14th November 2014
Bill errors have left more than three million energy customers £280 million out of pocket, with Scottish Power the worst offender.
Incorrect bills have cost consumers an average of £78, according to comparison site uSwitch.com. A total of 45% of those receiving an incorrect bill say it was based on a different meter reading from the one supplied. Over a quarter, 28%, said they had been billed for the wrong tariff or product and 24% said the direct debit was set at the incorrect amount by their supplier.
Others had incorrect fees applied, bills not adding up correctly, a bill muddled up with someone else and double charging.
The errors not only cost consumers money but also time as two in five people said they waited for more than two weeks before the issue was resolved and one in 10 are still waiting for the error to be corrected.
Scottish Power is the worst offender when it comes to mistakes, with 16% of customers saying they were sent an incorrect bill. SSE was in second place with 14.4% and nPower was third with 13.9%. British Gas incorrectly bills 8.2% of customers, EDF Energy 8% and E.ON had the lowest number of errors at 7.5%.
Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com said: ‘It’s unacceptable that customers are picking up the cost of suppliers’ mistakes. Households are already facing sky-high energy bills and simply can’t afford simple blunders.
‘Correct bills are essential for people to stay in control of their energy and are the least customers should expect. Recent upgrades to some of the big six to billing systems have resulted in some teething problems, but the industry must do more to tackle these issues and reduce errors.
‘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 always provide up-to-date meter readings to avoid estimated bills.’