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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

We have registred with SSE in December 2015 , we are now in April and still waiting for a contract although we have contacted them on numerous occasions. We have been told they are a bit “behind” with all the paperwork and back log payments….. Not sure how everybody feels but I soo regret I wanted to do the right thing and spend so much money on something which just giving me sleepless nights… I am so upset about the complete lack of interest on their part to do anything about it.

Help! I don’t even know where to start. I had solar panels fitted in September 2014. I incorrectly thought the installer had sorted the FIT paperwork with the energy supplier. I found out in 2015 this was not so. I chased my energy supplier for forms to complete on a number of occasions and complained earlier this year. Regrettably, I have not kept on top of this. I finally received the form a few weeks ago and since completing it, I have been told I am not eligible for the FIT scheme as date barred? Now nearly £10k out of pocket. Installer ceased trading earlier in the year. What do I do? I feel well and truly stupid.

Hello Gillian, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about this, it sounds like a nightmare. So as you mentioned, for solar panels fitted before 15th January 2016 you would have needed to have registered these with your energy supplier by 31 March 2016.

But there are some options that you may wish to follow up on. Firstly, you may want to speak to your energy supplier and find out what caused the delay in issuing the paperwork, and what their complaints procedures are for this. Secondly, it would be useful for you to follow up with the Energy Savings Trust (http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/contact-us) to see if there’s any advice or means to register your solar panels. And thirdly, if you feel there’s a possible breach of contract with how your solar panels were sold to you by the installation company, then you may be able to use Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to get your money back if you paid for any of it using a credit card – more info here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act

Andy Rein says:
20 March 2019

Hello, I have exactly the same problem! I have the solar panels for 4 years now and never got a penny in FIT. Provide blamed paperwork and than they said we are out of date. Have you managed to sort something out since? Thanks, Andy.

I had Solar panels fitted to my home, 16 panels in total in January 2015 at the time I was with British Gas since March 2017 I changed to EDF, I have not received a single penny of feed in tariff. non of the companies bother to respond when queried, I am seriously thinking of legal action .

We bought a new house with solar panels already installed. I sent pages of information to BG 2 mnths ago.
I rang them this week and was told that though I had stated that we have 6 panels producing 2 KW in total, I hadn’t given the amount each panel produced. I naively said that surely it must be 2 KW divided by 6 giving 0.33 KW, but was told the goverment would not accept this as it is a recurrung decimal value.
Back to the builders for an answer (hopefully). Andy

Maggie Hughes says:
4 March 2020

I had a smart meter fitted at the end of August last year and since then all my bills have shown my FIT payments as zero, despite sending in my readings every month (which I shouldn’t have to do with a smart meter). The smart meter separate display does not work and the company don’t seem to be bothered to sort out the problem. Because of the way the new smart meter has been fitted, I now cannot access the fuse switches easily; I have complained and they said I would have to pay to have it moved.

Richard Sawko says:
6 April 2020

I submitted my latest readings on 21st March which is now 3 weeks ago. British Gas have not responded to my emails asking whether they have received it or when payment cheque will be sent through

John Edwards says:
1 July 2020

I’ve been receiving FIT payments since 2011 from British Gas. Last payment 23/10/19. Each payment received after an email asking for a FIT reading and me supplying a reading. No email since then. Email address link for British Gas enquiries can not be found after clicking on link. Date now 01/07/20. Anyone else suffering the same? Have British Gas stopped sending out requests for readings? If so a nice money earner.

Ray says:
17 July 2020

My last email from British Gas was 06/12/19. Nothing since then. I have just tried to submit a reading anyway here: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/feed-in-tariff

Perhaps they will still accept new readings but won’t send emails any more?

Gary Power says:
20 July 2020

Same for me, only just noticed I had stopped receiving the emails (was due one in March and another in June) I have just sent readings so lets see if a cheque turns up! It would not surprise me if it is something like furlowed staff in the department that deals with it!

Gary Power says:
25 July 2020

Update / got my British GAS fit cheque today, so although I have not had reminders for > 7 months, they still paid quickly after submitting readings.

