How your account balance works
Learn everything you need to know about how your account balance works, with info on charges, Direct Debits, and much more.
Your account balance: the basics
At OVO, we want everything to be as easy and accessible for our members as possible. And that includes understanding how your account balance works. Think of your energy account balance like a pot of money. Every month:
- You put a set payment in
- We take out the amount you owe (and send you the bill)
Some months, we might take less than the set payments you put in, because you didn’t use as much energy. This would result in you having a positive balance. Other months, we might take more from the pot, because you used more energy. This could lead to you having a negative balance. But don’t worry – this usually all evens out over your 12-month billing period.
The aim is for you to have a zero balance at the end of 12 months. That way, you won’t have to pay us any extra.
What am I paying for?
Your account balance is made up of 4 main charges:
- The cost of the amount of energy you’ve used, plus VAT – this is measured in pence per kilowatt hour (kWh)
- The standing charges – this is a daily fixed amount that covers the cost of your connection to the grid, as well as general maintenance
- The cost of any upgrades
- Any extra charges
How do seasonal changes affect my account balance?
Of course, it’s generally darker and colder in winter, and lighter and warmer in summer. So it stands to reason that your bills are usually higher in winter, when you want to keep your home cosy and comfortable.
Keep those bills down this winter with our useful guide to the cheapest way to heat your home. And if you want to understand more about how your energy bill works, read our useful guide.
Your Direct Debit charge
This is the amount you’ll pay by Direct Debit. It can be charged either monthly or quarterly, on the date you prefer. If you’d like to find out more about how Direct Debit payments work, check out our handy guide.
Did you know you can manage your bills online via your online account, or by using the OVO app? This way you can quickly:
- View and download bills
- Manage payments
- Send meter readings (although if you have a smart meter, this isn’t usually necessary)
- Change Direct Debit amounts
How do I get a refund?
There are 3 situations in which you can get a refund when you have a positive balance. They include if you’re:
- Moving home – visit your My OVO account and let us know your final meter readings, and your new address. If your account is in credit, we’ll get a refund to you within 14 working days of your final statement.
- Switching supplier – once your new energy supplier has sent us your final meter readings, we’ll send your final statement. You’ll get the refund straight into your account within 14 working days from the final statement.
- Staying with OVO – you can ask for a refund if your balance is £25 or more. Otherwise your positive balance will roll over to the next month.
To find out more about how to get a refund in each of these scenarios, take a look at our refunds help page, or check the OVO Forum.
A working example of a customer account balance
To make things even easier to understand, here’s an example:
The Smith family pay £80 per month as a Direct Debit. Their account balance per month shows:
- £70 of electricity and gas each month
- A standing charge of 20p per day = £6 a month
- VAT at 5% = £3.80
So the total per month is £79.80.
Making their yearly total £957.60
This means that by the end of their 12-month billing cycle, their account is on track to have a positive balance of £2.40.
Does that sound like a hefty bill to you? Or are you paying a lot more? Discover more about average UK energy bills, and why your bills might be too high. Then learn our top 14 ways to cut your electricity bills!
Popular questions about account balances
Why does my account balance always change?
Your account balance works much the same as online banking. As you use gas and electricity, the balance will change. If you have a smart meter, you’ll see your gas and electricity use change regularly as you use it – and your balance will change accordingly.
And if you’ve a traditional meter, you’ll only be able to see your daily standing charges until you submit a reading. Once that’s happened, you’ll be able to see your gas and electricity use – and your balance will then change accordingly.
What should I do if I’m having difficulty paying my bill?
Don’t worry – this happens to thousands of people across the nation at some point. The best thing to do is let us know as soon as possible, so we can work out a payment plan. Read all about the help available if you’re having trouble with bills, in our guide.
Any further questions?
We understand that learning about your account balance can sometimes be a little tricky – so if you need a hand, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There’s more help available in the OVO Forum. And if you don't find the answers you need, feel free to ask a question, and one of our forum users will be happy to help!
And remember, if you really can’t find the answers you need, then give us a call. We know your time is precious – which is why we guarantee not to keep you hanging on. Our current call waiting time is under a minute9.