what is up with the electricity companies?


As you may know, we moved house recently.

At the old house, my electricity was supplied by Eon. I never had any problem with them, so decided to transfer my account to my new address. I had already applied for their Warm Home Discount scheme when I moved. When I called after the move, I was told that because Eon didn’t supply the electricity to my new property, my Warm Home Discount application would be disregarded as there was no active account – and it would take at least six weeks to transfer my supply at the new address.

The supplier at the new address was SSE. The flat used to have night storage heaters, so the meter here is Economy 7. For those who don’t know, Economy 7 meters give you cheaper units between midnight and 7am, but you pay through the nose for daytime electricity. Useful if you have night storage heaters; crippling if you don’t.

So I have two issues now: I need my meter changed from Economy 7, and I need to apply for Warm Home discount. And I need to do both, as soon as possible.

I was told it would take a minimum of 6 weeks for my account to be transferred over to Eon, and I would be unable to apply for the Warm Home Discount scheme until it was transferred. I decided to stay with SSE, and booked an appointment for an engineer to come out and change my meter. I was disappointed to find that there were no available appointments for a couple of weeks. I was even more disappointed to find a voicemail on my mobile a few days before the appointment, saying that actually, that appointment was cancelled and a new one had been booked for two weeks’ time – more than a month after I moved in.

To add insult to injury, I then received an application form for the SSE Warm Home Discount scheme in the post, and found that their scheme is only open to people on Income Support, Jobseekers’ Allowance or ESA – basically, if you’re in work, stuff you, you don’t get any help. SSE has clearly never heard of the concept of “the working poor.” I was unable to apply.


At this point, infuriated by the delays in changing my meter, and financially crippled by the amount this was costing me, I decided to cut my losses and go back to Eon – I knew I qualified for their Warm Home Discount scheme, and they had told me they could change my meter over by sending a message through my electricity key – no need to book an appointment for someone to come and physically replace the meter.

When I spoke to Eon, I was told I could also apply for the Warm Home Discount immediately; they would send the paperwork out, and it would go through once my account had been transferred.


A few days later, I received a letter from Eon telling me that I can’t apply for their Warm Home Discount scheme, because they don’t supply my electricity. The scheme usually closes around this time of the year. Without that Discount payment, this Winter will be just as tight as if I were to stay on Economy 7 all Winter.


When I chased Eon about this, I was told they can’t do anything at all until December 8th, when they will be my supplier. I do not understand why it takes so long to transfer the notional supply of energy from one incompetent system to the next. By the time I get my meter changed, I will have lived here for two months. And I will likely have no money left.

At the time of writing, I have £3 in my bank account. I have been wearing layer upon layer, avoiding using the heating or lights as much as possible. I cannot afford to keep putting credit on this key meter which is charging me ridiculous amounts – it’s costing me more than £20 a week at the moment. I am a single parent living on a tight budget; I don’t have more than £20 a week to spend on electricity; I’ve barely even started my Christmas shopping. The rent in this flat is higher than the old place, so I’m already down on the amount of cash I have. To be now faced with ridiculous electricity bills because the suppliers can’t organise their way through the process is nothing short of infuriating.


I moved house over a month ago. I am still waiting for my meter to be changed, for my account to be moved, for my Warm Home Discount application to go through.


It’s 2014; I cannot believe anything should be this hard – or stressful – to sort out in this day and age. Moving my TV and Broadband service was a walk in the park compared to this.


I do not have savings. I do not have other sources of income, relatives from whom I can borrow money, investments, my own private generator. Don’t families have enough to deal with these days, without massive companies like this shitting upon us from a great height?


Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.

1 Comment

Isobel Morrell (@Coldhamcalling) · 28/11/2014 at 21:46

Do have great sympathy with you – and guess what, the suppliers involved were/are the same as the ones you’re involved with. Afraid it does take that time to change things. In my case, I moved into Economy 7 (fortunately with night storage heaters). I’d wanted to stay with the special elderly programme run by SSE – alas, that is now not available because the flat I’ve moved into has two different sources of electricity (both supplied by Eon, but not by SSE) so I’m stymied and have to stay with Eon. Fortunately, was able to meet the interim costs: I’d advise you get in touch with the Electricity Ombudsman, and see what they suggest.

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