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Are you actually receiving your solar FIT payments?

If you invest in solar panels you could make money back on the electricity you generate through the Feed-in Tariff scheme. Sounds appealing, but what happens if your energy company fails to make the payments?

The Feed-in Tariff scheme was introduced in 2010 to encourage the use of low-carbon energy. For solar panel owners, it means that you can claim payments for the energy you generate, whether you use it yourself or sell it back to the national grid.

Since it was brought in, the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FIT) has certainly caused its fair share of controversies. It’s funded by a levy on energy bills, meaning that those who don’t have solar panels end up paying money to those who do. But if you took the plunge and installed panels, how easy have you found it to get hold of the money owed?

If you’ve installed solar panels within the last two years or so, it’s likely that by now you’ll be claiming FIT payments from your energy supplier. But despite the contracts in place, we have received a number of letters, emails and phone calls from solar panel owners saying that payments have been irregular, late and in some cases not made at all.

Losing out on solar FIT payments

Your contract should tell you when you can expect to receive your FIT payments, but might lean on terms such as ‘best endeavours’ and get-out clauses. One member I spoke to said that their supplier owed them £1,000 for electricity generated for the grid, most of which had been declared in their meter readings almost six months beforehand!

This is all well and good for the energy companies’ cash flow, but not so great for our wallets. While practice such as this could be protected by the contractual terms, it seems unfair that consumers should have to lose out to this extent.

We want to investigate these late payments and find out how common they are. If you have solar panels, how long do you generally wait for your payments, compared to what your contract says?

Comments
Kristian Allberry Keen says:
16 December 2021

Have been receiving FiT payments from BG for about 10 year and was always on time and worked well.
Just over 6 months ago that stopped (around the time they changed system and didnt tell us that we needed to use a different number) (twice its changed).
ive chatted to the chat bot person on the FiT web page (and they dont do FiT, but didnt tell me until i had wasted over an hour with them) > why have it as the help on the page then??
ive emailed many times (blanked and no responses)
There does not seem to be any phone numbers that i can find to get in touch any more.
i did chat about 4 weeks back and they said a check was in the post and any day should arrive and was for about £500 for the 2 last payments,
yes that was 4 weeks back and still no payment.
i have currently not had a payment in 7 months.

very sick of them to be honest.

Been with B gas for over 8 years and no problem with payments . In june 2021 tried to give meter reading and failed (had to get a new installation number) phoned and got a new number and gave meter reading told they owed me £1225 and cheque would be sent Five phone calls and 2 emails and still not received any payments ( told cheque must have been misplaced when phoned September a new cheque would be issued . waited until December ,phoned again and gave them bank details still no payment E-mailed again and reply said they were busier than usual and could take longer to reply . I now have another 7 months of generation to claim but am worried that if I give another reading it could complicate matters . I am beginning to thnk this is a ploy by B Gas to rectify its cash flow problems if this is happening to thousands of customers

Paul Wooding says:
2 January 2022

I have received a reminder from British Gas to submit my reading, but it arrived with a new installation ID. This caused me to be suspicious of the originating email, although it would appear to be bonafide.
Why have they changed numbers after 10 years? My immediate concern is that I was being duped and the FIT payment would be diverted to some other installation.
I can find no other way of submitting my FIT under the original Installation ID and I am reluctant to submit under the new ID number without getting a confirmation from BG.

Further to my comment in November, I did finally get my payment from SSE in the middle of December. It is a very long story, but suffice it to say that I gave them a fair bit of leeway regarding the timescales detailed in their complaints procedure and finally got confirmation that payment had been authorised and was being processed a day before I was going to write to the head of customer service as the final stage of the process. I never got any formal acknowledgement that I had lodged a formal complaint, let alone had escalated the complaint to the 2nd stage.

Farcically, their complaints procedure simply takes you to a normal phone agent and after about an hour or so of being passed from pillar to post they transfer you (or try to) to the FIT section your complaint is about in the first place. I’m not holding my breath that the payment for the reading I submitted mid December will arrive prior to my next reading being submitted.

Steve R says:
12 January 2022

I realised only yesterday that I’ve not submitted readings since October 2019 and that’s partly because I hadn’t received a reminders from Cooperative Energy since December 2019. When I rang the number on the last Email I received I discovered that Cooperative Energy now use Octopus Energy but the FIT accounts apparently had not been transferred over, apparently because OFGEM would not allow this, so they weren’t! So far Octopus Energy have been very helpful and provided me with a number for Cooperative Energy which I contacted. I was only able to get through to a receptionist however who then had to fill in a request form in order to pass onto the correct team to look at this.
There is apparently no way of contacting the team directly! Luckily I do have all my previous details stored including the last meter reading provided via E-Mail and FIT reference. My concern however is that my account has gone into a black hole, been closed even and I’ll have to start from scratch effectively losing out on over 2 years worth of payments! Not sure what if anything I can do about this if that happens because it certainly is not right but as we know life it seems is full of things that are neither right or fair at the moment! I will provide an update when I have one and in future will set my own reminder to submit meter readings rather than rely on darn electronic communication!

Bryn Walters says:
27 January 2022

We are with SSE and up until a couple of years ago they made FIT payments within a week or so of submitting solar readings. Now they fall back on their “we’ll pay within a quarter” contractual arrangement, which is fine except that they leave it until the last minute and then request a resubmission of readings or meter photographs to be sent to confirm and then they start the “quarterly clock” over again! They always send correspondence from “no reply” e-mail addresses to ensure that it is impossible to make contact. They don’t want to engage with customers.
Its becoming harder and harder to get them to stump up what they owe, which is so frustrating as if I owed them money they’d have the bailiffs around by tea time!

Chasing them is becoming a full time job – they’ve clearly found contract loopholes so that they can constantly buy themselves more time to avoid paying what is owed by re-starting the quarterly payment timeframe every time they ask a question. This is probably within the terms of the contract but hardly the spirit.