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Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 2:16 pm

Questions and complaints about energy companies and how the service they deliver to feed-in tariff (FIT) customers regularly pop up in our inbox and in comments on blogs. When people get solar panels, or other microgeneration technology, they often just sign up with their existing supplier. But our new survey demonstrates, this may not be the sensible way to go.

The good news is that well over half of the people responding to our survey are happy with the service they get, rating it good (26%) or excellent (36%). Clear winners were Good Energy* and Ecotricity* which were both rated excellent by the majority of their customers. (This was also the case for Green Energy and Utility Warehouse, although they had lower numbers responding).

Biggest loser was E.on, which was declared poor (37%) or diabolical (34%) by the 72% of its customers. Two thirds of the people who rated their FIT supplier diabolical are E.ON customers. Comments on why they gave that rating include:

“I’m still waiting for confirmation of my registration, 5 months after submitting it.”

“It took 9 months to get the first payment and then only after I took the matter to the regulator. They lost my registration, gave me a wrong FIT number and kept saying they would sort it out but never did.”

“E.on have taken months to make payments and blame their updating of their systems. This has been going on for many many months and they are using this as an excuse for poor service. As someone who spent over £12,000 on a solar system from E.on I don’t expect to wait months for payments.”

Most of the complaints we get are about how long companies take to pay. Surprisingly this didn't rate top of the key components of good customer service from a FIT supplier. It was third, with 70% of respondents saying it is vital, after replying to emails (81%), and knowledgeable staff (78%).

Having struggled in the past to get energy companies to tell me what their payment terms are**, I thought I'd ask customers what they think they are, and whether their feed-in tariff supplier meets them. The results were interesting!

Just three of E.on’s customers said that payments exactly met its terms, compared to 82% who say they were slower. However, when asked 'how many weeks after the deadline for reading the meter does your FIT supplier pay you?', those three people all gave a different answer (6, 7 and 8 weeks respectively). The range of when other respondents say they were paid goes from 2 weeks to 12+ after a meter reading.

Good Energy's customers, while much happier, are not much clearer about their payment terms (it's 10 weeks from receipt of meter reading). 92% of its customers say that it met the terms. However, when asked what the terms are, the answers ranged from two to 12+ weeks.

This leads me to believe that although payment time is what people complain about most, it isn't actually the aspect of the service that makes them happy or unhappy. If FIT suppliers have knowledgeable staff who answer the phone and respond to emails promptly, and register the system in a timely manner, then payment time is much less of an issue.

The good news is that if you are not getting the level of service you expect, you can change your FIT supplier. You do not have to use the same company as you use for your electricity supply.

More information about energy companies and FITs from YouGen

Feed-in tariff information page

How to choose your feed-in tariff supplier

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

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

* These are affiliate links. If you switch to one of these companies having clicked this link YouGen will receive a small commission, which helps to cover the cost of running the website.

**The ones that bothered to come back to me were Good Energy (10 weeks), Co-operative Energy (6-8 weeks), Ecotricity (6-8 weeks), nPower (60 days).

Click on the graph and table above to enlarge them and see the breakdown of responses.

By

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

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Comments

23 comments - read them below or add one

palmers

palmersComment left on: 23 April 2016 at 3:19 pm

Totally agree with the negative comments about SSE feed in tariff.  We had our PV solar system installed over 7 months ago and are still waiting for the 1st payment from SSE despite numerous phone calls.  Spoke to them last week and was promised payment would be made within the next quarter .  Not once have they ever bothered to ask fo solar meter readings (always good at asking for our electric and gas readings - funny that!).  Now looking to switch to another supplier. 

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parachuteman

parachutemanComment left on: 29 March 2016 at 1:24 pm

I can confirm everything bad about SSE/Atlantic They have refused anyone from speaking with me on a phone, they now get my reading on the day in question before midday and then send me a postal letter a few days latersaying my reading did not arrive so I will not be paid. I have had letters from the head of customer services saying they can find nothing wrong with thier team so it must be my fault. I am currently looking for a new supplier for my FIT, and I am going to take my gas and electric accounts with me. SSE/Atlantic have lost so many customers this last year, they don't seem to realise we pay thier wages. I can't wait to go.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 23 May 2013 at 7:39 am

Sorry to hear your story of incompetence @nondipoo. I had heard reports that E.on had pulled its socks up, but if it can't even get the FITs right for solar panels its installed itself it's not really trying!

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nondipoo

nondipooComment left on: 22 May 2013 at 8:57 pm

We had problems with Eon after installation of solar panels just before Easter this year.  They didn't reply at all until we telephoned them, then theysaiod they needed proof of who I was as out bills are paid in my husbands name, which I emailed to them.  They said at that time that 2 April would be start date. .  I had paid for them so wanted FIT payments to be sent to my account. They eventually sent all the paperwork back after 1 month for another form to be signed.  We still didn't hear from them so calleed them again & they said it had been sent to Ofgen and that 2nd May will now be our start date - over 5 weeks from when installed and 1 month from when the application was received by them. We still haven't heard from Ofgen so don't know when we will receive any payments.

