Up to 11,000 households have been wrongly billed for their gas, Energy UK has revealed.
However, this is just the number of customers of firms that are members of Energy UK - which accounts for about 95% of the industry. So it's possible the actual number of people affected is higher still.
Customers who’ve overpaid will be contacted by their provider and refunded with interest by the end of October. In some cases, an ex-gratia compensation payment will also be made to reflect the inconvenience caused.
Former customers will be contacted as part of the process. But if you think you’re affected and don’t hear from your provider or former provider by the end of October, get in touch with your supplier.
Those who’ve underpaid won’t be asked to repay what they owe. However, suppliers may provide support for undercharged customers in vulnerable circumstances to help ease the transition to accurate bills.
Energy UK, the trade association for the energy industry, says: “A very small number of customers have been charged the wrong amount for their gas, due to the incorrect recording of imperial and metric gas meters. Under 11,000 people (out of 23 million accounts) have either been charged too much or too little.”
Why have people been billed incorrectly?
Energy regulator Ofgem wrote to all providers last week asking them to check if they’d wrongly billed gas customers, following big six provider E.on admitting it had wrongly billed about 600 customers.
It gave these providers a week to come back with answers, which is why Energy UK is now able to say that up to 11,000 people are affected.
Ofgem has asked all energy companies to treat customers using the guidelines outlined above - regardless of whether the company is a member of Energy UK or not.
What’s happened is that energy companies have wrongly recorded which type of meter customers have.
While all new domestic gas meters – metric meters – measure gas in cubic meters, some older imperial meters are still in use, which measure energy in cubic feet.
Energy UK says the issue is down to “unfortunate clerical errors”, but adds that meters do not need to be checked or changed.
It continues that the roll-out of smart meters, which will replace imperial and metric meters, should resolve the problem of energy usage being incorrectly measured.
Three and a half million smart meters have been installed so far, and the government intends for everyone to have been offered a smart meter by 2020.