Does your energy supplier owe you £86?

New research finds half of the UK’s homes are in credit to their suppliers by a total of £1.2bn

£1.2bn owed to consumers

Energy companies owe their customers an estimated £1.2bn

More than 13 million homes are in credit to their energy supplier for a total sum of £1.2bn, according to research carried out by uSwitch.

The main reason for the build-up of credit is the mild winter weather, which in turn led to lower energy consumption rates and consequently smaller bills. As a direct result, more than half of the UK’s households are in credit of £86 on average.

One fifth of homes are in credit by more than £100, whereas a further 260,000 consumers may be able to claim back up to £500 from their gas and electricity supplier.

Four million in debt to energy suppliers

In stark contrast, approximately four million households are in debt to their energy suppliers by an average of £128 (£464m collectively).

A recent report by SSE also revealed that the amount of aged debt, customers in debt for more than six months, has jumped from £90m per year to £118m – a clear indication of consumers struggling to make payments.

uSwitch has called for consumers to stay in control of energy costs by submitting regular meter readings, at least once every three months, to their energy supplier. It is also important to discuss any excess credit or debit with energy suppliers, in order to determine the best course of action to stay on top of bills.

Great time to ‘spring clean’ energy accounts

Speaking on the issue, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said: “With temperatures rising, now is the time for people to spring clean their energy accounts and find out if they are in credit with their supplier.

“Energy bills are often based on estimations rather than actual usage and so they can be very far off the mark. Reclaiming this credit has never been easier as new rules from Ofgem mean suppliers must refund this money to customers whenever they request it.”

Watch out for fluctuations

Robinson did, however warn consumers to be wary of seasonal fluctuations.

“Those who are in the black should remember that this may only be temporary as accounts can fluctuate between credit and debt depending on the season. Being in credit can provide a buffer against the colder months when usage typically goes up.,” she explained.

Read more

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Five tips on saving energy during the summer

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  • Mary Gough

    i am with E-on and they always refund overpayments

  • tracey spencer

    I am with n power i think im paying for our street

  • Martin

    I left First Utility at the beginning of the year. At that time they claimed that I owed them £268.75p. I disputed this and immediately cancelled my Direct Debit because had I not done so, they would have taken the money. They then sent my “debt” to a debt management company which I found quite distressing because I have never missed a payment of owed money in my life. To cut a long story short, F.U finally sent me a closing statement. I am actually £45.85p in credit. Despite requesting the refund three weeks ago, I’m still waiting. First Utility might be cheap, but their customers service is dreadful. Avoid.

    • michele

      michele = the same happened to me martin, at the start of the year they took nearly £600 in 10 weeks. i couldn’t comunicate with them so stopped my dd, then when i left them they wanted more, i think they owe me. i am now happy with ONO

      • Martin

        Michele – I wonder if First Utility’s initials are purely coincidental with the message they send to their customers. Think about it

    • PD

      I to have had same treatment from first utility thy seem unable to manage an account honestly

    • Michele Martinelli

      Hi Martin,

      We’ve got a guide to getting an energy refund – http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/energy-refunds/ – which might be of use.

  • songbirdie

    I am currently £180.00 in credit with EDF, I could call them and claim it back, but if we have a bad winter I need this credit to remain, for my own peace of mind. I am always aware that I can get the money back but prefer to leave my account in credit,as a buffer against cold weather bills, it means I can put the heating on when needed and not worry about it.I would say over 6 years, I have never had a problem with EDF, so will stay with them.

  • Sarah

    EDF are rubbish I am now in debt with them due to a mistake they made just over a year ago, they apparently undercharged me through the year then I received a bill for £500 due to the undercharging, I am now certainly paying for it I have tried to take this up with them and no one will take responsibility for their mistake, due to this I have to pay a monthly amount to clear this debt as well as pay the regular bills when they come in I cannot afford to do this and they do not attempt to help you when you are struggling

    • Bill Todd

      report them to ofgem they will take your complaint on

    • Michele Martinelli

      Hi Sarah,

      Our back billing guide might have some useful info for you – http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/energy-back-billing/

      “Regulations from Ofgem ban gas and electricity suppliers from charging customers for energy used more than 12 months previous, if the error in billing is the supplier’s.”

