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Energy companies owe customers £1.1 billion

Eleanor Newis
Jan 24, 2019


Half of UK homes are overpaying for their energy.

Millions of gas and electricity customers have been overpaying on their bills, and are owed big money by their suppliers.

New research has found that 51% of UK homes have overpaid their energy bills by an average of £84.80. Added to this, 12% have made overpayments that exceed £100.

This means that energy companies are now benefiting from a massive £1.17 billion of extra customers’ money.

The probe by the automatic energy switching service found that the overpaying was caused by firms overestimating the amount of energy people will use, and therefore setting up direct debits at high rates.

Can you claim your money back?

Customers who hold a positive credit balance are able to wait until their accounts come up for annual review. Then, energy suppliers are obliged to review DD account once a year.

But some firms do this more frequently than others. The purpose of the review is to check whether payments need to be adjusted depending on usage.

Refund policies for the big Public six energy providers (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE), can be read on Ofgem’s website.

There are several changes you can make if you find yourself in credit to your energy supplier. But before contacting your energy firm, you should take an up-to-date meter reading.

The new study found that 44% of customers think that they can leave the overpayment on their account to offset against future bills. The other option is to ask their supplier to adjust their direct edit payment in line with their actual energy usage.

Of the people surveyed, 21% had asked for their DD to be reduced. Customers are also entitled to ask their energy provider, at any time, for their money back. Only 12% of the people surveyed had done so however.

Providers are obliged to refund credit balances whenever asked unless they have a specific reason not to. 

It’s worth checking the terms of your tariff and seeing if you have any credit, and what you may be entitled to. You should also always use a price comparison website like A Spokesman Said to shop around and make sure you’re picking the best deal for your house.

 

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