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How to choose your feed-in tariff supplier

Posted by Kate Turner on 7 March 2011 at 9:11 am

You may not know this, but you do not have to get your feed-in tariff paid by the energy company that you buy your electricity from. You can shop around to find the one that offers you the best deal. At the moment they all pay out exactly the same rate, so you'll probably want to choose the one which gives the best service.

On the surface it may seem sensible to ask the company that supplies your electricity to pay your feed-in tariff. However, we have heard on the grapevine that the quality of feed-in tariff service varies hugely, and that even some of the big 6 energy suppliers are not delivering the level of service that they are required to.

In some cases microgenerators are not being paid for their generation. While the feed-in tariff levels are generous and will, in theory, deliver a good return on your investment, if you do not receive the money you are entitled to, your great investment opportunity quickly vanishes.

To figure out if your supplier’s feed-in tariff service is up to scratch, we recommend you ask them the following questions:

1. How long will it take for you to register my generator for the feed-in tariff?

2. Will you notify me when I am registered?

3. When will you ask me for generation meter readings?

4. How often will you pay me?

5. When will you pay me?

6. How will you pay me (cheque or account transfer)?

7. How many people work in your feed-in tariff team?

By asking these questions, you should get a feel for whether they can deliver a competent service or not, which will help you decide whether you want to use your existing supplier to pay your FIT or choose someone else. 

More information about choosing feed-in tariff suppliers from YouGen

Which energy company is most helpful about the feed-in tariff?

Over 70% of Eon customers have trouble getting FIT payments

Got a feed in tariff complaint? You may need this guide!

Feed-in tariff information page

Photo by Ole Houen

 

About the author: Kate Turner is external affairs executive at Good Energy.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

19 comments - read them below or add one

JeremyA

JeremyAComment left on: 25 February 2014 at 8:56 am

I'm about to switch from Utility Warehouse to another supplier for my electricity after their 25% hike in economy 7 prices, but it looks like your advice on not having to move the FIT scheme as well may be incorrect as Utiility Warehouse's FIT Terms and Conditions state that I am only eligible for FIT payments through them if I take electricity from them. Exact wording is "By entering into the Utility Warehouse FIT Scheme, you confirm that you meet the following criteria.........(7th one)....You take electricity supply from us...

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 15 August 2013 at 8:07 am

@Duncan1409 When we did some research on this last year Good Energy and Ecotricity came out as favourites. You can read more about it here. M&S Energy didn't feature in the research I'm afraid, so we haven't got any feedback on how they do.

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Duncan1409

Duncan1409Comment left on: 13 August 2013 at 10:28 pm

Hi, so who would be the best FIT supplier to register with ?

At present I am with Scottish Power, not happy with their customer services so thinking about going to M&S Energy, who are cheaper anyway, My solar panels are getting fitted later this month, so want a company ready for me to contact. for the FIT

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ctenergy

ctenergyComment left on: 19 July 2013 at 6:59 am

CT Energy

I did not know you do not have to get your feed-in tariff paid by the energy company that you buy your electricity from. Thank you for the article.

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archiebabes

archiebabesComment left on: 21 May 2013 at 4:29 pm

Hi,

I am currently registered with NPower for my FIT payments. I want to leave them as they haven't been paying UK tax and I'd rather go with a more ethical company. What will happen to the FIT payments? Will I have to re-register with my nmew electricity company?

Thanks

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 7 March 2012 at 10:18 am

Uitlander

You are unlikely to get speedier payments, as it takes that long for the utility companies to get paid by Ofgem, and generally they don't pay out to customers until they have received the money from Ofgem.

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Uitlander

UitlanderComment left on: 6 March 2012 at 8:15 am

My electric & Gas supplier is Atlantic Energy, which is a brand of SSE. SSE is my FIT provider. The first payment took 80+ days to arrive. My second payment has still not arrived some 2 months after submitting it. They have sent me a statement saying that the cheque is to follow, but there is no sign of the payment itself. They have not replied to any of my emails. I asked to be paid by DD as I am an existing customer (which they say they will do). So far I have only been sent a cheque. I would advise people to avoid them. 

I would like to change FIT providers to someone with better customer service and speedier payments, but in doing so would this cause the tariff for my FIT payments to change? I am on the 41.3p rate has now been reduced by the Government.

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Fred1

Fred1Comment left on: 1 June 2011 at 11:18 am

Hi Grasmere,

Ofgem run the FIT scheme for DECC, on the Ogem website if you mine down to the FIT section you will find a section for Electricity suppliers there you will find two documents concerning Guidance for Licensed Electricity suppliers the May 2010 document I guess is valid now the 2011 Document is out for consultation. These Documents are worth reading they are the instructions from Ofgem to the suppliers. They seem to protect the micro generator, as long as you know what Ofgem has told the Suppliers to do.

