26th November 2014
Millions of customers have been overcharged by energy companies because of faulty gas meters, an industry body has admitted.
Energy UK said that up to 1.5 million gas pre-payment meters did not work properly when they were first installed..
On average, customers affected are likely to have lost up to £6.50 for each winter period, said Energy UK.
The trade body stressed that customers do not need to do anything as suppliers will be in touch and offer refunds to those who have been affected.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, the consumer group said it was a “shameful example of energy companies failing their customers”.
He said customers need to be reimbursed as soon as possible, and with interest.
Energy UK said that as soon as the issue came to light companies began work to fix it and arrange refunds.
British Gas, the largest supplier of gas in the UK, said more than 700,000 of its customers may have been overcharged.
Pre-payment meters use a Calorific Value (CV) code to calculate the amount of gas that is to be charged for.
The fault means the CV for some meters has not been being set properly and this has resulted in it appearing that more energy has been used than is the case.
Since 30 October all new or replacement gas card are working properly.
Older meters will be fixed in a roll out that starts on 26 November 2014.
Different companies use different billing systems therefore the actual impact on consumers will vary from company to company..
Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK , said: “Suppliers are working hard to roll out a solution for an issue which has affected some pre-payment gas meters.
“The meters were manufactured with a problem where they over-collected from customers. However, the companies know who is affected and will be getting in touch directly to put the meters right and refund any money owed.
“The suppliers and the wider industry are all very sorry this problem has occurred but are already getting in contact with customers. Customers do not need to do anything – their supplier will get in touch but, if they are concerned, they just need to contact their energy company who will be able to help.”