  • Ayman Yakoub

    I was with EDF Definitely they are RUBBISH

  • kinger

    I am with Ovo energy and am £259 in credit and I am very happy to leave it where it is as they pay me 3% interest on it.

  • Val

    i am well in credit with Scottish power to the tune of £400 , the last time i asked for a refund because of the over estimating they put my direct debit up by £15 per month, even though i was in credit

    • julie

      They are horrendous to deal with wait 30 minutes on hold and get nowhere

  • Richard Folkson

    I am with Scottish Power. Read my meters today and entered the numbers on line. Immediately able to see my latest bill and saw I was over £400 in credit. Called Scottish Power free phone number and got them to call me back automatically to save waiting. Very helpful Scottish man immediately agreed to repay the full credit amount to my bank account and recommended reducing my direct debit from £303 per month to £199. Very happy customer and excellent service. I always check for best deals with uSwitch at the end of my fixed term dual fuel fixed term as I have a large house to heat.

  • P Doff

    npower’s customer service is a misnomer in my experience. They are inconsistent in their responses, and they don’t seem able to do simple arithmetic or deal with perfectly reasonable requests. I’m currently doing battle with them to get a refund (c.£150 of MY money) and to have my direct debits set at an appropriate level. Jeez, it’s not rocket science! It is however beyond npower’s capabillities.

    • Jeff Davison

      That N power. I have had so many battles with them their service is so dire. The ombudsman is useless also as they are paid by the energy companies anyway!!!!

  • Michel L-R

    I am with npower. Rang them this morning on their automated system, keyed in customer number, my phone number, inside leg measurement ‘n all, finally to be told they would connect me with an adviser, but, No, it just kicked into another round of unwanted information and babble, then told me I was in a queue and would be answered after a predicted wait time of four minutes. To be fair I was answered in 3 mins 59, but was immediately asked for, you guessed it, my customer number!!!!! And phone number, and inside leg measurement (ok, I made that one up!!). I remonstrated with the adviser telling her I’d already done all this, but was told “The system hasn’t forwarded your details to me.” Ggggrrrrrrrrr!!! Was calling to ask why I had been informed that I was over £1,000 in credit, but based on estimates which only took them to November! Yes, dear reader, November last year!! This despite me giving them my own meter reading last month. I was then told that another bill was on its way, and this arrived at a figure of £400 in credit. This bill was to the beginning of May – yep, six weeks ago!!!! Just how inefficient can these monstrous energy companies be? It’s not just that their billing system prevents you calculating your own bill from their figures, but they vary the date periods in order to confuse further. Cameron, Osborne – I know these guys are your mates, but you need to put an end to their rackets!!! And why aren’t Ofgem being more public about what they’re doing for consumers?? If these companies are holding credit to the tune of £1.2bn, that’s a nice additional little earner isn’t it?!!! CLAIM BACK YOUR MONEY, then switch!!!!!

  • janeyd

    I was with npower and paying for Payg energy. Paying for my energy with a gas card and electric key meter. When I switched they said they hadnt set my meters correctly and I am now payinhg back almost £600. I feel massively ripped off but cant do a thing about THEIR mistake. Gutted. Citizens advice were no help either :(

    • dorey69

      they did the same with my daughter but under estimated what she should pay DD each month then she ended up in £500 debt with a young baby. then demanded it back and just knocked off £75 for there mistake. try charis grants for help with the debt, there good and helped my daughter.

      • Janey D

        Im working with Christians Against Poverty to resolve my debt issues now and theyre amazing so far. Any letters I get regardi.g creditors I just post (freepost) to them. I can sleep much easier knowing Im unlikely to get a knock on the door from anyone demandi.g what we dont have.

        • dorey69

          okey dokey think they work with charis grants.

  • Wheels

    I am with British gas/electric. Not sure if I’m owed anything or how to find out. I pay by direct debit.

  • Sixoclockticket

    Unbelievable hassle with sainsbury/bg to put a DD on hold to run down £300 credit with them. We can’t do that we will have to cancel your DD. can’t you make it 1p for next 3 months. No we can’t, yes you can, no we can’t. Cancelled DD in the end and restarted 3 months later in balance. They do make it difficult.

