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Billing issues top consumer energy complaints

Citizens Advice: Why have suppliers ‘been getting it wrong for so long’?

A recent report from Citizens Advice found that, each year, 20% of all British households are compelled to complain to their energy supplier.

The most common topic of those complaints?

Simply put — energy bills.

A look back at energy billing

Just in the past year, Ofgem handed more than a few hefty fines and warnings to suppliers over billing issues.

Spark, E.ON and npower all made headlines due to erroneous billing issues.

In some cases, suppliers apologised and either paid back affected customers or wrote off old charges. Many blamed teething problems around new billing systems or processes for the issues.

However, these issues are little consolation to consumers who, according to the Citizens Advice report, had reason to increase their complaints year-on-year by 27%.

“Bad billing systems have plagued energy customers for years,” stated Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice.

“Billing people on time, and for the right sums of money, is essential if the market is to work.  It is both astonishing and wholly unacceptable that suppliers have been getting it so wrong for so long.”

Consumers should ‘arm [themselves] with clear information’

Commenting on Citizens Advice’s findings, uSwitch adds that confusing bills compound the problem around energy bill mistakes:

“Overcomplicated bills are one of the biggest barriers preventing consumers getting more engaged with the energy market,” says Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com.

“More needs to be done to help consumers understand the language and breakdown of their bills. People who are armed with clear information in an understandable format will be in a stronger position to take control of their energy. We believe that bill reform by the industry is the first step towards helping consumers show an active interest in the energy market, helping them to use less, waste less and pay less.”

Get help decoding your energy bill

Need help deciphering your bill? Check out just some of the tools available to you from uSwitch.

View our Guide to Energy Bills, which features a breakdown of all big six supplier’s bills. Quickly and easily find important info on a sample bill that looks just like yours.

You can also view a quick video about understanding what’s on your bill and why, featuring Energy Expert Tom Lyon below.

Not getting anywhere with your complaint? Find out how to escalate your energy complaint to get results.

Read more:

Could your energy bill affect your credit score?

The Queen’s soaring energy bill

How to make a complaint to your energy supplier

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