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How to complain when your energy bill is wrong

How to complain when your energy bill is wrong
With soaring energy costs, what can you do if you think that your bill is actually incorrect?
Be sure you are paying the right amount with these simple steps.

Check your bills

Credit: Antonio_Diaz
If your supplier has been using estimated readings for a long time, it could be that your bill is significantly wrong. Don’t pay the last estimated bill. Instead, take your own correct readings and submit these to your supplier for a new revised bill.
It could work in your favour if the estimations were higher than actual use, especially if you have been cutting your use. But do remember it could also go the other way!
If you are in credit, you can request that this is paid back to you but you may instead wish to build up credit to cover the more expensive winter months, in advance.
"If your supplier has been using estimated readings for a long time, it could be that your bill is significantly wrong"
Look at how your energy bill is broken down. Take the price of electricity or gas per unit (KW/h) divided by 100 and multiply that by the consumption of the energy used. Add the cost of the standing charge, as the number of days multiplied by the daily charge, and then add the VAT, which for energy is currently 5 percent.
If you have a day and night rate, perform the same check for the night rate. If you have both electricity and gas then do the same for your gas bill.
So for example:
  • Pence per KW/h/100 x consumption (18.5/100) x 315.5 + £58.37
  • Days x daily standing charge 63 x 0.223 + £14.05
  • Sub total = £72.42
  • VAT @ 5 percent + £3.62
  • Grand total = £76.04
If you have a day and night rate, perform the same check for the night rate. If you have both electricity and gas then repeat the check for your gas bill too.

Check bank statements


Credit: fizkes
If you pay by Direct Debit, it is possible that an incorrect amount has been taken from your bank, so check previous statements. If the bank has made a mistake you will be covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee. If any incorrect or fraudulent payments have been made then you are entitled to a full and immediate refund from your bank.

Not had a bill for over a year?

If your supplier has not sent you a bill for over a year then you do not have to pay. 
However, there are some circumstances where this principle wouldn't apply. For example, if you made no attempt to make payments or were obstructive and did not allow the supplier to read the meter or if you’re using stolen energy!

Check the meter

Credit: Ihor Reshetniak

The supplier checks meters for accuracy before they are installed, but mistakes do sometimes happen! If you think that the meter is not accurately measuring your consumption, turn off all your appliances and check if the meter is still recording usage. If it is, write to your supplier with the evidence and request a test to be carried out in your home.

What to do if you find a problem with your energy bill

Ensure you write to the company, do not phone. This is important because you will need the written evidence trail that this gives you. If you use online chat, copy and paste the transcript into a document as a backup.
"Ensure you write to the company, do not phone. This is important because you will need the written evidence trail that this gives you"
Don’t cancel direct debits. This may confuse the issue and could affect your credit rating if you are not paying your bill in another way.

Taking it further

If your email/letter does not elicit an acceptable response, find the CEO contact details from ceoemail.com and write to him or her. You may not get a personal response but it does escalate the matter. Someone from their senior executive team, who is empowered to resolve matters, will help you with it.
To write an effective email/letter:
  • Be polite and objective, providing all the evidence
  • Explain the issue
  • Tell them what it is you want: is it is a refund, an apology, etc?
  • Give them a deadline by which you expect to receive a response and what you will do if this is not forthcoming. This would usually be taking the case to the Energy Ombudsman
If this correspondence gets you nowhere then contact the Energy Ombudsman. Either wait eight weeks from the date you first made a complaint or request a deadlock letter from your supplier.
The Energy Ombudsman will examine all the evidence and make a decision on what should be done to resolve the issue. This is binding on the provider but not on you. For example, you could go to court to challenge further if you wish to do so.

Banner photo credit: StudioMars
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