Ovo tells my 95-year-old mother she owes £31,554

At 95, my mother has never switched electricity supplier, and we were not expecting much to change when her account moved over from SSE to Ovo.

She has lived in the same small bungalow since 1949, and when I received an email in August about the changeover, I followed the instructions and created an online account. But when I logged in, it showed she owed £31,554.

Assuming this was a mistake, I contacted Ovo immediately. But instead of it going down, the balance had increased to more than £33,000 by the next day. Her heating is not on in the summer.

I decided to pay her final SSE bill for (a crazy) £729 and then contacted Ovo again.

In the days that followed, her account fluctuated from owing £13 to the mid-£20,000s. When it was a day with a low figure, I took the plunge and moved her account to Octopus Energy.

However, when Octopus emailed me to tell me my end-of-contract reading had been accepted, when I logged in, the amount owed was £9,736.

BG, Invergowrie

More meter mayhem from column regular Ovo.

When she was with SSE, your mother had a two-rate tariff with two meters – one for normal usage and one for storage heating. When she moved over to Ovo (it acquired SSE’s retail arm in 2020), it turns out that the latter’s reading was incorrectly inputted. This resulted in the crazy online balances (although, thankfully, she was never billed for these amounts).

Ovo says: “We’re very sorry for the concern the incorrect live balance caused. We have called to apologise and provided a goodwill gesture of £100.”

Your mother has received £628 – a part refund on her closing bill – as well as the promised £100.

Suffice to say, in the short period your mum was an Ovo customer, it made a big impression, and she is glad to have ditched it.

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