Skip to main content

12 million homes are £1.5bn in credit with energy firms

12 million homes are £1.5bn in credit with energy firms

Almost half (45%) of households in the UK are owed money by their energy supplier, according to the latest research from uSwitch.

Beat the energy price rises

All of the big six suppliers have raised their prices following the Ofgem price cap increase. Don’t get caught out - switch to a fixed deal today!

More than 12 million homes could claim back a total of £1.5 billion for energy they paid for but didn’t use this winter - that’s an average of £126 per household. Almost one in ten (9%) of those in credit are owed more than £200 by their supplier.

Mild winter means lower usage

Households are more likely to be in debt at this time of year due to higher usage during the colder months - and 4.1 million are. However, a mild winter means more homes have overpaid for their energy than usual.

Energy suppliers are holding 15% more credit than this time last year, with 1.8 million more customers in credit and Brits collectively owed an extra £200m.

Rik Smith, energy expert at uSwitch, said: “Following a mild start to the year, many people find themselves in the enviable situation of being owed money by their energy supplier, instead of the other way around. For consumers, now is the time to spring clean your finances by reclaiming any credit you’re owed, and checking to see if you could be on a better deal.”

Credit levels vary

The amount owed by energy suppliers varies significantly across the country and depending on the type of energy plan used.

Residents in Glasgow are owed the most on average, at £161, while those living in Southampton are an average of £68 in credit on their energy bill. More than half (58%) of residents in Newcastle-upon-Tyne are owed an average of £113, while those in Leeds are less likely (36%) to have accrued credit on their bill.

Those on variable tariffs are most likely to be owed money by their supplier, with 53% of these customers accruing £167 on average. Half of fixed rate customers are owed on average £119, compared to 43% of households on standard variable tariffs with £120 in average credit.

Reclaiming energy bill credit

While suppliers are required to refund credit balances, more than half of bill payers reported having to chase their supplier to reclaim their bill credit. While some suppliers refund credit automatically, others require customers to call, go online or complete a form.

uSwitch is calling for energy suppliers to offer more regular automatic refunds for customers in credit.

Rik Smith said: “The industry could make things far easier for those who find themselves in credit. While some energy companies already have good systems for refunding customers, it should be standard practice across all suppliers to review accounts regularly and provide the option of automatic refunds or reduced payments for those more than one month in credit. People shouldn’t have to chase to get their own money back.”

Spring clean your finances

Under Ofgem rules, energy customers are entitled to be repaid any credit on request if it’s not refunded automatically. And while it can take a little effort depending on your supplier, it could be well worth the time spent.

Being in credit also shouldn’t stop you from shopping around for a new tariff – you could claim your credit and save even more by switching to a better energy deal.

Rik Smith said: “The average credit balance is £126. Add that to the amount of money you could save by switching away from a poor value standard deal, and your household budget could be almost £500 healthier for just a few minutes’ work.”

“And even if you owe your supplier money - which isn’t uncommon at this time of year - you can still check whether your supplier has a cheaper tariff you can switch to, meaning you can pay less for your energy and start to reduce the amount you’re in debt.”

Beat the energy price rises

All of the big six suppliers have raised their prices following the Ofgem price cap increase. Don’t get caught out - switch to a fixed deal today!

Share this article
0