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Help for a first time bill payer

posted by MarinY | 12 months ago

Starting to live on my own was stressful, and it still is. I have a few simple questions that i just can't seem to find the answers for. If anybody would be so kind as to help it would be much appreciated.

1. ScottishPower bills my account monthly for pretty much the same amount, no matter what I use. Would this ammount stay the same even in the winter, or will it change. If it would change, how should I lower my bills now.

2. Where can I see my bills. I am not getting emails or letters to my house, I am just seeing the money taken from my account. When I open my bill in the website it's just stated that it will be avaliable next year, but I have not chosen a yearly plan or anything like that.

Any kind of tip would be appreciated Smiley Happy

-Mark.

1 comment

posted by Jonnel | 12 months ago
Re: Help for a first time bill payer

1 - It all depends on which tariff you've opted for because different tariffs require different payment methods, different  amounts and payment periods. This should have been made clear to you from the start, so if you have any e-mails or paperwork (including the dreaded smallprint leaflet) please read them. If you don't have anything, you could contact SP on a webchat and get them to tell you or post the details to you.

If you've set up a direct debit then it looks like you could be on a similar type of tariff to me - I pay (supposedy) the same amount each month year round, despite what I use, so my balance builds up a credit in the summer when I don't use much but which gets eaten up pretty quick in the winter when I flick the heating on. The benefit of this is that my energy bill is the same each month for the year, rather than me getting hit with an unexpcted huge bill at Christmas. The downside of the DD method is that SP will invariably increase your bill even before winter starts to ENSURE you are paying enough to cover the actual cost. The best and easiest way for you to manage this is to SUBMIT MONTHLY METER READINGS. This is important because it means they don't (or shouldn't) ever have to estimate a bill. Estimated bills are usually where it all goes pear-shaped.The other important thing being - KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BALANCE via your online account - SP will increase your DD to keep you in credit, but don't let it build up too high. You can request a refund if it gets high on your account page, but there's no point in asking for all of it back as you need some inthe account to cover your higher winter bills.

2 - I like to submit meter readings every month, as it generates a bill and keeps me square with my balance. You have to submit readings to claim a refund or alter your DD amount anyway, so it keeps the bills regular. Your current usage/bills/ dd amount/entering meter readings/everything else is displayed on the 'account summary' page of your online account. If your online account is saying things like 'your bill is not available till next year,' but you believe you haven't taken a yearly tariff, you need to contact SP to get that remedied. If you've opted for paperless billing, your online account is your best bet for keeping tabs on usage/billing etc, as the webchat and phonelines are unreliable.

Overall, if you make sure you submit regular ACTUAL meter readings, and keep tabs on your balance you should be fine.