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The latest research from uSwitch shows that energy suppliers owe 12 million customers £1.5 billion – due to the surplus credit built up in their accounts after the 2018-2019 winter season.
That equates to almost half (45%) of homes in the UK on average being owed £126 each!
Why you might be owed money by your energy supplier
If you pay for your gas and electricity by direct debit, you may, at times, find yourself in credit with your supplier.
That is because, regardless of your energy consumption in a particular month, you pay the same amount monthly. This is designed to spread out your energy costs over the year.
The advantage of spreading your costs out mean you’re not struggling to manage large bills in the winter because your overpayment in the summer months should cover the increased costs of the colder ones.
But you don’t need to let the money just sit there. Find out how much you could be owed and what to do about it.
|Supplier||Average credit amount||% of customers in credit||How to reclaim credit|
|£139||52%||Customers paying by cheque, debit or credit card will need to fill out a refund form.|
|£136||23%||A meter reading will need to be provided and future Direct Debit payments may need to change.|
|£111||35%||Credit will be automatically refunded if over £75 after one year, as long as a meter reading has been provided. If your account is less than £75 in credit, you can still request a refund.|
|£102||20%||If a customer's annual review is based on actual meter readings and the balance is greater than one month's payment or over £75, the balance will be automatically refunded.|
|£132||50%||A meter reading will need to be provided and a customer will need to fill out a refund form.|
|£136||70%||At a customer's annual review, credit of £5 or more on either gas or electricity accounts will be automatically refunded as long as a meter reading has been provided.|
Review full uSwitch research here
What happens to my credit when I switch supplier?
If you’re considering switching and have a substantial credit with your current supplier, you might be wondering - what happens to my credit if I switch to another energy provider?
Part of your switchover process includes taking a meter reading on the day of your switch. You send this to your old supplier, who will produce a final bill based on this reading. The supplier will then apply any credit you have to this charge, and they will either send you a bill for the remainder or refund the leftover credit to your bank account.
Can I get a refund even if I'm not switching?
Yes, you don’t have to switch suppliers to get your credit returned to you! If you have hundreds - or even just £50 - sitting in credit with your supplier and you need that cash, you can ask for it back and request your monthly direct debit amount be reviewed.
Each energy supplier will have a different process for administering refunds. Some suppliers will have an online form or ask you to put in your refund request over the phone or by mail. Either way, it’s your money and they are required to pay it back to you.
Can I get a refund from a supplier I switched away from a long time ago?
If you think you might be owed money by an energy supplier you no longer use, and you think you've missed your window after switching or it's been a few years, you actually have a very good chance of getting it back.
However, it is certainly trickier as you will not be able to provide a meter reading. In fact, you will need to rely on your old energy supplier's data to help you out unless you have all your statements kept handy.
Contact your old energy supplier and tell them the date range you were their customer and explain that you think you were overcharged.
If their customer service is helpful then they should be able to locate your file and see if there was an outstanding credit on the closing balance.
It's worth noting that energy suppliers are obligated to refund any money that you are owed. Ofgem, the energy regulator, has put measures in place to ensure that every supplier credits customers.
In many cases, energy suppliers have failed to notify customers of money they are owed, so you may need to chase them up to make it happen, but ultimately, it is your money.
If a supplier is refusing to cooperate and won’t give the money back that you’re owed you can take your issue to the Energy Ombudsman who may decide to take your case on.
I don’t remember the name of my energy supplier. Can I still get a refund?
Yes, but you might need to do some extra digging around to get the information you need.
We recommend checking your old bank statements or checking with your current supplier to see if they have a record of the supplier you switched from. If you were renting then get in touch with your landlord or flatmates and check with them to see if they remember.
How do I avoid being overcharged by my energy supplier?
Millions of households in the UK are overcharged by their energy supplier. In order to avoid being overcharged, take a meter reading regularly and send it to your supplier. They will then review your reading versus the estimated amount you pay monthly and see if you are owed money or adjust your bill for the next month.
How do I read my meter?
Taking a meter reading regularly will ensure that you are not paying too much on your energy bills.
However, taking a reading is not the easiest task if you've never done it before. There are a few different types of meter and they're not always easily located on your property.
You can read more in our in-depth guide to How to take an energy meter reading and learn how to locate and read your meter. Once you know how, it’s fairly simple - you just have to remember to do it regularly to avoid paying too much for your energy.
It’s also worth running an energy comparison to see if you’re currently on the best deal in your area. It doesn’t take long to switch energy and it could save you hundreds of pounds on your domestic energy bills.