Millions of energy customers owed money by their supplier
Energy firms are sitting on £1.5bn worth of customers' money that shouldn't belong to them, according to new research.
An astonishing 12million households are owed an average of £126 each by money-hoarding energy firms - despite relentless price hikes.
It has emerged that millions of customers were essentially overcharged for their energy use this winter and, as a result, many energy firms are now quids in.
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The depressing reality is that, despite this, energy firms almost en masse increased their tariffs by around 10% in April this year and loyal customers were those most affected.
Despite this, customers are still having to fight to get their money back by sitting on the dreaded customer service line for hours on end.
Millions of energy users pay by monthly direct debit to even out the cost over the year. However, the second-warmest February on record cut energy consumption, so many overpaid.
A drop in wholesale gas and electricity costs meant cheaper deals and those who switched from poor value standard variable tariffs ended up in credit.
Some 1.2 million more households than a year ago are owed money, with one in 10 owed more than £200.
Ofgem rules state that suppliers must repay any credit on request or explain if they think there is a valid reason not to - but that's the same Ofgem that allows them to increase their prices on a whim...so customers shouldn't hold their breath.
When Anita Staples spotted that her energy supplier owed her £141 last summer, she decided she wanted that money back.
She said: “I pay by direct debit and like to keep a bit of a credit balance because of the winter bills, but I still thought this was a bit too much.”
Civil servant Anita, 48, from Ashford, Surrey, had better uses for her own money and rang supplier Npower with a meter reading, but met with some resistance.
She told The Daily Mail: “They suggested I should keep it there but I insisted on a refund. They should be able to work out a way of calculating my likely usage more accurately, so I shouldn’t be paying too much.”
Once Npower agreed to the refund, the money was quickly back in the current account that pays her direct debit.
Every energy supplier is different when reclaiming credit but typically you need to fill in a request form and supply an up-to-date meter reading.
British Gas offers automatic refunds if £75 in credit and a reading is provided. You can request a refund if less than £75.
E.ON gives a refund with a meter reading but direct debit payments may change. Those who pay by cash or cheque, will see credit taken off the next bill.
SSE customers must provide a meter reading and fill out a web refund form.
ScottishPower offers an annual review and will reimburse any balance greater than one month’s payment or more than £75, with a meter reading. Customers can request a refund with a reading.
EDF Energy also has a direct debit review and refund scheme with a reading. Similarly Npower offers an annual review and automatically refunds credit of £5 or more, with a reading.
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