  • SJO

    Get solar panels with any savings. Made £500 payback in just March April, May. Summer months expect to make £600+ .
    Again This year interest so bad on savings nothing better to invest in plus my electric bill is halved on personal consumption. They definitely pay out the best investment I have ever had plus saving on CO2 and using ECO green renewable energy.
    What is the cover up? Why did the Government pull plug on fantastic scheme. Just to confirm if you had Panels and were on the high Tarif you did keep it!!!!!

  • Brad

    It’s about time the government sorted the utility companies out as they treat customers dreadfully. Ovo took 15 months to refund an overpayment and F Utility despite three requests have still not refunded an overpayment after 8 weeks. I might also add that the ombudsman is toothless as is usual for them, which makes them a waste of time.

  • harrier565

    Im with n power nobody in all day recetly had a phone call ad was informed I was in debt for gas explaind that no one is in all day they just said well thats what it was rip off merchants.

  • Kevin moore

    I was sent email first utility they say my direct debit is being raised by twenty nine pounds a month to cover any short fall if the weather turns what’s going I think they raise extra direct debits to make extra money but they say it will return to original direct debit what’s the point

  • Gill

    I am currently trying to get money back from Scottish power , over £500 with great difficulty from my deceased mothers account , customer services is dreadfully on hold for over 40 minutes on 4 different occasions each time getting different information , complaints dep twice finally received a cheque for the wrong amount in my mothers name , she has passed away for god sake the accounts were transfared into my name on the 10 march I am still waiting unbeleaveable , if I owed them money I’m sure it would be different useless

  • Paul

    We left Npower back at the beginning of February, transferring both our
    electricity and gas accounts successfully to First Utility.

    Npower consequently discontinued our combined monthly direct debit during
    January. During March we pestered Npower for a final bill for both the
    electricity and gas we had used during January i.e. the balance owed from the
    last direct debit collection, up to the transfer of supplies to First
    Utility.

    For Npower to generate a final bill, our electricity account was closed and
    the balance from that account was then transferred to the gas account-the gas
    account had been left open solely for that purpose. The combined elect/gas
    final bill was £168.07, which we paid in full on 17 March by debit card bank
    transfer. That payment was acknowledged by Npower.

    Meantime First Utility continued (and still do) to supply our electricity
    and gas with no problem, taking the monthly direct debit payment we had
    agreed-no problems there with that company.

    Checking our bank account mid-May, we now found that Npower had taken two
    direct debit payments earlier that month, one for £100 and another for £68. I
    contacted Npower on 17 May to point out their error in taking those payments
    totalling £168 when, in fact, we had already paid the final bill of £168.07 back
    on 17 March. I was told that the electricity account had been closed, but the
    gas account was still active and had not been closed. On being told that we
    have been supplied dual fuel by First Utility since 1st February, the lady I was
    talking to then put me on hold, to talk to a contact at National Grid to verify
    just who was supplying us! She came back online and told me there had obviously
    been an error made by Npower and that she would begin the process of us having
    the £168 returned to our bank account.

    The following day I backed up the phone call, in sending an e-mail to
    Npower to say we awaited the return of our money as soon as possible.

    Today (9 June) we have returned home from holiday, to find that our money
    has not been returned. Another phone call to Npower this evening prompted
    (allegedly) a manager to review our account and we were told that the gas
    account had been earmarked and is now to be closed and our money would be
    returned forthwith. Pressed repeatedly, the person we were dealing with said
    that ‘this could take up to 40 (yes 4-zero) days to settle the account and
    return monies owed’……………..

    Naturally we are reporting the case to the UK Energy Ombudsman

    • Martin

      Paul – none of the companies have a problem taking money. it’s giving it back that they struggle with. See my post re First Utility who have been pretty nasty towards me.

  • Steve

    This morning first utility repaid me £325. It’s taken me over 2 months to get MY money back. I’ve had to threaten to charge interest, have legal advice and eventually they listened when I got in contact with the energy ombudsman.
    It doesn’t help that they can take over a week to answer an email. Customer service is awfull. Have changed suppliers now as can’t go through all the hassle again.

  • Af

    I always check both the meters before those stupid checkers are due. E ON always exaggerated the meters by 300 units +, I have to phone them and still they never fix the bill. It can be very annoying when the usual bill is around £400 for both electricity and gas but them sending you £800+.

