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.