A frustrated SSE customer has been left frustrated after the energy firm adapted an Energy Ombudsman ruling and decided not refund the £730 it had agreed to.
Johanna Jordan, from St Andrews, Scotland, took her complaint to the Ombudsman after she spent over a year trying to get SSE to investigate ‘very high’ electric and gas bills.
She was told she had a debt of £950 with her electric account and £650 with her gas.
Confused as to how this was the case, she took it to the Ombudsman, which helps resolve complaints.
Baffling: SSE said Johanna was in debt – then, after her case went to the Ombudsman, it transpired she was actually in credit
Within a week of this happening, SSE – taken over by Ovo Energy earlier in the year – admitted the bills were indeed incorrect and that she was actually in credit.
Johanna said: ‘I have been through hell and back trying to prove SSE were overcharging me on my electric and gas bills.’
An agreement was first offered through the Ombudsman by SSE and she agreed to the total of £815 – £730 of which would be in the form of a payment.
Johanna was told that the agreed amount would be paid within five working days, with £85 being held back for future bills.
After a week, she hadn’t received a payment or any contact from the energy firm so had to contact it.
Later that week, she was finally contacted by SSE who asked her to accept a much lower amount of £150 for the gas and £300 for the electric – £450 in total.
Johanna was told a mistake had been made, despite speaking to three separate customer service representatives prior to agreeing with SSE.
She said: ‘I am now feeling under pressure by SSE to accept the other amount and have been told I must set-up a direct debit. To be honest I want to change company and did tell them this.
‘I have been through so much upset and stress over the months of trying to come to a resolution of being over charged.
‘Now SSE is trying to go back on the agreement and bully me into accepting the above.’
An SSE Energy Services spokesperson said: ‘We’ve apologised to Ms Jordan for the error when calculating her gas usage and offered £150 as a goodwill gesture.
‘We’re following the Ombudsman procedures and awaiting their final decision.’
This would mean a £450 refund and £150 on top, or £600 in total.
SSE went back on the Ombudsman’s decision to pay back a customer hundreds of pounds
It calculated Johanna’s electricity usage between 17 July and 19 August 2020 to ensure it was not refunding her money that she would soon have to pay back when the next quarterly bill is produced this October.
It said she had used £75.06 of electricity, this was then taken from the credit and left a balance of £253.95 to be refunded.
With regards to her gas usage, when the agreement was first offered through the Ombudsman site by SSE Energy Services, SSE said it incorrectly calculated the gas usage between 17 July and 19 August 2020 and advised Johanna there was a credit balance of £494.41 on her gas account.
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This was also incorrectly updated to the Ombudsman. It became apparent after revisiting the figures, the available credit balance was not accurate and this was due to human error.
SSE said it contacted Johanna and advised her of the error and explained that no refund was due on the gas account.
Currently, the supplier is following the Ombudsman procedures and is currently awaiting their final decision, with the knowledge that it incorrectly calculated the credit on the account.
If Johanna accepts their final decision this will become binding on SSE as the supplier.
However, she is still concerned that she will end up having less refunded to her than she believes is right.
She said: ‘I don’t understand the point of the Ombudsman when SSE can completely disregard the agreement we had and make it out to be my fault again.’
Ovo Energy recently acquired SSE, meaning the supplier is now responsible for five million customers with Ovo Energy and SSE Energy Services operating alongside each other, serving their customers as the integration continues.
If you want to make a complaint about your energy firm, contact it in the first instance.
If you don’t receive a suitable outcome, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman on 0330 440 1624 or visit its website.