  • david

    I am with Scottish Power.I have had problems with them over the last 12 months. Letters sent by recorded delivery and an e mail sent on the 24th April 2014 remain unanswered. Their incompetence and incorrect advice is unbelievable. As soon as I no longer have topay a fee to leave them, I will do so.

  • Linda

    Im a business user with scottish power and found out 3 weeks ago they owe me £2,597.97!! After 3 phone calls they have finally reduced my direct debit but no sign of the refund as yet, can i claim intrest on the monies owing?

  • Dave Liversidge

    by pass Scottish power they will rob you bind they have me £88 a month was the agreed
    amount never had a bill for the amount allways well above that [ I was away from home
    for 5mth in 2013 on the I.O.M still had bills 90+ up to£110 sent them email after email
    still no joy [ and when I left them I get a bill for £230 ] stay clear of them

  • Paul

    Further to my initial comment below about Npower-I phoned their Complaints Dept today, concerning the return of our £168.00 taken in May by direct debit by Npower, after we ceased being customers of theirs at the end of January, and paid the final bill given us of £168.07: I once again remonstrated with an ‘advisor’ in that department as to why we should have to wait 40 days for our money to be returned to us when, if things were around the other way, we would have been chased by a debt collection agency, taken to court and our energy supplies certainly disconnected. Further, I pointed out that Npower are TWICE in breach of the Direct Debit Guarantee rules, namely (i) failing to give at least 10 day’s notice in writing of the change of both the amount and date of the direct debits erroneously taken and (ii) upon the error of those direct debits being actioned and admitted to by Npower, the failure by that company to make an immediate refund to us.

  • colin

    i am with eon and i think i have paid for the whole town

  • Jill & Paul

    Npower have been unable to send us a bill for 18 months – refuse to repay our credit balance of over £1300.00. Just sent us a rough calculation of units used since Feb 2013 which means they owe us nearly £600.00!!!!!! They say our credit balance is £68.00. We are with the Ombudsman at present but getting nowhere.
    If I said what I thought of Npower it would be censored.

  • Jude

    Left Scottish Power 6th May – credit of nearly £500 sitting on my account – keep ringing but have spent the last two days in their queue. They claim they are now open until 10pm but have been waiting for call to be answered for an hour and a half now, I think they’ve all gone home !!!!

  • James Hoj

    I was with EDF and they wouldn’t lower my DD due to unemployment and I needed a bit of financial restraint, so I cancelled it, only for them not to bill me, regardless of requesting a bill through their customer service, apparently I would receive one, 22 months later I did, for £1600, needless to say, I’m not with them anymore.

    • AntiVenom

      Don’t forget everyone, there are poverty helplines and free grants available for any of you who want to prove how poor you are.(Chore!) Look up Turn2Us on their website and do a search for all the relevant trusts that apply to you!

  • wet wet

    NPOWER, well what can i say……… very poor, when we joined npower they mixed night rate with day rate, making us owe a lot….. trouble all through 2 yrs, then changed supplier…….. then it took 3 months to get final bill…. keep away from NPOWER, j.

  • Dave Armitage

    E-ON say “We are on it”but I think the only thing they are on is my back for as much money as they can drag out of me

  • Ian Soton

    I too was with Frist Utility and have had various problems. First they notified me by email that they were increasing my direct debit for THREE months but they actually collected the higher amount for SIX months, despite me sending emails and speaking to their customer services. I then received incomprehensible bills for six months that ignored the meter readings that I had submitted when requested and each bill included curious credits and recalculations for previous months. I spoke to customer services who promised to sort it out but did not. I wrote a letter of complaint which they informed me that they were treating as a ‘formal’ complaint to which I would get a response within 8 weeks. All that I received at the end of that period was a ‘final bill’ with yet more credits and recalculations but no letter of explanation (or apology!). Needless to say, I am also still waiting to receive the significant credit that I am owed, that in large part resulted from their ‘mistake’ in collecting the increased direct debit for three extra months. I have now moved to OVO Energy and so far have found their customer services to be excellent, in stark comparison to First Utility who I would certainly NOT recommend even if they offer the lowest tariff.

