Last year my electricity payments were supposed to be increased by £50 per month. As you can imagine I was not terribly impressed with this thought and declined to keep my direct debit in place.
I continued to pay the same amount as I had before but did it by debit card every month on payday. The payments were made without fail however because payment was not made by direct debit I was seen as a payment risk and got warning letters pretty much every month about being behind in the amount payable. I pretty much ignored them as I was paying £150 per month which for a 2 bedroom semi is quite sufficient I feel
Eventually after almost a year of this, the electricity company started threatening to cut off my supply and actually sent someone to the house to cut off the supply. I eventually went online and checked my readings etc.
It turned out that the reason I was so far behind in payments was that the last 3 readings had been estimates. I guess that’s what happens if you are working most days and not sitting in waiting for the meter reader.
On taking my own readings, the actual reading was less than the first estimate.
Obviously I called the electricity company and got this fixed, it turns out my monthly payment should only increase by £6 per month. Happy with that I set up a direct debit for that amount.
A few months later, I suddenly had less money available in my debit account than I expected. I went online to check it out and found that the electricity company had again estimated my usage and increased the payment to £208 per month instead of the £156 I expected.
I cancelled the direct debit and will again be paying by debit card each month. I will however be taking my own readings to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.
So the moral of the story is, if you have missed the meter reader a couple of times, you really want to be taking your own readings to ensure your direct debits do not skyrocket for all the wrong reasons.