Households could reclaim up to £1.2bn from energy suppliers after mild winter

4th June 2014

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With many consumers struggling with sky-high and rising energy bills new research shows that more than 13m homes could reclaim up to £1.2bn worth of credit between them.

According to comparison site Uswitch, some 52% of households are actually in credit with their energy supplier and as such is urging consumers to take regular meter readings to improve bill accuracy

The group found that many people used less energy this winter due to the milder weather and concerns over cost which has meant that over half are now in credit with their supplier by an average of £86, while more than a fifth, at 21% are in credit by over £100, with 260,000 households across the country potentially being able to reclaim more than £500 back from their supplier.

However, as recently reported by uSwitch, almost four million households – some 14% – are in debt with the average amount owed standing at £128, a collective sum of over £464m across the nation. SSE’s recent annual results also revealed that the total aged debt – customers who are more than six months in arrears – shot up to £118m from £90m a year earlier as millions of households across the country have struggled to stay on top of bills.

The big six energy companies have committed to reviewing all direct debit accounts every 12 months and refunding any credit directly back to customers. Ofgem has also ruled that they must refund any credit on the request of the customer at any point in the year. With spring the best time to claim back any money, after the high usage winter period, uSwitch is urging customers to provide up-to-date meter readings to their supplier and discuss with them whether there is excess credit or debt on their account.

Ann Robinson, director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch says: “With temperatures rising, now is the time for people to spring clean their energy accounts and find out if they are in credit with their supplier. Energy bills are often based on estimations rather than actual usage and so they can be very far off the mark. Reclaiming this credit has never been easier as new rules from Ofgem mean suppliers must refund this money to customers whenever they request it.

“However, those who are in the black should remember that this may only be temporary as accounts can fluctuate between credit and debt depending on the season. Being in credit can provide a buffer against the colder months when usage typically goes up. The best way for people to stay on top of this and ensure their bills are as accurate as possible is to take regular meter readings.”

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