The most important changes to OVO’s terms and conditions, from 27 August 2020
Legal documents aren’t the most exciting read, so we’ve rewritten ours in a way that’s easy to understand. Thanks to the new terms, we can now bring you new products and services too.
This page tells you in detail about the biggest updates we’re making. But it’s important you read the new terms in full too. This way, you’ll know exactly how they’ll affect the way you manage and pay for your energy.
We make it clear when your contract starts. Generally, this is the day you ask us to supply your energy (Section 3.1).
We list the times you can be on something called a ‘deemed contract’. That’s when we supply energy to your home but you haven’t agreed with us that we’ll be your supplier. For example, if you move into a home we supply and start using energy, but you haven’t signed a contract with us (Section 3.2).
When you switch to us from another supplier, we’ll start supplying you as soon as possible, usually within 21 days. We clarify when it might take longer for us to do so (Section 3.7).
We talk about when we can ask you to pay a security deposit – how much this will cost, how it’ll be used, and when you’ll get your money back. If we ask for a security deposit and you don’t pay it, we may refuse to supply your energy (Sections 3.9 to 3.12).
We go into more detail on how our fixed plans work, and what happens when your contract ends. We also explain why the amount you pay may go up and down depending on your energy use. This can happen even if your unit and/or standing charge rates stay the same during your plan (Sections 4.2 and 4.3).
We introduce the concept of a ‘time of use energy plan’. This allows us to start offering plans that can incentivise you to use more energy at off-peak times – when there’s less demand on the National Grid, and energy is more likely to have a lower carbon footprint (Sections 4.2 and 4.4).
We’re always on the lookout for ways to improve our members’ experience. Thanks to these new terms, we can now bring you new products and services that do just that. This means your contract may include additional terms, on top of these new ones.
There’s new info on plans only available to certain members. For example, those with a smart meter, or those who pay by Direct Debit. These types of plans will have their own terms you need to agree with so you can sign up and stay on your plan (Section 5.4).
We’ll send all your communications electronically from now on. This includes bills, info on your account and price changes, and anything else we need to notify you about. Of course, this won’t apply if you’ve signed up for the Priority Services Register. Or, if you chose otherwise – in this case you may have to pay for postal services (Section 6).
In certain situations, we have the right to send mail to you by post.
We break down how we calculate the amount you pay us for your gas and/or electricity (Section 5.1).
We give more details on any non-energy fees we might charge you (Section 5.2).
From time to time, we may offer discounts, rewards and incentives. For example, if you pay by Direct Debit you may get a discount. To access these offers you’ll need to agree to additional terms. These will become part of your main terms and conditions (Section 5.3).
Changes to how and when you pay us
We explain when you’ll receive your bills and statements. This will depend on your type of meter, and payment method (Section 7.4).
There’s more detail on what happens if your meter doesn’t register your gas or electricity use – in which case, you agree to pay the amount of energy we believe you used (Section 7.5).
We clarify who will send you bills. You may receive them from any company that’s in the same OVO Group as OVO Electricity Limited, or OVO Gas Limited. Any company within the OVO Group may ask or collect payment from you – for any other company within the Group (Section 7.6).
You can read about how we’ll estimate your bill when we don’t have a meter reading from you – and how you agree to pay it (Section 7.8).
It’s now clearer when you have to pay us. So if there's no due date on your bill, you have 14 calendar days from the date the bill was issued to pay (Section 7.9).
There’s also more info on payment methods. As a general rule, you can pay your bills by Direct Debit, cash, cheque, card (online), or via your prepayment meter. But you may also sign up to an energy plan that requires a specific payment method. If that’s the case, we clarify this in your plan’s terms and conditions. It’s important to know you may not be able to stay on it if you don’t comply with its terms (Section 7.10).
Paying by Direct Debit
We set out a list of rules you need to meet when paying by Direct Debit – and explain what happens if you don’t. For example, if you fall behind with your payments, we can move you to a plan that doesn’t allow Direct Debits, where you may pay more for your energy. You might also lose any discounts you receive for paying by Direct Debit. We also tell you what you can do to put things right if this happens (Sections 7.11 and 7.12).
To protect you from paying a lump sum of debt at the end of your contract or plan anniversary, we can ask you to adjust your Direct Debit amount. And if you don't, we may adjust it for you so that you're paying the right amount for the energy you’re using (Section 7.12).
We make it clear that we have the right to stop your switch to another supplier if you still owe us money. You’ll need to pay off your debt first (Section 7.11).
When we can move you to a different plan
We now have the right to move you to a different plan if you don’t pay using the payment method you agreed to use. We explain that we can move you to a suitable plan offered by other brands within the OVO family (Section 7.14).
