- When you review my DD how do you work out the new payments?
From time to time we'll conduct a review on your Direct Debit payments. This is to check that the amount you're paying is in line with the amount we think you'll use. If this gets out of line, you can end up with a large debt on the account and we'd rather warn you about this sooner, rather than later. Even if you have a credit on your account, we may still need to increase your Direct Debit to cover anticipated increased future charges. 3 main factors influence the review: Estimated future consumption; unit rates and standing charges and current account balance.
In terms of how this works, every gas and electricity account has an estimated annual consumption attached to it. Simply put, this is the amount of energy we think you'll use over the next year. This is an industry thing, and not unique to Affect Energy. The consumption is based on what you've used previously. If you've been providing regular meter readings and your circumstances haven't changed, then it is usually pretty accurate. When you provide readings, these values get updated (electricity can change as often as once a month; gas a lot less frequently). So this is the consumption figure we use in the review. By providing readings you'll help us to keep this as up to date as possible.
Unit rates and standing charges
Once we've established how much we think you'll use, we multiply this out by the unit rates and standing charges on the deal you're on. If you're on a fixed tariff and it runs out before the end of the 12 months, then we use our standard tariff prices and standing charges for the remaining months (up to 12). Unlike the bigger suppliers, our standard rates are usually fairly close to our Fixed Tariff prices, so there shouldn't be too much variance.
Once we've established how much we think you'll use and ultimately spend, we have an annual amount. We divide this by 12 and use this as your new Direct debit amount for the energy you'll use in future. If from these calculations, however, we think you've not been paying enough to cover your usage to date, we'll roll an additional payment into the reviewed DD amount. This is designed to recover any shortfall in payment to date. Equally, if we think you've overpaid, we'll reduce the payments accordingly.
When we've conducted a review, we'll let you know that we've done so by email. We'll let you know what your payments will be changing to. We'll also advise you of the date we'll be changing them from. Potential problems It's not a perfect science and there are some circumstances where this may not work as well as we'd like. Everyone's different and we're trying to apply some rules of thumb across everyone. Some examples of potential problems are highlighted below:
Moving home - If you've only moved into a house recently, then the comsunption figures for the previous occupant may infleunce your review. As long as you provide readings, over time, this should start to reflect your consumption a lot better - due to seasonal variations, this can take up to a year.
Few meter readings - If we haven't got regular meter readings, then our calculations on consumption will be based on estimates. These could be less reliable than we'd like and will affect the accuracy of our review.
Irregular consumption - Our calculations are based on what you've done previously being used to calculate what you'll do for the following months. So if you've been on a big holiday or didn't use a swimming pool which you've now found, our calculations may not be as accurate as we'd like.
Incorrect information at sign up - The best information to give us when you sign up is your previous consumption information. If you've not been able to use this, or it was given incorrectly then we'll have set up the DD less accurately than it should be. As we get more accurate information over time, we should be able to provide you with a more reliable view.
If you recognise any of these situations and / or have problems with the review, then please contact us - there's nothing we can't work out between us.