• Tullynessle's Avatar
    Level 4
    Very very bad service by Eon Next

    I wanted to contact the community to explain how badly I am being treated by Eon Next. I have been supplied electricity by Eon Next since my previous supplier Symbio went out of business in 2021. I am in my 70's, I live alone and have a serious auto immune system condition, so I am classed as Vulnerable and a priority customer in the event of supply or other problems. I live in a bungalow in Aberdeenshire. It was built in the 1980's and is fitted with an old mechanical electricity meter and a connected timer switch used to set the on and off times for the house storage meters.

    Back in May the timer switch stopped working. I reported this and requested repair/replacement. Next month a fault also developed with the electricity meter. Again I reported this and requested repair/replacement.

    It is now six months since I reported a fault with the electricity timer switch, and five months since I reported a fault with the electricity meter. Both items have still not been repaired or replaced, despite all my efforts to persuade Eon Next to do so.

    Due to lack of progress by Eon Next to repair or replace these items I eventually complained to the Energy Ombudsman. They were very understanding about my complaint, made a lot of effort to understand all the details, and decided in my favour.

    Their decision was announced on 20th September. They gave myself and Eon next until 4th October to accept or appeal the decision. Both parties accepted. Eon Next were given 28 days to take action - the first and most fundamental action required was to replace my electricity meter and timer switch within 28 days. That gave Eon Next until 1st November. As of 1st November the electricity meter and timer switch had still not been replaced, and no date for any such work had been announced. On 2nd November I complained again to the Energy Ombudsman and my MSP (My MSP and his office has been supporting me throughout, has written on my behalf to the CEO of Eon Next, and is prepared to write further letters if it will help me.) and of course Eon Next as well.

    As Eon Next did not seem to be in any hurry to help me as a customer and abide by the Energy Ombudsman's decision, on 2nd November I wrote a letter explaining my situation to the editors of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph, requesting they publish it. This was also copied to the CEO of Eon Next, the customer service department and the complaints department.

    Lo and behold, the next morning I received a text stating a technician would visit me on 24th November to install smart meter(s), no mention of a timer switch. An email followed later in the day as confirmation. It is clear to me that without my contacting the media I would still be waiting. Also, Eon Next management seem to think they can get away with not abiding by the Energy Ombudsman's decisions. On top of that, assuming a technician does arrive on 24th November, it will then be over seven months since my first report of a fault and a request for help.

    So today I contacted Ofgem. I explained my situation and asked whether they could take action against Eon Next if they consider they have failed to adhere to the performance standards within The Electricity and Gas (Standards of Performance) (Suppliers) Regulations 2015, any later versions of these Regulations, or other appropriate Regulations or Acts. Taking over seven months to replace a meter and timer switch surely cannot meet any performance standards in any of the relevant UK Regulations or Acts.

    I told Ofgem I am happy with the decision of the Energy Ombudsman. I do not wish or need any actions to be taken by Eon Next over and above those put forward by the Energy Ombudsman, (apart from doing things more quickly). What I would like to see, if it is possible, is Ofgem take some action against Eon Next, ideally prosecute and fine them. I also volunteered to assist if I can.

    My experience since 2021 indicates Eon Next are good enough at selling electricity and billing. However, they are not interested in maintenance of equipment owned by themselves and sub contract such work to local Contractors. As a result customers are short changed and failed by Eon Next. Sadly I cannot get away from Eon Next until my meter and timer switch are repaired/replaced.

    Finally, if you have a maintenance issue with Eon Next, you will only get anywhere by complaining to the Energy Ombudsman, getting help from your MP or MSP and especially the media - you have been warned.

    Eur. Ing. Geoff Westmoreland B.Sc., C.Eng., MRINA
  • 17 Replies

  • JoeSoap's Avatar
    Level 91

    Your tenacity has paid off. I salute you. Have you contacted Eon Next to ensure they plan to change the timer switch at the same time they swap the meter(s)?
    I'm an Eon Next dual fuel customer with no particular expertise but have some time on my hands that I am using to try and help out a bit.
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91

    Sorry to hear of your experience, which of course should not have happened like this at all. Unfortunately the service you have been given is non existent..

