- More than 11 million households could be owed a total of £1.5 billion from energy suppliers – £400m more than last year – following the mild winter
- Almost one in ten (9%) households could reclaim credit of more than £200
- Almost three quarters of homes (72%) reduced their energy consumption as a result of mild temperatures this winter
- uSwitch.com is urging consumers to submit meter readings to their supplier and reclaim any credit owed.
Over 11 million British households (42% of all homes) could reclaim almost £1.5 billion from energy suppliers following the UK’s third warmest winter since records began, according to a new survey by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service. Estimated credit levels have soared by 27% since last year, when uSwitch.com research estimated that energy providers owed consumers around £1.1 billion.
This year’s survey reveals the average household in credit could be owed £132 from their supplier, and that almost one in ten (9%) could reclaim more than £200. The new findings follow the UK’s third mildest winter since records began, meaning that millions of consumers paying by Direct Debit used far less energy than they paid for. In fact, almost three-quarters (72%) of customers took some action to reduce their energy usage during the mild winter, including turning down the thermostat (32%), turning down individual radiators (24%) or setting the heating to come on for less time every day (19%).
Consumers who are unsure about the status of their account after the winter should check their electricity and gas meters, submit up-to-date readings and find out if they are in credit. Some suppliers automatically refund credit balances once a year, but this may be subject to a minimum amount and refund policies vary between providers. Under Ofgem rules, customers are entitled to any credit on request, as long as up-to-date meter readings have been provided.
Despite the fact that so many households have built up credit over the winter, 13% of consumers – over 3.5 million – say they are in debt with their supplier. uSwitch.com is urging customers to submit regular meter readings throughout the year, to ensure accurate bills and avoid the risk of accumulating significant credit or debt.
Tom Lyon, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “After one of the UK’s mildest winters on record, millions of consumers may well have paid out hundreds of pounds for energy they simply didn’t use. Under Ofgem rules, providers must repay any credit on request, so now is the time to read your meter, update your account and reclaim what you’re owed.
“Today’s findings underline why providing regular, up to date meter readings is so important – it’s the only way to make sure you only pay for what you use and avoid the risk of falling into significant credit or debt. For anyone who finds themselves in debt, we recommend talking to your supplier about managing your account now to prevent the situation deteriorating any further.”