  • The doctor

    For most people they deserve to get ripped off, its their own fault, I work for a smaller energy company that has come on to the market, (yes I do cold call) just to offer ppl and quote on there current provider, and 90% of the people I do talk say there happy with the big 6, even when the company I work for saves them over £200 a year, but they see on the news and read the papers at how the big 6 are ripping them off, and the moan about it, but when it comes to changing their all like ‘no I love the company I’m with’ so let those who are not willing to shop around suffer, by getting ripped off and conned

    • ollieclark

      “yes I do cold call” And you wonder why people just want you to GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE? They’ll say anything they think will get rid of you whether it’s true or not.

  • Phil pissed off customer

    I find if impossible to contact Scot power by phone long queues I wait hrs their pocky system has call back facility however it’s Yet another f.,k up I trying hard to leave their extremely poor none existent service I’m in credit £150 plus I’ve sent many emails no reply’s I’m about to write, you may think why this person writing this messages ? It’s to warn anyone thinking about switching to them Scot power appalling they recently been fined they really need closing down

  • SJO

    Has anyone had a free boiler actually installed under benefits qualification? Ie over 60 and on tax credits

    • Sue

      Yes I have, had a new boiler installed in June after ringing Helplink…I am a Pensioner on Pension credit,& after my call they sent an Assessor too my home within a couple of weeks I was told that I could have a new boiler installed,but there would be a shortfall of £200 pounds which I would have to pay!!!!! I told them that I was in no position too pay that as my bank account which during the interview they knew about…They told me that they would put my details on hold for 2months ,for me too try and put the £200 together.After that time passed,I thought that I wouldn’t get my boiler as I still hadn’t got the money together…Then I got a call too say that they were now in a position too waver the money & I could have my boiler installed at no cost too me!!!!! I was delighted of course & the boiler was installed in June.I can’t thank Helplink enough for thst advert,it means a more energy efficient boiler,& a very Happy Pensioner.

  • Paul.

    Does anybody know of a supplier that does not have a standing charge, if i’m not using gas or electric why should I still pay?

    • ollieclark

      For upkeep of all the infrastructure. That has to be kept in working order whether you use any energy or not, so you still need to pay for it.

  • Debbie Kendall

    Southern Electric made it almost impossible for me to change supplier.
    I told them on 1st May I’d be leaving.
    Applied through the Energy Club to move to OVO.
    Gave OVO the starting readings on 2nd June.
    Then SE requested readings on 6th June.
    Gave them.
    Two months later they were both taking DD payments from my bank.
    SSE said they’d not had the start readings from OVO for the Electricity.
    What SSE had actually done was create two fake bills.
    On one of them they’d actually used the starting reading they were given by OVO for 2nd June!
    But they’d back dated it to 1st May.
    Then 15th May they’d created another fake bill, pushing it up further.
    Now they’ve created another fake bill dated 6th June as a final reading.
    The reading they used was from a meter reading on 6th July.
    I don’t know how the whole switchover thing works between the Co’s, but it looks like SSE have committed fraud against OVO.
    Glad I’m not with SSE anymore.

    SSE are a complete rip off Co. Committing all sorts of fraud against other Co’s and consumers.

    When their prices were due to go up last October, they blocked my online access to my account.
    They sent an estimated reading that was 1000 units too low.
    They blocked me from giving the real reading over the phone, by refusing to accept it on their automated line.

    I eventually got the reading accepted via email and letter.

    They must be breaking so many laws and rules.

    No wonder their customers are deserting them in droves.

  • Geoff S

    I was with Npower over 8 months during the summer and at one stage I was in credit by £145 then they upped my bill by £37 and only re- funded me £35. How can they raise my bill by nearly 40% during the summer!!!!! Should never have joined them. I rang Us witch and swapped immediately. I will never use them again

  • Dave

    Why oh why did the government sell off the family silver?

  • previous npower user

    I was with npower, as I was paying by direct debit I gradually built up a credit of £293 as I did not use that much of energy. It then took them couple months to refund it to me.

    I changed my supplier from npower to someone else 7 months ago, but npower pretend me still using them and keep sending me bills, I sent them emails/online messages (phone need to wait for more than 45 minutes so I never manage to get hold of someone) and they just ignored me….I need to contact citizen advise to get the problem sorted. Well it still not solved yet as now they still holding my money (I m in credit) but at least I can get hold of someone. I m still waiting for refund…..hope this can actually happen.

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