Nearly 11 million households (40%) could be due a collective £1.3 billion from their energy suppliers for gas and electricity paid for but not used this winter, according to new analysis.
The problem occurs where energy suppliers overestimate usage, which means households who pay by direct debit can build up substantial credit.
Comparison website uSwitch says this recent build-up of credit could be explained by the fact that over two thirds of homes (69%) took action over the winter to reduce their energy use in a bid to keep bills down – with almost a third (31%) turning down their thermostat, a quarter (24%) lowering the temperature of individual radiators, and over a fifth (22%) only using the heating on days when it felt particularly cold.
As a result, the comparison website believe homes in credit could reclaim an average of £121 each, while nearly one in 10 (8%) could be owed more than £200.
Yet according to uSwitch, many suppliers don’t automatically refund customers; they instead require users to be proactive and contact them – so check your bills now.
High levels of energy credit could also be due to suppliers estimating their customers’ bills rather than basing them on up-to-date meter readings. One way to negate this is to provide regular meter readings.
Shona Eyre, uSwitch energy expert, comments: “Reclaiming over £100 from your energy supplier is a big win at the end of a long, cold winter. With around 11 million energy customers likely to be in credit, households should check their account right now. If you’re one of those owed money, then you can choose to leave it where it is as a buffer for next winter or claim it back and spend it on something you really want.
“Before reclaiming any credit, make sure you provide a meter reading. As a bare minimum, households should do this four times a year. Once at the start of each season is a good way to remember.”