PAYG meters and new tenancies

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    @Beki_EONNext @HannahD_EONNext @PeterT_EONNext @Han_EONNext @Bennie_EONNext @DebF_EONNext @Anasa_EONNext

    Been a busy day today and we're being inundated with problems regarding new tenants discovering meters with debts on them, no keys or cards and being off supply.

    Seriously, this issue needs addressing sooner rather than later.

    I appreciate we're talking about 'legacy' systems that, in my opinion, were never properly thought out or fit for purpose in the first place, but something needs to be done to address the problem of having to get codes or RTI numbers and then having to wait two hours, go back and 'reprogram' the meter, and then go back out again to top up a key or card and then get the supply back up and running again.

    Surely there must be an easier way? Why can't an RTI code be issued that clears the meter and puts, say, a tenner credit on at the same time? This 'advance' can then be clawed back perhaps at a pound a time from ongoing top ups until paid back.

    The emergency out of hours number keeps people on hold almost as long as the main customer services number. If someone is in an 'emergency' off-supply situation and can't get through or does, but only by teatime, the two hour delay is a major problem. Chances are most of the available paypoints or payzones are shut, so even if a working code is issued, how on earth is anyone supposed to get supply restored?

    I know from personal experience having to top up an electricity key in the past when I lived in the great metropolis of urban Southampton, that sometimes you can find a 24 hour petrol station or somewhere to get credit on a key at 2am...but on one occasion after a late arrival at Heathrow and getting in at 1am I had to drive all the way down to Rownhams Services on the M27 to find an open Pay Point. I was young and in good health back then and had a car, but for the elderly, infirm or those without a car...what do you do in those circumstances?

    Surely, as the meter is the responsibility of the supplier, and the supplier should have records of every MPAN they are responsible for, it should be a matter of utmost priority to, er, prioritise replacement of all outdated meter installations as soon as possible. Clearly this would also get your stats up for smart meter deployment too, rather than try and 'push' smart meters on folks that don't want the damn things.

    Clearly, if a change of tenancy is advised ahead of a change and a property has a legacy meter, then that is the perfect time to go in and swap the meter.

    But, especially in a lot of 'social housing' or where tenancies can change with almost no notice, this can be more difficult. Without wanting to tar everyone with the same brush, or make assumptions on anyone's background or status...a lot of these 'short notice' tenancies are given to folks who really haven't the savvy or the knowhow, or even the means or the language skills to sort these messes out.

    So I really feel that the sooner any legacy metering is taken out of the equation, the better.

    I'm not a fan of smart meters, as you probably realise. For those of us with 'proper' credit meters, this is not an issue, but if we have to have prepay meters for whatever reason, they should be smart and accessible directly from the supplier to wipe debts, reset errors and enable a tenant to move in with the absolute minimum of delay. A dedicated new tenancy phoneline, and the ability for someone to get a supply back on then and my opinion that is essential, especially in a cold weather period like now.

    Just my ha'peth worth.

    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • 11 Replies

  • Beki's Avatar
    Hey there @retrotecchie,
    This has been a main topic of my conversation today. After hearing of the issues our prepayment customers (and those around the country) are having to deal with its sparked a big 'something has to change' and I've been a full on Boudicca today - perhaps with less spears...
    I agree with you regarding SPAYG and we 100% need to be proactive now rather than reactive to the situation. I'm hoping that the result of these conversations today we will see more drive with SPAYG meters. 🤞

    Hope you are well 😊
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    All good here now we have the water back on again.

    How was your break and your birthday? 🧨🎈🥂😜😎👍
  • Beki's Avatar
    @retrotecchie Oh gosh, why did your water go off? Was it the cold temps?

    I had a magical birthday thank you for asking 😊
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    Burst water main at the bottom of the main road, three miles away, on Saturday due to the freezing temperatures. Took them a day to repair it, then another few hours to flush the pipes out and pump it up my mountain. Spent most of my weekend coffee-less!
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    How I missed this previously I don’t quite know.

    Prepayment meters will always cause problems and Smart meters have issues too, so I don’t see Smart PAYG as a great solution.

    And E.On Next can’t change the metering on their own without the rest of the industry, and that will be years downstream.

    so it’s really about how to streamline the reporting of issues and then the rectification of those issues, with customers being off supply of either fuel being top of the list for an engineer. Ensuring engineer capacity to meet emergencies is of course key.

    Thats easy for me to say, much harder to implement, but unless management accept the need to change any drive that change, nothing much will happen. Linking bonuses to dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction would do wonders.
    Current Eon Next customer, ex EDF, Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • Tiberius's Avatar
    Level 9

    Good luck on getting an answer from the so-called helpline!

    I'm on dual-fuel prepayment meters. Way back on October 7th I had problems with my electricity supply which, to save time, I won't go into but STILL hasn't been resolved. I spent about 3.5hrs on hold to be eventually told totally wrong answers which caused more problems.

    Anyway, early this morning (12th December) my gas ran out so I went to top it up and couldn't. All I got was bright green screen with a message saying "call help". So I did. I tried the 08085015200 and 08085015088 but, after 3hrs, still no answer.

    So I went to the Eon social media site using Messenger. I actually got someone almost straight away and explained my situation and, after answering a few questions about my prepayment meter and sending a photo of the meter screen, they said they would try to get through to the numbers I mentioned. That was over an hour and they are still on hold. So even the Eon reps can't get an answer!

    Its now 7pm. That's 11hrs since my gas ran out. No hot water, no heating, can't cook anything and it's now - 3°. So much for Eon caring about their customers.


    9.55pm. - 4°

    STILL no progress and now the Eon phone lines don't work.
    Last edited by Tiberius; 1 Minute Ago at 22:06. Reason: Update
  • Tiberius's Avatar
    Level 9

    The rep on Eon social media told me to call 08085015088 after 8pm as I was more likely to get an answer and the Eon website says that the numbers are available after 8pm.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    How I missed this previously I don’t quite know.

    My fault. I should have used the comrades tag rather than the team tag.

    I have spent most of the weekend on here mostly trying to advise PAYG punters on how to get credit, replace faulty keys or cards, proper procedures for using RTI numbers, and advising folks when their meters are kippered and need an engineer visit. Sadly, Customer Services and the out of hours emergency number have been a little swamped with trade, but there are a lot of customers who have been, quite literally, left in the cold.

    Very few electric crises however. Almost all of the issues have been gas related.

    Sure, we've also had our share of moaning from people who refuse to follow instructions or mess something up, but the majority of the problems have been meters simply failing. I would bet that a good proportion of failures have been caused by the cold snap...folks trying to get away with using as little heat as possible so the meters being subject to temperature swings they aren't used to, or being affected by condensation.

    This problem is not going to go away.