the National Grid or GCHQ!!

In the unlikely event that anyone from NPower reads this. GET A GRIP!!

Post Script

On the 10th of January, almost exactly 4 months after moving in, we got a letter from NPower saying they had reviewed our consumption. I braced myself for the new monthly figure, £50 wouldn’t have been out of the question.

Guess how much they want?


Yes, that’s it, still £10. This time I really do give up.