This is Stephen Fiztpatrick, the boss of OVO Energy, which is consistently rated as one of the worst energy providers in the UK.
Anyone unfortunate to have their gas and electricty supplied by OVO will know what a truly awful company they are.
In my experience, and the experience of thousands of other customers, they care only about profits and nothing about their customers who pay their wages.
Ovo has been fined nearly £9m for sending inaccurate bills over three years. My bills from OVO have consistently been wrong, always in their favour, of course.
While OVO was recording losses, he took a couple of million quid from the company to buy a mansion in the Cotswolds. Nice.
And Fitzpatrick faced questions over taking £17m in furlough money during Covid after making £40m of payments and loans to other Fitzpatrick companies
Money, money, money, that's all he cares about.
Anyway, here's a copy of my latest letter to him. I am no longer a customer of OVO, and if you have any sense, I would suggest you avoid the company like the proverbial plague. Octopus is a much better bet! A great company that cares about its customers, and is the only energy provider recommended by Which? magazine.
ATTN: STEPHEN FITZPATRICK
CEO OVO ENERGY
I have been having major problems with OVO over the past six months so as one Stephen to another I am reaching out to you directly in a last ditch attempt to reach a resolution before I take the matter to the small claims court.
I never chose to be an OVO customer - I was forced into doing business with your company when you took over SSE.
I am sure you are aware that in 2022, OVO Energy was ranked second worst (only behind Utilita) in customer service by Citizens Advice. I wanted to switch to Octopus - the only utilities firm that is recommended by Which? Magazine.
But before I could switch, OVO hit me with a demand for £33,000. OVO made a mistake when it migrated my account from SSE. I tried for three months to get your customer service people to resolve the issue, but failed. It was only when I approached the wonderful Helen Crane at the Daily Mail that OVO apologised, canceled the debt and gave me £100 in compensation. I have to say the £100 didn’t come close to reimbursing me for all the time and trouble OVO caused me.
You can read about that here - https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-11754135/Ovo-billed-33k-month-energy-use-two-bed-flat.html
I would have hoped that would have been the end of my problems with OVO, but I was wrong.
I put the flat on the market at the end of 2022. My daughter moved out at the end of December and the flat was unoccupied for most of 2023. I moved the furniture out in June and the new owners took over the property on July 2.
I supplied a meter reading when I moved out, and a photograph of the meter.
Unfortunately OVO refused to use my meter reading and insisted on using its own estimate - 9895. As a result OVO is claiming that I owe them money when in fact it’s the exact opposite - by my reckoning you owe me close to £600.
Latterly I have been corresponding with Simone Watts, who describes herself as an Advanced Resolution Specialist, which is nice, but while she is lovely to deal with she is as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot. This is one of her recent emails.
Simone never did get back to me as promised. In fact she has been on holiday for the last two weeks and no one dealt with her emails in her absence so I have been emailing into a void. I phoned on Friday and had a long conversation with another charming Advanced Resolution Specialist but she was unable to assist me and was not prepared to pass me on to a manager.
She did, however, tell me that according to her computer, I now owe OVO more than £500.
That is impossible.
The flat was empty for most of 2023, with OVO continuing to take more than £220 a month from me by direct debit. Over that period you took more than £1,300 from me with very little gas or electricity being used.
Take a look at the statement you sent on June 28 this year - I was almost £600 in credit.
How do I go from being almost £600 in credit to more than £500 in debt, when the flat is empty? No one at OVO seems to be able to explain that to me!
Look at this -
As you can see, OVO is using an estimated reading of 9895 to close the account.
The true final reading was 9723 - I photographed the meter to make sure there was no mistake!
The difference is 172 cubic feet. 172 cubic feet is equivalent to 5531 KWh. At a price of 10.9p per KWh, you owe me £602.88
I am clearly getting nowhere with your customer relations people, and I am reluctant to bother the Daily Mail again. My intention is to raise a claim in the small claims court to recover the money that you owe me. If you are unable or unwilling to resolve this to my satisfaction within 48 hours, I will raise the claim, and we can both explain to the court where we stand. Stephen, neither of us floated up the Lagan in a bubble, let’s put this to rest now. We both have better things to do with our time.