    Has your meter actually been recording any consumption? If it hasn't then the period consumption will have to be estimated, which gets you into another potential dispute with eon Next.

    Are you certain that the timer switch for operating the storage heaters at the correct time is actually the responsibility of Eon Next? Their liability normally extends only to the actual meters. Our experts, including @retrotecchie, will be able to shed more light on this when they're available (volunteers have no set times!). If the timer switch is not an Eon Next responsibility then a local electrician will be needed to fit another one. We've had a number of cases of issues with 2 tier (charge levels) meters in the past and their wiring and switching arrangements. But I'm not an electrician so I'll defer to those with more knowledge and experience.

    The volunteers here will do all they can to help, but we don't work for the company and cannot order things for you.
    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.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    I can guarantee that the time switch was not installed by E.On Next and I'm pretty sure it is technically not part of their equipment responsibility. I am assuming that an installation carried out in the 80s (and I'm guessing it's in Scotland) would have been carried out under the auspices of Scottish Electricity, long before privatisation and competition in the electricity market. In those days, the regional electricity boards would not only be responsible for supply and metering within their operating areas, but would have had divisions responsible for cooking appliances and electrical heating systems.

    The ball was dropped when the market was opened up and suppliers could compete for business outside their original regions. The supply side of the market became a free-for-all, but none of the legacy operations (contracting, installations and domestic heating) were ever migrated to new operators.

    As far as legacy systems go, without a trail of paperwork confirming that ownership and responsibility for anything forward of the meter tails has been migrated to each new are basically on your own if a timeclock or complex metering/heating system goes norks northwards. The exception to this is Radio Teleswitch Service which IS the responsibility of the metering company/supplier. If you have a mechanical timeclock (e.g Sangamo or Smiths) then this is part of the heating system and not actually part of the metering system.

    I have done a lot of work on old Southern Electric systems in the South of England and, even back in the mid 90s, the timeclock and heating systems were not part of the suppliers responsibility unless you stayed with the original company that installed the system in the first instance. That means SSE in it's current guise if you have a system originally installed by Southern Electric or Scottish Electricity. Once you migrate to another supplier, unless they stated in writing they took responsibility for such ancillaries, it becomes the responsibility of the customer.

    But, if the ombudsman had deemed that E.On Next are responsible for sorting it out now the meter has failed, then they can easily install a five terminal smart meter to address the problem. What they cannot do is replace any standalone timeclock as it isn't 'standard' equipment as far as meter installations go.
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 04-11-23 at 18:13.
    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.
  • Tullynessle's Avatar
    Level 4
    The timer switch is directly connected to the meter. Both were installed when the house was built back in 1985. Both are owned by whoever supplies my electricity. This has been confirmed by all my electricians who will not touch it because of this.

    The contractor's technician who came out once before buggering off without achieving anything had never seen a timer switch, had no idea what it did. Let alone how to repair or replace it. His supervisor in the office was clueless as well. Not surprisingly, they also had no replacements and no equivalents in stock. Incredibly. I had to explain to the technician how it worked three times before he sort of got it. The only thing he seemed to be able to do was fit a simple smart meter. A competent electrical technician and contracting company - I think not. Says a lot about Eon Next's standards.

    The economy 7 meter stopped registering daytime usage, so you can understand the problem that has caused. However, I have been taking meter readings every two weeks for years, so I know my usage quite well. Also I have been away for 3 weeks during the summer, so daytime and night time usage was identical during this time. The Ombudsman also told Eon Next to base consumption for other periods on last years usage. Not ideal but fair enough.

    The same dimwitted contractor's technician will no doubt return at the next visit and will be incapable of doing anything with my timer switch. So potentially an impasse for the seventh month in a row.

    I have emailed them a photo of my internal electrical cabinet and explained where fairly standard dial type timer switches could be fitted, assuming no direct replacement of my existing timer is available. (But I've seen similar for sale online.) Whether this was passed on is anybody's guess, . The storage heaters are on two separate house circuits. Each circuit has the equivalent of a consumer unit downstream of the existing timer switch, which is downstream if the meter. If a simple standard dial type timer switch, can be fitted downstream of each of these two consumer units the problem would be solved. They would have to work beyond the limit of Eon Next's legal responsibility, but I have no problem taking responsibility. Sadly, if he contracting company, and also who they report to in Eon Next, are an inflexible bunch of box tickers, they will be incapable of doing this. I will send this note to them again, and ask them to pass it on to the contractor.

