E.ON mess up my FIT statement

Writing up my experiences with E.ON and the feed-in tariff.

On 12th August it was the 3-month anniversary of the installation of our solar panels.  A day I had been looking forward to as it means we can submit our first quarterly feed-in tarriffs “invoice”.  The  process is that you can dial an 0845 number (no fear!) or submit by email; I did the latter.  An acknowledgement came the next day (Saturday):

Subject:     RE: FIT reading
Date:     Sat, 13 Aug 2011 09:05:51 +0100
From:     RETUK Feed In Tariff Meter Readings <FitMeterReadings@eonenergy.com>
To:     ‘Andrew Wedmore’

Good Morning,

Thank you for your generation reading.

Your payment will be process in the next 30 days.

Regards,

Emma [name redacted]
Feed In Tariff Team
E.ON Energy Solutions
I: 7613679
E: +44 (0) 845 301 4884
E.ON UK
Caxton Road
Bedford MK41 0EW
——————————————————————–
So far, so good.

On 19th August I got the following email:
——————————————————————–

Subject:     FIT00038567 FIT Payment
Date:     Fri, 19 Aug 2011 16:24:46 +0100
From:     RETUK Feed In Tariff Meter Readings <FitMeterReadings@eonenergy.com>
To:     ‘Andrew Wedmore’

Dear Mr Wedmore

Please find attached your generation and  export payment statement covering 05 May 2011 to 05 August  2011. Your payment will be made into your nominated bank account.

Your Sincerely

Emma [name redacted]
Feed In Tariff Team
E.ON Energy Solutions
I: 7613679
E: +44 (0) 845 301 4884
E.ON UK
Caxton Road
Bedford MK41 0EW

——————————————————————–
Very exciting.  Only problem was that the attached statement was completely wrong.  It had my name and address on it OK, and it had the meter reading that I had given them.  But it had completely the wrong previous meter reading (544 units, should have been 0) and (I learned a bit later) someone else’s account number.

It also awarded me an “export tarriff” of 3.1p per unit on a deemed 50% of our output, a payment to which we are not entitled, being off-grid.

Furthermore, the multiplication was wrong (it can’t be wrong, it was obviously out of a computer but it was).  I quote: “kWh generated: 379.  Generation Tariff rate: 43.3p.  We work out your Generation Payment by multiplying your Generation Tariff rate by the number of kWh generated [it actually says this right there in the statement].  Generation payment £116.35 ”  As the Americans say: “Do the math”.

I decided to phone (using http://www.saynoto0870.com/ to avoid the 0845 number).  Emma wasn’t there but I spoke to a colleague.  I quoted the account number on the statement and she said “Ah, Mr Smith”.  This was when I discovered that the account number on the statement was wrong, despite the name and address being correct.  At first I thought that perhaps I had quoted the wrong account number in my meter reading email, but no, on checking it I found that it was correct.

The data on the statement seemed to be a subtle blend of our data with Mr Smith’s data.  I pointed this out and was assured that this information would be passed on to Emma who would correct the statement.

But of course this was not the end of the story.  A second email arrived quite promptly the next working day.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject:     FIT00038567 FIT Payment
Date:     Mon, 22 Aug 2011 08:43:18 +0100
From:     RETUK Feed In Tariff Meter Readings <FitMeterReadings@eonenergy.com>
To:     ‘Andrew Wedmore’

Good Morning Mr Wedmore,

I have received an email from one of my colleagues regarding the payment I processed.

I have double checked it and I apologise but I had put the incorrect unit price down. Please find the correct statement attached.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Emma [name redated]

————————————————–
The only slight problem, I see when I open the attachment, is that the “correct statement attached” is now actually more wrong than the previous statement.  The rate, which used to be correct at 43.3p, has now been reduced to 30.7p.  This makes the multiplication correct, but all the previously incorrect data is unchanged. And of course wrong times wrong is wrong (generally speaking).

Hardly had I had time to digest this, than a third, unsolicited, email arrives.

Subject:     FW: FIT00038574 FIT Payment
Date:     Mon, 22 Aug 2011 08:53:49 +0100
From:     RETUK Feed In Tariff Meter Readings <FitMeterReadings@eonenergy.com>
To:     ‘Andrew Wedmore’

Good Morning,

I do apologise about this, Please find the correct statement again with the correct FIT account Id on it.

Again if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Emma [name redacted]

————————————————–

This attachment still has all the wrong monetary amounts but she has corrected the account number!

Time for another phone call.

Emma seems very puzzled, and unsure what to do next.  “Well” I say, “The thing is, I’ve had three wrong statements now, and I’m beginning to lose confidence.  Can I speak to someone else about it?

“Someone else” is the supervisor, Selina.  She has a crisp competence in her voice, and I believe her when she tells me she has figured out the real problem, and explains it to me.  Their system is spreadsheet-based.  It works off a number of spreadsheets and their process is based on each customer being on the same line on each spreadsheet.  Unfortunately the lines have somehow slipped by one, so that I am on line 90 of one spreadsheet and line 91 of another one.  Hence the blending of my data with Mr Smith’s – it all makes sense now.

