New research unveiled by Santander Current Accounts, found that British homes underestimate their household bills by an average of £770. The figure represents an increase of 65% (£330) compared to last year.
One of the main reasons for this is that 26% of British homes do not read their bills thoroughly. A further 13% admitted that they had either never supplied their energy provider with a meter reading, or could not remember the last time they had.
Households miss mistakes and underestimate bills
As a direct result, respondents are often unable to detect any unusual consumption patterns which could signify an incorrect energy bill and are at risk of over or underestimating their energy costs.
Gas bills were singled out as those most prone to being underestimated, with respondents underestimating their bill by an average of £279. Electricity bills were also highlighted, with people underestimating the latter by an average of £91.
The easiest way to avoid being surprised by energy bills is to check them carefully, provide frequent meter readings and get in touch with the supplier if a potential issue appears.
‘Keep an eye on statements’
Speaking on the survey, Matt Hall, Head of Banking at Santander, said: “Increases in household bills have added to the cost of living in recent years, and it’s more important than ever that households keep an eye on statements and call their supplier if anything is unclear.
“Bill payers should regularly review their supplier to make sure they’re getting a good deal but should also consider the most cost-effective way of making payments.”
Billing errors cost Britain £280m
Research carried out by uSwitch, found that three million homes in the UK may have been overcharged by a collective £280m in the past 12 months.
In almost half of all cases, respondents blamed mistakes on suppliers not using correct meter readings. Other common mistakes include a bill for the wrong energy tariff or an incorrect Direct Debit amount. This type of mistake would be easily missed by anyone who does not read their energy bills.