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Consumers are £270million out of pocket due to billing errors

3.8 million energy consumers have been overcharged by their supplier due to billing errors in the last year

bad billing

Energy bills are confusing enough for most of us, so what happens when energy suppliers make errors? Research from uSwitch has shown that 3.8million consumers have been on the receiving end of bad billing from their supplier.

This has a total impact of costing consumers £270million (an average of £72 each). 36% claimed the errors on their bills was down to the wrong tariff or product details being applied, resulting in them being overcharged.

Supplier error Percentage of overcharged customers affected
The tariff or product details were wrong 36%
An incorrect fee was applied 31%
The charge was different to the meter reading provided 27%
The Direct Debit was wrong 24%
The bill was muddled up with somebody else’s 23%
I was charged twice for the same product 21%
The bill didn’t add up correctly 19%
A special offer or discount wasn’t applied 14%

Time-wasting also an outcome

Billing issues are not only an inconvenience for the amount of money they cost, but also time; nearly a fifth of overcharged consumers (19%) waited between one and two months before their billing issue was resolved, with more than one in ten (12%) waiting over two months. Worse still, nearly one in ten (9%) consumers who were overcharged as a result of a mistake are yet to receive any money back from their supplier.

Claire Osborne, energy expert at, acknowledges that consumers shouldn’t have to pay for suppliers’ mistakes:

“Consumers have a right to expect correct bills.

“Accurate bills are essential if consumers stand any hope of taking control of their energy use and spend. Recent upgrades by some suppliers to billing systems have resulted in teething problems, but today’s figures show there’s still more for the industry to do.

“We urge customers to always check their bills carefully, and speak immediately to their supplier if they think they have been short-changed. Consumers should also always provide up to date meter readings to avoid estimated bills, and check that the figure they provided has been used.”

Confused by your bill?

With the advice to regularly check your energy bill comes the difficulty in deciphering what it all means. Energy bills aren’t exactly known for their clarity, so you can get to know your supplier’s billing better with uSwitch’s annotated bills.


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  • Diane Wright

    When starting with a new supplier is it not wrong for them to take the first direct debit just a few days after the contract has started? My old supplier will soon be sending a closing bill too so the transfer get very costly.

    • Lauren Vasquez

      Hi Diane,
      Some suppliers require a month’s payment in advance. This is common with smaller and newer suppliers, and is the case with Avro Energy, Affect Energy and GB Energy to name a few.
      To help potential customers understand this, that information will be clearly stated on our site, whether the plan is available through uSwitch or not. Hope that helps!

  • tina .,,, wallasey

    I moved and had their supplier till I changed to another one (better tariff’s) so when it came to the last bill from them they estimated the reading even though I gave them a reading .,,, they didn’t believe I had not used much gas as it was winter but I had not had the gas checked so hadn’t used it much… no refund allowed they said so after months eventually my present supplier gave me the refund even though they cudnt get it back from my previous supplier, however has caused me problems still and will till I get to the estimated reading that the old suppler insisted I had used at the new supplier can only take the reading as per the previous supplier no one takes what I said as correct !!