So basically, E.ON are running a manual system with a bit of help from Microsoft Excel.  What a kludge!  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the spreadsheets live on Emma’s C drive.  On the C drive of Emma’s laptop, in fact, which she then leaves on a train….but I am drifting off into fantasy.  I ought to have been suspicious when I learned that their data collection process was for you to send them a free-format email (rather than fill in a web form, say).  It’s a familiar IT story – presenting a competent face externally, all lash-up internally.

If you have a free choice, don’t select E.ON as your FIT supplier.  Go elsewhere.

The correct statement arrived promptly, showing that we have earned £399.66.  This is compared to Emma’s three efforts each showing £122.23 payable.

The payment itself is somewhat less than I had originally hoped, bearing in mind that it relates to the three sunniest months of the year.  The reason is that our PV system has spent too much of the time effectively turned off, due to the problems with the Load Controller system, described in an earlier entry.  In fact the main problem wasn’t with the Load Controller itself, but rather that we had the wrong kind of solar inverter.  This problem has now been fixed (by changing to a different manufacturer/model), and so I expect that in the comparable period next year we will generate quite a lot more electricity.  I may blog about why the original solar inverter was wrong in a separate entry.

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10 Responses to E.ON mess up my FIT statement

  1. Pingback: Another reason to avoid E.ON for your feed-in tariffs | Hunters Farm, Brightling

  2. Huw Powell-Davies says:

    Similar problems here with E.ON but not as drawn out. I gave a reading on April 5th for a 6 month period because they said the one in January was late! Received a reply by email that I would be paid within 45 days due to a migration to an automated service. To date (2nd July) I haven’t been paid a penny and am ready to submit my next reading which will make it 9 months since they paid me anything!!!

  3. Joe Lumsden says:

    We have had exactly the same problems as Huw with and the same reason for non acceptance of the January reading. It is now 11 July and still no cash. 73 days after submission.

    • Huw Powell-Davies says:

      Good news! My wife informs me that they have eventually paid up for the 9 month period we were owed (£680). We can go on holiday now! They seem to finally be getting their act together and I received three posted receipts for the period. Furter good news is that the index linked feed in tariff has gone up to 45p per kwh.

      • Joe Lumsden says:

        Good news indeed. I will wait with bated breath for our payment…………

      • GeoffC says:

        On your installation that should I believe be a tariff increase to 45.4p. If your £680 was all at a 45p rate, which of course it wasn’t, you will have been underpaid by £6.04

  4. GeoffC says:

    Waiting for our second payment, which is overdue, I have some sympathy with E.ON’s staff. Do a search for Feed-in Tariff and you’ll find umpteen rates all varying according to installation date etc. Look for Export Payments and confusion again reigns (I remember an announcement that this rate was also being increased but can’t find any reference to it now).
    As mentioned previously, our FIT rate increased during the last period so this must be reflected in our payment.
    That said, E.ON management must be held responsible for not ensuring that payment systems up to the task are installed. I will be billing them for interest lost due to late payment.

  5. legvitch says:

    Glad someone has been paid, Eon owe me payments for power generated from 7 jan2012 they change the reading due dates every time I submit a reading and tell me I was not in the window.
    I thought my account had been hacked

  6. Ken Shail says:

    I haven’t been paid for my reading on 10th April. That is 5+ months. I have had acceptance replies to my submission emails. The one in April said that it could take up to 45 days because they were installing an automated system!
    When I phoned them on the at the end of June chasing it they said that it would be a”few more weeks”. I mentioned that that I would shortly be submitting my next quarter’s reading (on the 2nd July) to which they said that it would go in to the new system and would be paid very quickly. 42 days have now passed and that payment as not been received either.
    I sent an email stating that if they did not pay within the next 7 days I would take the matter to the Energy Ombudsman. I got an automatic reply stating that it could take longer than 10 days to reply. They have taken longer than 20 days and nothing heard. I have therefore taken the matter to the Ombudsman.
    If that doesn’t bring any result I shall simply apply for a summons in the small claims court.
    It is my opinion that they are playing the cash-flow game with our money. If we hadn’t paid our electricity bill for that period of time they would have already cut off supply and taken us to court.

  7. june glover says:

    I registeres with eon and had a reply to wrong surname – sent it back and got another form to fill in, never heard again for about 6 months but still sent in my reading as requested on 27th August, Got an automated reply saying it had been received, then 7 days later a request for of a photo copy passport/driving licence/birth certificate, as the birth certificate would be in my maiden name which I thought would confuse them even more I opted for passport even though out of date, about a week later I was emailed that they could not use the passport info as out of date! could I send my council tax bill by scanner!!! (I do not even have a printer) getting fed up with keep sending things via post I contacted my solar installer for advice and they sugested I get a copy of council tax bill emailed me from council and forward it on, I did that over 2 weeks ago but inspite of emailing them for confirmation that I have now confirmed to their request I am still waiting for a reply as well as mayment for electricity generated since 27th August, what a shambles!!!!! (My hearing is not good so I do not use the telephone unless there is no other way!!!) Also am house bound so keep getting photo copies of bills etc is aBIG problem.
    June Glover

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