We have the same problem my husband rang in his fit reading on the 4th of August only to be told that the account had been closed. We have been receiving regular payments every three months since 2012 with no problems , we are on a 25 year contract.We have made 5 phone calls to fit call centre (India) they all claim to be sorting it but to date nothing, is this a ploy by British Gas to save money? Our next step is our MP

Louise Jowett says:
29 October 2020

I have two solar installations which I have had for nearly 2 years. I received payment from British Gas for one meter after 4 months but never had any payment for the other. I am due payments for around 20 months on one meter and 16 months on the other and have submitted several readings during that time. I have gone through their complaints procedure and received an e mail 6 weeks ago saying I would get payment in 28 days. I am still waiting

Julie Scriven says:
15 December 2020

Same thing happened to me always had the same dates for years then all of sudden its changed and I’m with scotish power? More or less same dates as yours

Tony C says:
2 July 2020

SSE also appears to have ceased FIT payments or any response to on-line readings, accounts or emails questioning this. Their one contact phone appears constantly busy. I have submitted 2 readings for 2020 (latest 02 July 20) to a resounding silence and no payments. They are of course continuing to take my money by debit for my gas & electricity. As noted elsewhere, a nice little earner for them and causing me to have to top up money between bank accounts as the FIT payment goes towards other bills in my case. Clearly SSE have decided to cease any payments because they can, despite the same money coming in, even with the current situation for the rest us.

Tony – Do you think this might have something to do with SSE/Southern Electric having transferred their retail operation to OVO Energy recently, although they are still trading under the SSE names?

I am with Scottish Power and have not received payments now totalling some £1,300. My last payment receipt was in relation to a 2017 submission. My 2019 and recent 2020 submissions have not been paid. I have asked Scottish Power to make urgent contact with me, but am not having any luck.

alex &myra wilson says:
28 October 2020

Have been with B. Gas for years and have never had any problem. 0 K ,they dont send out reminders,all you have to do is go to the website and request a form online. Job done.

B Gas have not sent me reminders. I use the details from and old email to enter reading to their FIT web site. Money arrives within a week or so. MOST interestingly, I check their cheque against my calculation – it was 5p short this November. Comparing the rates against August: BG had REDUCED the rate payable by 0.01p. I have so far been unable to find any published figures for what the rate should be

Just found the correct figure from the OFGEM site – the latest figure from BG is correct, which means I was OVERPAID in August. I think I will keep quiet!

Interesting post this!
We moved into a property with a FIT set up in Mar 2019 and despite sending paperwork to transfer the account to ourselves back then we have still not been given a single payment and can never get through. Currently going through complaints with the intention of going to the ombudsman but can I ask anyone on here:

Anybody know if the fact that we haven’t sent any meter readings (as not been requested and unsure how to do) will mean we don’t get backdated payments? Do you have to have a reading every month as a record? We have 20 months of payment due…

PS Am with Utility Warehouse. Their excuse is they are transferring systems across… Yet do not return calls.

I handle my mothers affairs following the death of my father . Their FIT contract was transferred into her name. Despite regular submission of meter readings and a couple of phone calls in 2020 she has received no monies since spring 2019. All very frustrating and there is obviously a pattern here. I like the idea of writing to her MP- they have the ability to prod things a bit in my experience. Do not really want to go to the small claims court unless required but it sounds like the energy companies are dragging their feet on payments.

Roger Thornhill says:
1 April 2021

No quarterly email received from British Gas asking for FIT reading mid Feb. Having spent 30 minutes on the phone early April, and agreeing to have future payments paid into my bank account, I have been given a new installation number and details of how to submit future readings. Changing the reporting system without telling the customer is a good way of losing future business! Judging from other complaints, I am not alone.

Stephen Sampson says:
6 April 2021

Interesting. I’m trying to give my meter reading via the usual website and the system says that the Installation ID is not correct. Should begin with 50 and be 10 characters. Looking at your comment looks like this has changed with out British Gas not telling anyone.

mick barnett says:
10 April 2021

Hi I am hvng the same problem,have you found out why?

Mick barnett says:
10 April 2021

Hi. We’re you able to obtain a new 10 digit number from bg.Regards mick.

Frank Bacon says:
14 April 2021

I had same problem so used online chat. Was advised to send email with readings. They gave email address to use. Sent reading 7 days ago. Hopefully will get cheque soon.

I have emailed British Gas regarding the inability to put the reading in on their site which demands a number starting with 50 (mine is 95xxx) And posted on their facebook page and sent a message via FB – email: [edited]

[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove an email address. Please do not post personal contact details or other personally identifiable information – this is for everyone’s privacy. For more information see the Community guidelines]

HakanH says:
14 April 2021

E.On stopped paying my FIT payments back in 2017. Someone changed my bank account details with their own. I still havent got it resolved with E.On compaints department. Let alone they owe me the money, they are also ignoring my emails.