Which? survey reveals feed-in tariff payment woes

  • Pound coins

    A Which? survey has revealed serious concerns over FiT payments. Image credit: W.Warby/Flickr

More than a third of solar panel owners have experienced problems in getting their feed-in tariff payments in a timely fashion according to a new survey by Which? the consumer watchdog.

In a survey of 1,700 solar-owning Which? members, 36% indicated that they had experienced problems in receiving their feed-in tariff payments. The vast majority (82%) of those who said they experienced difficulties cited delayed payments as the problem – with one in five saying payments arrived more than three months later than expected.

The table below shows that full extent of complaints for each of the ‘Big Six’:

FIT payment times and customer satisfaction

Company

Customers who had problems getting their FIT paid (%)[1]

Maximum payment time [2]

Eon

72

None specified

SSE

46

None specified

EDF Energy

36

90 days from end of meter read month

British Gas

29

30 working days from receipt of meter read

Npower

20

60 days

Scottish Power

19

61 days

[1] The percentage of customers, per supplier, who told us they had experienced problems getting their FIT paid in a survey of 1,700 Which? members with solar panels in November 2012

[2] Specified in contract, FiT Terms or Terms and Conditions

Source: Which?

More than seven out of 10 Eon customers with solar panels installed have experienced problems in getting their feed-in tariff payments. Solar Power Portal was unable to contact Eon but in its report Which? said that the energy supplier acknowledged that it had had problems implementing a new automated system. The delayed payments were said to be a symptom of the spikes in demand that occurred when the tariff rates were changed.

A Which? spokesperson told Solar Power Portal: "A third of our members with solar panels have reported delays with FITs payments, with Eon and SSE customers experiencing the most problems. We want suppliers to pay people the money they're owed within the agreed time limit and for Eon and SSE to actually state the maximum time limit in their contracts."

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, SEE explained that it was one the UK’s largest FiT energy companies and that it prides itself on the level of service it provides it customers. A spokesman said: “We work hard to provide prompt payments and, although our terms and conditions stipulate that payments will be made within 65 working days, we aim to pay within 28 days.”

There are currently around 350,000 FiT-registered solar installations across the country. The consumer watchdog instigated the survey after receiving a number of complaints from its members who complained about late FiT payments.  

Have you or your customers experienced similar FiT payment problems? Let us know in the comments.

 

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