Shocking Switch No.1: Under the Bridge Studio

under the bridge studios

Under the Bridge Studio is home to Radio Free Brighton, the award winning community radio station, housing a recording studio, rehearsal rooms and a space for music lessons. BHESCo records a weekly radio show at their premises under the arches of the Bridge at Brighton Station.

Under the Bridge have been subject to a lengthy, frustrating and unexplainable switching process that we want to share with you telling NPower that their customer service is NOT good enough!

What was the switching problem?

Under the Bridge Studio wanted to switch their electricity supplier from NPower to Ecotricity in May 2013. They informed NPower of this in February 2013. In April 2013 NPower informed them that they could not switch supplier due to the notification being received later than the notice period specified in the contract so they were forced into another 12 month contract at a higher tariff.

In January 2014 Under the Bridge Studio informed NPower that they wanted to switch to Ecotricity, as their contract was due to end in May 2014, so this was in ample time. They also arranged a contract with their new supplier, Ecotricity.  In January 2014, NPower acknowledged the receipt of the termination letter and were told ‘you don’t need to do anything’.

However in March 2014 another letter was received informing Under the Bridge Studio that NPower had ‘prevented the transfer because although we’ve received a valid notice of termination from you, the present fixed term of your contract doesn’t end until 13 May 2014 and therefore your proposed new supplier has applied to take the supply too early’.

Under the Bridge were exasperated as they had informed NPower of the switch as advised and had received acknowledgement of receipt in January. They were also frustrated as they hadn’t been told when the correct time to inform NPower of switching should be. Additionally they were told that Ecotricity had not applied for the supply, which was incorrect. Finally on the third attempt of the year in June 2014, one month after the contract end date, the supply was moved to Ecotricity.

How was it resolved?

Ecotricity successfully gained the supply in June 2014, nearly 18 months after they originally wanted to switch to this 100% renewable energy supplier. The reason to why the objection was lifted was never clarified but we assume it was due to the notice of switching being received within the contractual period.  We are still unsure of why NPower held on for the additional month.

Lessons learnt

Make sure you know your contract length, when you are able to terminate the contract and the notice that needs to be given to do so. Seek clarification if you are unsure when this is. Keep a record of your correspondence both via email, over the phone or if you submit any queries via online contact forms.

Listen up NPower!

You need to listen to your customers and provide a real service.  If a customer wants to switch, you need to work with them to facilitate it, asking them why they are switching so you can improve your service for the future!

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