I cannot recomment Eon for the solar panels, although we have used them as suppliers for several years.  They don't know what they are doing and say they have been taken by surprise with the number of applications.  They need to sort themselves out.

 

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JohnFW

JohnFWComment left on: 24 January 2013 at 1:45 pm

Question:

Exactly how many EDF-registered generators have fallen foul of delays in FiT registration from the Green Team at EDF I wonder? It must be a substantial number, otherwise they wouldn't be reviewing the situation in correspondence with OFGEM again.

So - if you come across this comment do let me know. We need to get thoroughly organised!

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JohnFW

JohnFWComment left on: 24 January 2013 at 11:06 am

I came across yet another person yesterday who had fallen foul of the poorly constructed SECTION 5 form (Multi Installation  Generator) with EDF. Once again many delays and failure to advise her on a timely basis that her form was in error.

Guess what? EDF have buckled - they backdated her registration date to the original form receipt date AND they have taken her initial generation meter reading too. Now THAT'S what I call customer service. Speaking as a punter who has (so far) been denied two months juicy generation AND denied the 21p FiT rate AND been reduced from 25 to 20 years - I feel pretty sore. Perhaps there really is light at the end of the tunnel after all. But exactly who has their finger on the right button at EDF? I need to write yet another letter to them now and have requested Capt Radar to give me some inside help!!

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Capt.Radar

Capt.RadarComment left on: 22 January 2013 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Cathy, I agree there is considerable interest!  From a review of many other blogs on this subject, it seems EDF is the main (only?) culprit in delaying FIT applications to their advantage and the customers loss.  Hopefully OFGEM will have a more reasonable view of the situation.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 22 January 2013 at 3:23 pm

Thank you for that feedback @Capt.Radar. I'm also going to post it as a blog in its own right, as I think lots of people will be interested in reading it.

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Capt.Radar

Capt.RadarComment left on: 21 January 2013 at 9:17 pm

Hi All Unwilling EDF Sponsors!

Here is the latest update I have recieved from EDF:

'As you will be aware, the FIT rate has changed since FITs were first introduced. These changes took effect from set dates, and as a result some consumers have received a rate which is lower than the rate in force when they first sought to apply for a FIT. We appreciate that you are one of those consumers.  

To complete an application for a FIT, EDF Energy must apply to our regulator, Ofgem, for the consumer’s installation to be recorded on a central register. Based on Ofgem’s guidance, we have not done so until all forms have been properly completed by the consumer and received by us. However, we are aware that taking this approach has meant some consumers have been impacted by a rate change taking place during the application process.  

As a responsible energy supplier we have sought to fully comply with Ofgem’s guidance. However, we want to do the right thing for our customers, and we are sure that Ofgem wants the FIT scheme operated in consumers’ best interests. With that in mind, we have been in correspondence with Ofgem to ask it to consider whether it would permit the back-dating of applications in cases where all necessary information was received by us before the time of the rate change, but where we were unable to submit the application due to an error or omission in the application documentation (for example, if a declaration was not signed/dated).   

If Ofgem does permit this then we will review the application you made to see whether we are able to change your FIT rate accordingly. If not then unfortunately we may not be able to adjust your rate'. 

 

Lets all hope the outcome is positive!  EDF have also confirmed they have a list of all applicants in this position and we will be informed of the outcome.

I suggest if anyone doubts they are on this list they contact EDF Green Energy team....  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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edfnightmare

edfnightmareComment left on: 21 January 2013 at 4:54 pm

I do have some positive news to add as I've been involved with two installations. The other was with EOn as the FIT licencee. They were very slow off the ground initially but are now well up and running and I get my FIT payments quickly and automatically in response to me calling or now emailing in the reading. They even gave me compensation for the delay to the first payment. eDF are the licencee on my sister's installation and they are being far less obliging.

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edfnightmare

edfnightmareComment left on: 21 January 2013 at 4:50 pm

I have the same issue and fully intend to take them to court if they or the ombudsman do not uphold our case. I plan to contact OFGEM again now although they have been pretty unhelpful in the past but at least if they are aware of the issue from our side as well as from eDF they may be more inclined to back us. Other companies have been pragmatic on this subject whilst I'm convinced eDF's position is negligent. Anyone else who has this issue is welcome to contact me at edfnightmare@mail.com

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 17 January 2013 at 9:56 am

Hi Capt.Radar

Keep up the pressure - and do let us know how you progress. Nearly all the complaints we get on this specific issue are about EDF, so it would be great to hear that they have a change of heart.

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Capt.Radar

Capt.RadarComment left on: 15 January 2013 at 8:50 pm

Dear Cathy, I have the same problem as John FW, and I belive many others out there.... 

In my case the company is EDF.  I have posted my comments elsewhere on this forum (but sorry to say rather hard to find) anyway, here is an update:

 I have just heard from inside EDF there may be a glimmer of hope for those of us who had their eligibility date confirmed after the August 1st cut-off date due to missing or incomplete declarations in the original FIT application form.

