The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme is a government programme designed to entice consumers to take up small-scale low-carbon and renewable electricity generation technology. It requires licensed FiT suppliers to pay for eligible installations, which generate and export electricity.
While this scheme has benefited a lot of people, FiT customers from the troublesome Big Six supplier E.ON, have found several reasons to complain regarding the firm’s lacklustre services.
Two years after the scheme started, E.ON became the worst licensee out of all the energy firms under the FiT programme, based on surveys and reviews. Which?, a consumer website, found that over two-thirds (72%) of the firm’s members had reported issues with FiT payments.
The survey – involving some 1,700 respondents – also revealed that 1 in 5 customers with solar panels only received payments three months or more after they submitted readings. Complaints were mostly focused on the uncertainty of payments and the amount of time it takes to get paid.
On the other hand, smaller energy firms got better feedback from FiT members. It shows that large suppliers like E.ON have had trouble communicating effectively regarding payment expectations, which has led to frustration on the part of their customers.
In one complaint made online – and dating as far back as 2012 – one customer posted a grievance stating that they had to fill out a form they could barely understand. Months after filing out the application form, they had received no response from the firm. Upon contacting E.ON, the customer was informed that the supplier had received no such paperwork, and as a result the customer had to go through the whole process one more time.
The customer re-submitted the paperwork, but each time they contacted the firm to follow-up on its status, they were given different excuses.
A survey by YouGen.co.uk in 2012 revealed that E.ON had a poor or diabolical rating from its FiT members.
Common complaints from customers include delayed replies on email queries (81%), lack of knowledgeable staff (78%), and length of time it takes to receive payments (70%).
Out of all the E.ON customers who responded to the interview, only three said the FiT payment met the exact terms explained to them. On the other hand, 82% said that the firm was slow to pay after the customers submitted their readings. According to the survey, E.ON could pay money into eligible accounts as early as two weeks before your meter reading, or as late as twelve weeks after it.
One particular customer insisted that they did not expect to wait for months to receive a FiT payment when it cost them over £12,000 to install the solar panels.
While the previous surveys we’ve just talked about took place a number of years ago, it seems that E.ON’s implementation of its FiT scheme is still troubled. A more recent complaint by a customer revealed that they were not able to receive their FiT payment despite submitting a reading by the deadline.
The customer initially sent an email to which the firm did not reply. They decided to call E.ON, with the supplier informing them that a system check was needed before the customer could receive their payment.
However, the firm did not contact them again to schedule the visit, and the customer was left in the dark about whether they would still be paid after everything was sorted out.
A similar situation occurred to another customer who, upon contacting E.ON, was passed from one department to another. Although their FiT payment is small (around £2,000 per year), the customer believes that if E.ON let the practice of delaying payments continue, then a considerable amount of interest could be accrued on those payments.
E.ON customer Liz Johnson aired her frustrations on Facebook, recounting how E.ON sent her a letter stating that meter readings she submitted to the company were not accurate, and ‘out of tolerance’ because readings were too high compared to the customer’s previous readings.
Johnson’s updated post included a timeline of when they first submitted a meter reading, to the point where E.ON asked them multiple times to send photographic evidence of their meter readings. However, E.ON did not acknowledge any of the photos the customer provided.
These are just some of the problems encountered by E.ON’s FiT members, and more complaints are likely be aired as long as the firm doesn’t clean up its act as regards Feed-in Tariffs.