    The Ombudsman has my back, and my MSP's office are falling over themselves to write as many letters for me as they can. Unfortunately, the devil is in the detail. Ho humm. Actually I just decided I will visit the contractor and talk it through with them in detail. Can't hurt. Cheers Geoff
  • Tullynessle's Avatar
    Level 4

    Thanks. I have to assume you are correct. The Energy Ombudsman has told Eon Next they need to replace both the meter and the timer switch, so in theory I have some leverage.

    I now intend to take pictures of the equipment and electrical cabinet and visit Eon Next's contractor and talk through what they can do in detail. In practice Eon next have just been getting in the way.

    I will contact Ofgem and see if they can tell me who is responsible for my timer switch.

    I have a 40 page long list of email correspondence with Eon Next, which I gave to the Ombudsman. This included many from me to customer services, quite a few to the complaints department and also the CEO. I never got a reply from the complaints department, got 3 automated "someone will get back to you" from the CEO, and tellingly nothing from anyone with any technical background, such as in a maintenance department. All replies were from non technical agents in a customers services call centre.

    Thanks again
  • DebF_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    Hiya @Tullynessle, I'm sorry to hear of your experience with us it sounds like you haven't had the best service and it's sad to read this is the situation you've been left in. I'm glad that you now have an appointment sorted out so hopefully things are starting to move forward for you now.

    The engineers did have a force majeure situation recently due to the bad weather in some parts of Scotland. I can imagine this will have caused some delays due to appointments having to be rescheduled etc, this may be why your appointment seems to be so far away. I know it's not ideal having to wait and again I'm sorry this has happened. Fingers crossed though that the appointment will run smoothly and it will all be resolved for you on the day.

    It would be great if you could keep us all updated and let us know how you get on with the appointment 😊
    "Green is the prime colour of the world and that from which it's loveliness arises"-Pedro Calderon De La Barca 🌳

    E.ON Next Poll - How much do you know about the Priority Service Register? - If you have a spare 2 minutes 🕑 we'd love if you complete our poll about the Priority Service Register 🤗
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    I now intend to take pictures of the equipment and electrical cabinet...

    Oooh. If you'd care to post pictures in here, I'd certainly be rather interested. I am very au fait with E7 and complex heating systems in the South of England and have converted many 'legacy systems' over the years, as well as replacing many a time switch. I've never heard of one being connected directly to the meter before. That is very unusual and although it will be a direct electrical connection, the normal procedure is to use Henley blocks to split the meter between the standard consumer unit and any timed off-peak circuits. That is because the demarcation point between the supplier/meter and the householder is the Henley block on the downstream side, which is why I'm puzzled that your electricians refuse to get involved. Anything forward of the block is fair game. But you may have a two input time switch (L and N) with three outputs (L, Switched L and N) but these are a very rare beast indeed. But a picture is worth a thousand words, just to satisfy my engineering curiosity if nothing else!

  • Tullynessle's Avatar
    Level 4

    Many many thanks for your reply. I was told by our current electrician that the meter and the timer switch were directly connected. I will take new detailed pictures of the cabinet tomorrow and attach them somehow. Maybe you can confirm what my electrician believes. I couldn't get any sense out of Eon Next's local contractor. Maybe I can also pick your brains on an idea I had. My storage heaters appear to be on two separate house circuits. Downstream of the timer switch (a Horstmann va mk9 qtz sel) are two consumer units for each circuit with a main breaker (obviously separate from the upstream main house consumer unit) I was wondering if Eon Next's contractor still cannot fix or replace my very old obsolete timer switch, would it be possible to install inline sockets downstream of these two consumer units and then plug in simple standard dial type timer switches to control the supply to the two storage heater circuits? I will send a photo to help. Many thanks for any help or advice. It has been impossible to talk to anyone in Eon Next at this level of detail. Regards Geoff