First Utility Blog - Most Recent Article
Thu, 11/04/2013 - 12:27
Fixed direct debits are designed to provide an element of predictability to our customers by spreading the cost of their energy usage across the year. It is based on an average of the predicted consumption across the year taking into account the impact of the weather – we expect the usage may be higher than you’re paying in the colder months and lower in the warmer months.
However, this has been the second coldest March in the UK in the last 100 years with average temperatures of just over two degrees. As a result, energy usage has been significantly above the seasonal average with 44% more gas and 10% more electricity consumed than we would expect for the time of the year. The increased consumption means that our direct debit calculations need to be adjusted as some customers on a fixed direct debit scheme may see their accounts run into debt as the usage outweighs their payment.
As a responsible supplier, we are offering our customers the choice to make up the shortfall in their bill with a one-off increase in their direct debit payment for March in their April bill. Should they choose not to, then we will reconcile their bill as part of our standard reassessment process.
We understand customers' concerns over the perception that prices continue to rise. However, this isn’t a price rise; it is a one off increase in the direct debit payment to reflect the increase in usage. Our tariffs have been amongst the most competitive on the market for some time and we remain dedicated to offering customers good value energy along with innovations such as My Energy and Smart Meters which aim to provide more insight into energy usage to help customers reduce their consumption.
We strive to be open and transparent to provide accurate billing and help our customers understand their bills; we hope this explanation helps.