Reclaiming this credit is easier than ever before, now that energy regulator Ofgem has implemented rules forcing suppliers to reimburse you if you ask - unless there is a good reason not to do so.
This guide will explain how to find out if you’re in credit to your energy supplier, how to get your energy credit refunded and how to make sure your bills are accurate in future. We will also consider how to get back any credit owed by a previous supplier. If you do decide to contact your current supplier to ask for a refund it is important to note that you need to provide an up-to-date meter reading and discuss your current situation with them. A meter reading from a few months ago won't do.
If you manage your bills online it should be as easy as logging in to check your current account balance. If you don’t, then simply take a look at your latest energy bill. The bill should tell you how much you are in debit or credit to your gas and electricity supplier.
It’s worth noting that three of the big six – British Gas, npower and Scottish Power – refund customer credit automatically. British Gas and Scottish Power will automatically return credit over £75 every 12 months, from the anniversary of the date you took out your direct debit. Npower will refund any credit higher than £5 as long as a meter reading has been provided. However, research has shown that automatic refunds still aren’t the norm for suppliers in general, as over half of bill payers are having to chase their supplier for a refund instead of receiving them automatically.
Energy bills, and in particular direct debits, are estimated based on your previous consumption. That means they may be some way off your actual gas and electricity consumption. To give you an example, if you have a daughter who left for university, but ran an energy price comparison before she left home, your consumption for the following year will be estimated on figures which included your daughter's consumption. With her out of the house, you will in fact be using less energy and will be overpaying on your direct debit.
Don’t worry about losing out on savings, though. If your direct debit is too high, all you need to do is claim back what you’ve overpaid. You can find out more about paying by direct debit here.
The amount of money you could be in credit by depends on how much you’ve overpaid by. Factors which will influence the total sum you’re entitled to could include a mild winter or long summer. In both these scenarios you may have used less energy to heat your home than you were expected to. Figures owed will vary greatly - an April 2019 study by Uswitch estimated that 45% of the population was owed an average of £126, but that one in ten households could potentially claim up to £200 from their supplier.
Ordinarily, it would make sense to get a refund from your energy supplier if you're eligible for one. However, with energy prices extremely high as of 2022 and likely to get higher, it could be worth keeping any credit you have in your energy account to help cover these higher prices if needed.
Just ask. If you know you’re in credit and you want the money back, then get in touch with your supplier and ask for a refund. We’ve listed the phone numbers of some suppliers to call below. A word of warning, though: even if you are in credit, it’s a good idea to discuss your balance with your supplier before asking to be refunded. Your direct debit should have been worked out to cover your expenditure over the year, so although you might be overspending in summer, this should even out in winter. Be wary of asking for a refund of any credit meant to cover your additional winter expenditure.
You should also make sure your credit balance is up to date - even a meter reading issued the previous month should be considered out of date if you want to claim a refund. However, if you find yourself more than one month in credit, it’s usually safe to ask for your money back.
If you were in credit when you switched, it’s possible that your previous energy supplier still has some money that belongs to you.
Energy suppliers are supposed to give back any money you are in credit by when you switch to another provider, but over the years many have failed to do so. If you think this might be the case, then check your bank statements, direct debits or energy bills, or just give them a call on one of the numbers listed below (they may ask for some personal details to make sure it’s really you):
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm
Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm, Sat 8.30am-2pm
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm
Mon-Fri 8am-2pm, Sat 8.30am-6pm
Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 8.30am-1pm
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-4pm
Mon-Fri 8am-6.30pm, Sat 9am-4pm
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-2pm
Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-4.30pm
If your supplier refuses to refund you and you don't agree with the reasons given, you can raise the issue with the Energy Ombudsman.
To avoid being in a situation where you are over or underspending on energy, do your best to provide regular meter readings to your energy supplier. At Uswitch we recommend doing this at least once every three months.
There are plenty of ways to save energy and cut down your bill. Here at Uswitch we’ve put together a number of guides to help you do just that. In addition, if you want to optimise your energy consumption, consider getting hold of a smart thermostat. These thermostats help you figure out exactly how much energy you consume, as well as control your heating from a distance. Some smart thermostats will even learn your behaviour and run your heating accordingly.
Finally, run a quick energy price comparison. The energy market is always changing and new plans come along on a weekly basis, so it’s always a good idea to check that you’re on the best tariff.
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