Tory MP, Peter Luff, has criticised gas and electricity companies for putting up customers’ direct debits unnecessarily.
I can confirm this happens with Grittish Bass – I’ve had to tell them the last two or three times that they’ve sent a bill to reduce the direct debit because they’ve put it up for no reason. On one occasion they actually put the direct debit up while we were in credit.
The reason why they do it is quite simple – they invest the credit balances on accounts and pocket the profit. The direct debit amount is calculated by a computer which estimates how much gas and electric you’re going to use over the next quarter but of course, the computer will use whatever rules it’s been given to come up with a figure and the rules they’re using are coming up with artificially high figures.
There is a simple solution though – if your gas or electricity company sends you a bill with a revised direct debit that you think is unreasonable then tell them. I’ve certainly had no problems telling them how much I’m prepared to pay, you just need to be firm when they try and persuade you to pay what they want.