Apparently EDF have now asked OFGEM for some further guidance or even dispensation to be applied in these cases to uphold the original application date.

Who knows what the outcome will be, but let’s hope it’s positive for those of us who were honestly unaware of the requirement or misled by the EDF version 4 application form (which didn’t even include the said declaration in the document check list!).

My own opinion is EDF are concerned that too many FIT applicants have fallen foul of their incredibly slow and pedantic application of ‘rules is rules’ to the detriment of loyal customers who may start to boycott their business (rather like the recent Starbucks effect…) and are now trying to correct the situation.

I would suggest all in this position ensure EDF are still very aware of their situation and intention to continue to campaign for redress of one form or another, WE HAVE NOT GONE AWAY!

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 12 November 2012 at 10:33 am

Hi John

So sorry to hear about your experience. Sadly you are not alone. Would you be prepared to name and shame, so others can avoid that provider too? If not, could you let me know privately (via the contact form), so that I can add it to our records of relative performance.

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JohnFW

JohnFWComment left on: 9 November 2012 at 7:56 pm

My experience so far is somewhat disastrous! As a professional engineer I am completely happy about solar PV, but was not prepared for a pretty dreadful relationship with my chosen FiT licensee when I made a very tiny mistake in form filling. I had the system installed and commissioned on 17th July 2012 and sent off the paperwork the same day. No response was received from the FiT licensee until 28th August (six weeks!), which you will note is after 1st August...

I was advised that I had made an error in DECLARATION 5 - viz: Multi Installation Generation and that therefore:

a) My registration would only be from 5th September

b) TheFiT payment would now be 16p istead of 21p

c) Five or six weeks of sunny generation at 3.6kW could not be allowed

I was totally livid to receive this news. Pleas to the FiT licensee fell on deaf ears, as did a letter to the Secretary of State. I have since been offered (and rejected) a derisory £50  compensation and as 8 weeks has elapsed and deadlock has been reached, I have now registered a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Legally correct perhaps, but morally neither the FiT licensee nor OFGEM has a leg to stand on. Would I deal with that FiT licensee again? NO.

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edward50

edward50Comment left on: 27 September 2012 at 5:08 pm

I just read the comments by the person disappointed in SSE as a FIT supplier and looking to change. I have Good Energy as my FIT supplier and have been very satisfied. They are easy to communicate with. Up to now they have requested readings by email. They send out a paper confirmation when they are about make a payment; this also includes the next two meter reading dates. At present they are paying nine weeks after the reading. They may not be the fastest, but it doesn't really matter much as once you have got your first payment they come every quarter from then onwards.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 27 September 2012 at 1:40 pm

Just received this comment on SSE by email: disappointing behaviour.

I have had several problems with SSE with payments and readings the latest that SSE will no longer send reminders.  I was told that I should set up IE9 to remind me of the dates for readings , I had already told them that I am in my middle seventies and not computer literate so why could they not send me an email as they have done since May 2010.  I was then told get a friend to show you.  I pointed out that SSE do not have any trouble sending me an email to supply them with my reading of the meter of my electricity consumption. I came across this site on the hope of finding out how to change my FIT company and the names of other companies and if they are any better than SSE in the treatment of their generators.

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davejones79

davejones79Comment left on: 25 September 2012 at 1:18 pm

Let's give credit where it's due, EDF seem to have turned things around and now give very fast FiT payments each quarter. We received our Q3 payment in our bank account yesterday, 7 days after the meter reading submission via their website.

I can't vouch for how long it takes to registered these days, but once you are up and running the payments are now very swift. Well done EDF!

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 25 September 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thank you Dave. It's nice to hear good news too.

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Storm Electrical Solutions Ltd

Storm Electrical Solutions LtdComment left on: 10 September 2012 at 4:10 pm

From an installers point of view EON was fantastic with providing help with completing forms however our customers have experienced much of the above since February.  We do not recommend EON, the Good energy company have had good feedback.

One point to you all, is to check the amounts the companies pay against your submission.  With customers readings exceeding predictions the FIT providers do not like giving what is due.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 31 August 2012 at 1:26 pm

Maybe it's a new dawn. Let's hope so!

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PeterFT

PeterFTComment left on: 31 August 2012 at 1:25 pm

My FIT payment is from E.on and I am not surprised at their poor showing in the survey, my rating for payments was Diabolical (waiting up to 11 weeks), BUT, I gave them my reading on 29th July and the money was in my bank on 18th August. I hope they maintain this.

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SteveZ

SteveZComment left on: 30 August 2012 at 6:21 pm

My FIT Licensee is Tradelink Solutions. They wrote to me recently announcing their proposal to charge an annual fee of £75 starting next April, because OFGEM are reducing the subsidised Levelisation payment to them. Has any other Licensee, big or small, proposed to charge their customer a fee?

I will switch to the best available by April. Which ones have good staff and pay promptly?  :-)

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