Credit balances this year are £5.3 billion higher than they were last year for a number of reasons, namely a milder winter leading to lower energy use; a campaign advising customers to use less where possible to reduce their bills; and the government's Energy Bills Support Scheme which has delivered £66-67 per month to customers to help with bills over the winter.
If you feel your balance is high enough that you can afford to take some of it back, get in touch with your supplier and see what they're prepared to do. You can also suggest lowering your direct debit payment to more accurately reflect your usage.
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Richard Neudegg, director of regulation at Uswitch.com, said: “This high level of any credit suggests that energy-saving awareness campaigns and cost-of-living support have played a part in protecting consumers from what could have been an even more difficult winter.
“It could also raise the question of whether direct debits set by suppliers in reaction to the energy price hikes have been much higher than they needed to be.
“Normally we’d expect to see people exit winter with little or no credit balances, but a substantial number of households have weathered the storm, leaving suppliers sitting on nearly £7 billion.
“Although the number of households in debt has fallen, it is important that those who do owe money to their suppliers continue to be given the support they need.
“Wholesale energy prices have fallen since December and the prospect of lower bills is on the horizon, but costs are still historically high. Those struggling during the cost-of-living crisis continue to need help from the Government and suppliers.
“It is important that people without a smart meter continue to keep their supplier up to date with regular meter readings to ensure bills are as accurate as possible. Your supplier may also request new readings if you ask them for your credit to be refunded.”