For instance under paras 2.17 and 2.18 it explains that the mandatory FIT licensees ( the biggest seven) have the obligation to take certain classes of people including their own customers, there is also the right given to any supplier to take any microgenerator they wish....The Voluntary suppliers the other 13, can do what they like.....

You can go to any supplier that will take you, the full list of suppliers is on the Ofgem Website see ofgem.gov.uk then sustainability ;environmental programmes;  feed-in tariff scheme; registered suppliers;

There seem to be seven mandatory suppliers and thirteen voluntary suppliers.Contact details are included.

They are I believe at the moment all paying the same, but the rules allow them to pay more if they wish to capture more business.

You might ask them how many days from the date of your meter reading the money hits your bank, this seems to vary between one week and up to several months.

The regs require them to be accurate, capable of being easily understood  and deal in a professional manner with you (see para 6.7.1 of the guidance issued by Ofgem.) After reading the regs do You think they have been accurate?????

Perhaps the meter will need to be sourced and installed by the infrastucure owner, the firm that owns the power lines, transformers and the rest of the meters you have already pre your  PV installation.Perhaps the infrastucture owner may need contacting by the FIT supplier. If the infrastructure owner and the supplier are part of the same group, (no names no pack drill) perhaps the installation of an Export meter will be smoother and more cost effective. Remember you have the right to change FIT suppliers at any time......

I do not know which are you live but the infrastructure owner is the firm you will deal with when you inform ( for a small installation) or request permission (larger installation) that you are going to connect to the grid.  Your MCS installer must know this if you can't find it on the web.

It seems a shame that many of the people on the end of the telephone from many of the companies do not seem to have been trained up on the guidance notes issued by Ofgem.....They just seem to know a few of the basics.

Hope you find a friendly, knowledgable  supplier among the 20 out there...

Good Luck

Fred

 

 

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Grasmere

GrasmereComment left on: 31 May 2011 at 9:32 pm

Hugo, I'm about to have a PV system fitted and feel that I would be better suited to have a export meter fitted, I'm with EDF who clearly state in their FIT application forms that I can not use another company for my FIT if I use them for my electricity supply, an they seem to be stuborn on accepting a export meter reading instad of the 50% deal. I hear that Ecotricity accept export meter readings without any problem, whats your opinion.

My reason for the meter option is that for 5 out of 7 days I will be generating and only using back ground usage as were away untill late each day, so with a 4kw aray it would seem logical that the amount being exported will be higher than the 50% deal generally considered a fair deal.

I'm having trouble getting my proposed installer to understand my dilema and agree to install a meter during the instalation in 2 week time. can a export meter be fitted afterwards, again would appreciate your opinion.

I have read many blogs and general advice from Yougen but still not felt I have the answer to a very sticky subject.

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SJP101

SJP101Comment left on: 8 April 2011 at 12:14 pm

I am in the process of switching my FIT from SSE to another supplier, and I have found SSE very difficult to deal with.

They didn't really seem to have any understanding of the process and did not get back to me when they said that they would. I made 6 calls and spoke to 8 different people and finally the switch is in progress.

My advice would be to look around and switch to a FIT provider who understands the FIT. A simple phone call will tell you how knowledgeable they are and what kind of service you are likely to get

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Mark Brown

Mark BrownComment left on: 31 March 2011 at 11:02 am

I will offer you my experience with NPower from day one of FiT. You can read about it here. Although they were ill-prepared for FiTs in April 2010 they have done some catch up and have their process working even if it is a little clunky.

The difficulty I had was less with FiT but more with their charging structue and inability to comprehend what PV does. In short: by meter was spinning backwards and this sent NPower into a spin. They started writing to me demanding meter readings although I gave them a meter reading online every month. Then they visited. Then they wrote again demanding to know if I had changed my meter.. And so on!

If you pay by Direct Debit they esitmate the yearly usage and divide it monthly. Of course the PV wrecks their system. They spent 9 months over charging and 3 months paying it all back to me. I also have a biomass boiler which means that, although I have gas connected as a backup it isn't used. But I have to pay £5 just to have it connected. In addiiton they give you two rates for electricity usage: it starts high then goes low. It encourages you to use more electricity. After fitting PV and watching my usage drop my electric bills didn't drop in proportion.

This suggests their entire billing infrastructure doesn't "get" renewable energy regardless of them paying my FiT. So it is worthwhile shipping around after fitting renewable technology. The FiT is but one apsect to consider. One online respondent to my query on the Superhome Forum suggested I try "Atlantic". Another suggested Scottish & Southern. Also check out this comparison site.

