Paying by Direct Debit is the easiest way to budget and pay for your energy bills throughout the year. Our aim is to spread your payments out evenly, and keep your account balance as close to zero as it can be by the time of your annual review. We do Direct Debit reviews at least twice during a 12 month period to help make sure you aren’t paying too much or too little for your energy.
Below, we’ll explain what a Direct Debit review is and how they work. You’ll also find information about the most common reasons we may change your Direct Debit payment, and how you can view and change payments yourself by logging in to your account online. And don’t worry if you don’t have an online account, it takes just a few minutes to get set up.
What is a Direct Debit review?
During your Direct Debit review we look at what you’ve used in the past and your latest meter readings to work out how much energy we think you’ll use and its cost. We call this your energy forecast. We then divide this cost up and spread it across the year in a number of regular payment amounts. We sometimes call this your payment plan.
The amount of energy you use can vary throughout the year. You’ll usually use less energy during the warmer months, so you may find a credit balance builds up. But this will then likely reduce when you use more energy during the colder months. The aim of the Direct Debit review is to make sure that your payment amount will leave you with a balance of zero by the time of your annual Direct Debit review.
My Direct Debit payments have changed – why?
Your payments may have changed following our review of your energy usage and current Direct Debit payment plan.
There are many reasons why we may change your Direct Debit payments:
- You’ve built up a large credit or debit on your account and we need to adjust your Direct Debit payments to reduce this.
- Your meter readings show us that your forecasted energy usage is higher or lower than what we previously thought it would be.
- There's been a change in your circumstances – this could be that you have recently moved or that the electric appliances you use in your home have changed.
- Energy prices have changed - your energy usage is the same, but we’ve had to adjust your Direct Debit payments to cover a price increase or decrease.
- Your fixed tariff has ended – if you leave or start a fixed energy tariff, the cost of your energy may increase or decrease. We need to take this into account when setting your Direct Debit payment amount. Are you on the best tariff? Compare our gas and electricity tariffs.
- We’ve got a better idea of your actual energy usage – if we don’t have a full history of your energy usage, we’ll have forecasted what you use based on the size of your home and how many people live there. Once we’ve had regular meter readings from you, we may adjust your forecasts in line with what you’re actually using.
If you think you’re going to be using more or less energy in the future, then you can change your Direct Debit amount online by logging in to your SSE online account. If you don't have an online account, it takes just a few minutes to set one up. With an online account, you'll be able to view your energy usage online.
How can I change my Direct Debit details?
Frequently asked questions
How often do you review my Direct Debit payment plan?
We review the amount of energy you use as well as the amount you’re paying for your energy at least twice during a 12 month period.
We may change your payment plan to make sure your payments cover the amount of energy we forecast you’ll use. If we need to increase your Direct Debit payments, we'll let you know 14 days before it changes. You can view and change your Direct Debit payment amount by logging in to your SSE online account. If you don’t have an online account, it takes just a few minutes to set one up.
What is the Direct Debit Guarantee?
The Direct Debit Guarantee gives you three important safeguards when setting up a Direct Debit:
- We must let you know in advance how much we'll take from your bank and on which date.
- You're entitled to a full and immediate refund if there's a mistake in your Direct Debit payment.
- You can cancel your Direct Debit at any time. For more information about the Direct Debit Guarantee, visit the Direct Debit Guarantee website.
How do you work out my payment plan?
We do our best to predict how much energy you'll use throughout the year. We do this by looking at what you've used in the past and your latest meter readings. Giving us regular meter readings helps make sure you’re not paying too little or too much for your energy.
Does what I use over the year affect my payment amount?
We try to even out your Direct Debit payments over the year so that you don't get any surprises in your energy bills. There are a few factors we think about when working out the amount of your Direct Debit during your review. One of these is that you’re likely to use more energy in the colder months to keep your home warm. Ideally, you’ll build up credit via your Direct Debit payments over the warmer months that covers your higher energy usage during the colder ones. So even though the weather may be changing outside, your Direct Debit review should mean you can relax knowing you’re paying the right amount for your energy.
It’s also possible that your energy needs may change from time to time as you get new electrical appliances or upgrade to efficient energy ones. You may also have recently completed a new extension on your house, or someone has moved out. During your Direct Debit review, we should be able to see if your energy needs have changed by looking at your most recent meter readings. We’ll use this to help work out your energy forecast as well as your regular payment amount.
I'm on a fixed tariff – why are my Direct Debit payments changing?
On a fixed tariff, the price of your energy is fixed. That means the unit rate and the standing charges you pay for your energy will stay the same for the length of your contract. But the amount of energy you use in your home can still change. If your forecasted energy usage has increased or decreased when it comes to your Direct Debit review, we might lower or raise your payments to keep you on track.
Can I lower my Direct Debit payment amount?
Your Direct Debit payment plan has been worked out based on your forecasted energy usage over a period of time, taking into consideration that you’ll likely use more energy in the colder months. If you change your Direct Debit payment to an amount lower than what we recommend, you could end up with a debit balance to pay by your next review. If you think you’re going to be using more or less energy in the future, then you can change your Direct Debit amount online by logging in to your SSE online account. If you don't have an online account, it takes just a few minutes to set one up.
What happens if I owe SSE money?
As part of the Direct Debit review, we’ll set your Direct Debit payment to both cover the amount you owe us as well as the cost of the energy we think you’ll be using. Spreading out the payments of what you owe across the remaining term of your Direct Debit, should allow you to get back to a balance of zero by the time of your next annual review.
One of the best ways to save money on your energy bills is by reducing the amount of energy you use at home. For more information about how you can save energy at home and help the environment at the same time, visit our saving energy at home page.
If you think you’re going to be using more or less energy in the future, then you can change your Direct Debit amount online by logging in to your SSE online account. If you don't have an online account, it takes just a few minutes to set one up.
What happens if SSE owe me money?
We always put aside credit on your account, usually about the cost of one month’s energy. This amount helps with any changes in usage and costs over time. Any remaining credit (more than £5) will be automatically refunded through your Direct Debit at your review, providing it’s based on an actual meter reading.
We may need to increase your payments if your request a refund, as you will no longer have the credit reserved for your future costs.
If you’re a standing order or budget card customer, you can contact us to see if you're eligible for a refund.
What if I can't afford my payments?
How can I change my Direct Debit details?
Direct Debit jargon explained
- Direct Debit – A Direct Debit is a simple and easy way for you to pay your energy bill throughout the year. It's an instruction from you that allows us to automatically collect money from your bank account on an agreed date. If we need to change your Direct Debit payment amount, we’ll notify you beforehand.
- Direct Debit review – At least twice during a 12 month period we’ll look at your latest meter readings as well as your historic meter readings, to see if we need to change our forecast for how much energy we think you'll use in the coming period. Following this review, we may change your Direct Debit payments.
- Direct Debit payment plan – To spread your energy costs evenly over a period of time, we’ll work out a Direct Debit payment plan for you. Your plan takes into account your forecasted energy usage during the cold months of the year when you’ll likely use more energy, as well as the warmer months when you’ll probably use less. We use the Direct Debit payment plan to try to keep your Direct Debits evenly spread out.