Who needs to pay
There’s a new section about who’s responsible for paying the bills. This is in case more than one person is named on the account (Section 7.15).
Our new terms are more transparent about what we can do if you don’t pay your bills on time. This includes moving you to a different plan that can be more expensive. If this happens, you may no longer benefit from upgrades and offers that apply to a specific payment method (Section 7.16).
You’ll find a new section on what your responsibilities are if you agree to a payment plan (Section 7.18).
Money you owe us
We specify the times we can recover payment for charges that are over 12 months old. Like when we’re still waiting for you to pay a bill, or if we think you may have acted unlawfully or unreasonably. For example, if you may have tampered with your meter (Section 7.19).
We explain how and when you need to submit readings.
We’re no longer responsible for taking accurate readings every 12 months. It’s now your responsibility to send these to us at least every 3 months – unless you have a working smart meter that does it automatically.
If we don't receive any readings from you, we can drop by to read your meter for you. We may charge you for this (Sections 8.1 to 8.10).
Providing a meter
We make it clear who is responsible for providing the meter, who owns the meter, and who’s responsible when things go wrong with it. This includes the pipes, wiring, equipment inside your home, and the meter itself (Sections 8.9 to 8.19).
When we need access to your property
To make sure your meter works safely and correctly, we sometimes need to access your property. We tell you exactly when. For example, to take meter readings, help fix your meter, or if it’s an emergency (Section 8.20).
Time of use meters
We introduce the concept of ‘time of use meters’, and explain how they work. ‘Time of use meters’ are part of the ‘time of use energy plans’ we talked about earlier. They supply electricity at different prices, at certain times, and/or for a set hours each day (Section 8.25).
When we can change it, and what you can do if those changes put you at a disadvantage
If we make changes to your contract which put you at a disadvantage, and you don’t agree with the changes we’re making, you can either switch to another energy plan with us – or to another supplier. You’ll need to do so within 20 working days of the change coming into effect. If this happens, you won’t have to pay any exit fees.
If you leave us because of a detrimental change we made and still owe us money, we can stop your switch – until you pay off your debt.
Here, we also call out specific times when you can’t switch away because of a change we made. For example, if your price increases because you’ve changed your payment method. Or, if we end or change our offers – or our non-energy charges (Section 9).
We clarify when you’ll have to pay an exit fee, and when you won’t. For example, you won’t have to pay an exit fee if you cancel your switch in your cooling-off period. Or, if you’re moving house, or you don’t agree with certain changes we made which put you at a disadvantage (Section 10.4).
When we can end your contract
We explain the situations when this may happen. This includes if you don’t comply with our terms, don’t pay your bills, or your behaviour is unreasonable (Section 11.1).
When your contract ends
There’s more info on this now. You now know exactly when you’ll receive a final bill – and what happens if you owe us money (or still have some left in your energy account) after you switch away (Sections 12.1 to 12.5).
We tell you exactly when you can get a refund, and when you can’t. Like when we’ve done everything to contact you and couldn’t reach you, or the refund is more than 12 months old (Sections 7.22, 12.5 and 12.6).
We no longer talk about how we process refunds here. Our Refund Policy takes care of how we deal with them, in more detail.
We clarify what we’re responsible for if things go wrong, and what we’re not. And we talk about the maximum amount we can pay you if you suffer any damage because of something we did (Sections 19.1 to 19.4).
We now have separate sections with additional terms that apply if you have a prepayment or a smart meter, get an upgrade – or enjoy one of our offers, or rewards.
If you have a prepayment meter
This explains what happens if you replace a prepayment meter (one that requires top-ups) with a credit one. Or, if we change our pricing and refunds for credit you haven’t used (Section 13).
If you have a smart meter
This is about who owns your meter and In-Home Display, and how we use the data your smart meter sends us.
This section also talks about how often you share your readings with us – including for plans that may require these to be shared at a specific frequency (Section 14).
If you get an upgrade – or enjoy any of our offers or rewards
This can be our Green Electricity, Green Gas, OVO Beyond upgrade – or any other upgrade or offer we have available from time to time (Section 15).
You’ll now find the terms for our Interest Reward here.
How will the new terms apply to you?
It’s simple. They’ll apply to you automatically on 27 August 2020, if you’re on a variable plan.
If you’re on a fixed rate plan, you’ll stay on the old terms until your contract ends. When it does, you’ll be on the new terms if you move to a variable plan, or you renew your plan after 27 August 2020.
Important to know We'd love you to stay with us, but if you're not happy with the new terms, you have the option to move to a different supplier.
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