Yesterday I decided to spend the morning sorting shit out. I started by going into town at 8:30 to pay a cheque in, take a skirt back to a shop and pick some trainers out that my Mum wants to buy me. I even started my Christmas shopping.
When I got back feeling on a roll I filled in council tax discount form and sorted through my post. Then I decided to call Swalec my gas provider, as I was sure I was being robbed.
I was paying £61 per month, I only use the gas for heating in the winter and hot water to wash up as I have an electric shower / cooker. In the summer I received a letter saying I was £180 in credit and I decided to do nothing about it as you are mean’t to be in credit in the summer.
Out of curiosity I called Swalec and waited for what felt like an eternity on hold.
I got through to a Scottish guy and asked him if my direct debit amount was correct and what credit did I have? I gave him a meter reading and he confirmed I was now £241 in credit. Flipping heck I said. He was like ‘well madam, you should be in credit because summer has only just ended’. Well that’s a joke in itself – I cannot remember us actually having a summer this year. It’s also mid November so the notion of Summer is also long gone.
I asked based on my average usage over the past 12 months was my direct debit amount too high? £241 credit seemed an awful lot of money.
He spent about 10 minutes with his calculator and worked out that on average I use £40 a month. So I asked him to first of all to reduce my monthly direct debit to £40. He said he could reduce the amount but only to the £40 plus an extra £5 a month to always ensure that you are in credit. Fair enough. I couldn’t help but chip in that the direct debit amount automatically increases every time there is a price rise to ensure that you are always in credit. But I also thanked him for reducing it.
Then I asked about getting my credit back. ‘Madam, I would advise against that, you need credit for the winter. Maybe you could leave it until next Summer, call back again and see if you have any credit’.
Well I will have credit, I’ll have around £241 plus the £5 you take every month just to be safe. You just worked out my average annual usage over 12 months ad applied the correct DD amount. If your calculations are correct then there is no need for you to hold onto £241 of my money. Over 12 months I will have paid for the gas I use and an extra £60.
‘But Madam it’s just coming up to winter, you may go into debit’ Scottish man protested.
I appreciate that for part of the year I may well go into debit but by this time next year it will have all balanced out. I would really appreciate it if you could give me back the money that has been building up, you see if the price of gas goes up then the DD does automatically but there is not really much of a process for when you end up paying too much.
In the end he agreed to send me the credit back but made a huge point of writing out the telephone call notes so that the people who send the money would know it was at my request and that I hadn’t listened to his advice.
According to their website – In the last financial year, SSE made an operating profit of £271.7m in its Energy Supply business, down almost 22% from £347.7m in the previous year.
I know their profits are down but come on, giving me my credit back is hardly a drop in their ocean of money. I also need some of that money to go towards my now probably astronomical phone bill!