The bottomline is that the handling of FiT may be adequate but all the other billing can go haywire. I am interested in other's experience? Maybe Cathy could write an entire blog on this mystery!?

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Grasmere

GrasmereComment left on: 29 March 2011 at 8:45 pm

Contact my supplier EDF and asked the given questionsthat Hugo suggested, got a personal phone call the next day, very helpfull and was sent the relevant aplication forms via e,mail.

My second call revealed a different attitude several days later, wanted confirmation on future years for existing applicants, ref 25 year agreement. Does this period still continue should future rulers change the rules. This is very likely as far more people are takeing up the FIT than was first forcast and every one is looking to cut spending, especially the goverment. EDF's view was that it was costing them a lot of money so should the FIT be stopped by future goverments then they would stop paying it to any one.

My second question to EDF was about the 50% Export Tarriff Payment. Considering my proposed 4KW system would export far more why should I not get paid. the answer only mirrors the green issues with modern motor cars, you can have the grren technology but you will pay extra for it, Whilst were totally off the PV rail, here in Devon there starting to charge customers for taking certain products to the re-cycling centers in Aprill, Wheres the incentive or encouragement to adopt green technology

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chrisw

chriswComment left on: 23 March 2011 at 6:56 pm

I've now made a choice of FIT supplier based research on the websites and replies to email I sent to the contact for FITs. Shown on the table below:

                               EDF   GoodEnergy   SSE

Website info             0               2               2

Prompt reply             0              2                0

Content of reply        2              2                didn't reply

How scheme works  2              2                didn't reply

Overall impression    1              2                1

                                  --------------------------------

                                   5             10               3

I gave each category a max of 2 marks. I realise it is all a bit subjective but I've decided to go with Good Energy when we get the solar PV installed. After all I now know it is possible to change!


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Fred1

Fred1Comment left on: 15 March 2011 at 4:23 am

I used to use a small supplier under the pre feed in tariff system, I changed to one of the big six to get better service. I use E-on, I  find them excellent, only a few days to register, and they pay into my bank within 5 days of online meter reading

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chrisw

chriswComment left on: 14 March 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thank you. I've now compiles a short-list of 3 FIT suppliers:

1) my current electricity supplier (EDF)

 2) a large supplier who had good information about FIT on their website and which I had seen some recommendations for (SSE)

3) a small "green" company (Good Energy)

I've emailed all three with some questions and will decide from there. I'll post on here with the choice I made and why. Install not till May so there is plenty of time.

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Good Energy

Good EnergyComment left on: 14 March 2011 at 2:24 pm

Yes, under the Feed-in-Tariff terms you are free to switch FIT suppliers. So, if you are dissatisfied with your current FIT provider then you can simply switch to a company that you believe will offer you a better service.

Unfortunately there are not currently any league tables or comparison sites to help you but that is the advantage of sites like YourGen where people can share their experience of FIT service.

The actual process involved in switching is quite straight forward. You will need to notify the company you would like to switch to that you would like them to provide your FIT, which would normally involve completing their FIT sign-up form (but may vary depending on your chosen company). You may also need to provide written confirmation that you would like to switch.

 

Your new FIT supplier will then agree a date and generation reading for the switch to take place with your current FIT supplier. Your FIT supplier should keep you updated on the process and notify you when the switch has been completed.    

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teifi-energy-group-sa39-9bx

Teifi Energy GroupComment left on: 11 March 2011 at 11:48 am

Explanation of how the system operates here: http://www.caerdelyn.co.uk/blogg/supplier-registration-and-fits.html

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chrisw

chriswComment left on: 9 March 2011 at 6:49 pm

Thanks for the info, I was not aware this was possible.  Is it also possible to change FIT supplier if you are dissatisfied with your current one?

Some practical detail about what you need to do, to use a FIT supplier who is not your electricity supply company would be very useful.

 As there are no league tables or comparison sites (that I know of or are there?) for FIT suppliers and if you don't have access to "the grapevine"  it makes it hard to make an informed choice.

 Anyone got any comments about the service they are getting from EDF as a FIT supplier?

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mcfi5dhc

mcfi5dhcComment left on: 7 March 2011 at 11:09 am

At the moment they all pay out exactly the same rate, so you'll probably want to choose the one which gives the best service.

Hi - thats not 100% correct. For people on 41.3p, then yes, you are correct. For the pioneers, there are different rates. For example Ecotricity are paying 16p (though you have to go to them for buying your normal electric as well). Almost all the rest pay 9p (9.4 from April?). Thanks

The questions you have suggested are good. For what its worth, SSE (whom I am with at the moment) have been excellent. The problems they encountered were all due to the incompetencies of the DECC and Ofgem, but they perservered and got everything sorted with no financial loss to myself.

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