I hope you received your email/letter from your electricity provider saying that the Government Energy Support Scheme was giving you £200 towards your alternative fuel costs, e.g. oil, firewood, bottled gas and lorry delivered gas, coal etc. The amount will be paid to your electricity provider and in our case British Gas. Good news so I thought and it will help towards my next oil delivery, (£800 in December for 900 litres).
And then I thought how will I get the cash. So I checked on the email from BG and I noted that it was going to be added to my British Gas Energy Account. So will they give me a refund to my bank account. No, fool, read the email again it will be credited to your energy account! So it will either add to the credit I have, or debit if British Gas computer system has incorrectly calculated my payments and I am falling behind, which can often be the case. Usually I am in credit. I would have checked that my current position using my BG App but unfortunately they are having technical issues! I will put an update at the end if I ever find out. Anyway the £200 will be credit to the balance of my account. What does that mean in real terms, well it is going to sit there. Now they say that they will review my energy usage every six months and if it does not match the direct debit amount they will reduce/increase my direct debit. Do they take account of my credit if I have one. Experience tells me no, but I am am sure they must do. I have moved home and built a credit of a few hundred of pounds because my DD did not match my energy usage and it took me some time to get a refund on that. So let me paint some scenarios.
The £200 will be credited to my account and let us say that my account is in debit, so it will pay towards that debit and hopefully their system will look at that reduced debit as well as my energy usage and it will reduce my direct debit accordingly. So eventually I will get the £200 because I will be paying a lower amount over a number of months, twelve I would venture to suggest, but I may be very wrong on the twelve month thing.
My account is in credit and the £200 will increase the credit and hopefully at the next six monthly review they will take account of this credit and reduce my direct debit accordingly and I will get the £200 by paying this reduced amount over a period see the above paragraph, twelve months?
And the third scenario, they will not take account of the reduce debit or credit and not reduce my direct debit to take this into account because they are only looking at my energy usage and using this to decide my new direct debit. This, unless they have changed their systems is probably the likely scenario, hence the hundreds of pounds credit when I last changed houses.
I have checked their website and it says “Your Direct Debit payment plan has been worked out based on the cost of your forecasted energy usage over a period of time, taking into consideration that you’ll likely use more energy in the colder months.” Nowhere does it say we will take into account any credit that you have built up.
It does say in another part under refunding your energy credit:
Over the course of the year, you may see an increase in credit on your account. This usually happens because you’re using less energy in the spring/summer. It’s a good idea to build up extra credit in time for winter.
NOTE: We’ll hold up to £75 credit on your account. We’ll only refund you if there’s £5 or more left over after we’ve put your £75 credit towards your bills next year. For example, if you are £77 in credit, all of this will go towards your bills.
So it looks like you can get a refund but they are still going to hold on to £75 against future bills and it looks as though you will need to apply. Having experience of their refunds department all I can say is good luck.
So what does this mean at the end of the day. Well that £200 is going to sit in an account of British Gas and are you not going to see that amount so you can use it for your next alternative fuel payment.
Is this really what the Government intended!
My logic may be ‘off the wall’ so I would be interested in comments on this. I have left the comments section of this blog open.
6 thoughts on “Hey Off Griders”
Our £200 was paid into our bank account by Scottish Power so ready to go to next oil delivery. Surely you could suspend your direct debit to BG until you are only a smaller amount in credit? You could advise BG what you are doing maybe ? Best of luck .
Having had a couple of interfaces with BG my hopes are not high. Fortunately I not desperate for the £200, but I am sure that many of their customers are and it is not going to happen. Hats off to Scottish Power, but I am band loyal and I really don’t know why!!!
Martin Lewis says companies obliged to refund you if you are in credit, just tell them you’ve suspended your direct debit until you have a realistic credit balance, it’s no good being loyal these days , insurance companies, broadband suppliers, energy supplies you just get shafted! Just stay loyal to your football team but guess that’s tough just now for you!
That is OK if you are in credit but if you are not the £200 will just go to that debit and you will be paying for your oil totally in cash out of your own pocket. Why are they not doing what Scottish Power have done, see previous comment, and pay it to your bank account. There are many scenarios and to those who have a credit balance with BG your comments are no doubt welcome. I am actually over £300 in credit, now that have sorted out their systems issue. I am going to see what happens if I do nothing as I am not desperate for the money at the moment. Should I phone BG. I look forward to that as much as I look forward to watching my team play live!!! Brand loyalty, I agree!!!
Thank for your comments.
If you are in debit , imo fair enough use the money to pay it off , what is the problem? It’s all going to your electricity/ heating .
Is that what the government intended? It should be going to the consumer immediately for alternative fuel not to sit in British Gas’s accounts earning them interest.