Power companies are sitting on £1.7 billion of our money
Almost 13 million households in the UK are owed £1.7 billion by their energy suppliers, with the average eligible home due £136, according to Uswitch research.
Almost half of all UK households (46%) are due such a refund, the price comparison and switching site found.
One in ten energy bill-payers (10%) are owed more than £200.
Customers who pay for their energy by Direct Debit can often find themselves in credit with their supplier as their monthly payments do not exactly match their gas and electricity usage.
Why do energy suppliers owe money?
Customer Direct Debit amounts stay the same every month, but their energy usage changes depending on the time of year.
This means that customers should be in credit with their supplier following the summer months, and in debt to their provider in the depths of winter.
Some energy providers do not automatically issue refunds to customers whose accounts are in credit, meaning any money owed to consumers can go unclaimed for months.
Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch, says: “At a time when many people are finding their finances squeezed as well as using extra gas and electricity because they have to stay at home, it will be welcome news for those who are sitting on unclaimed credit from their energy supplier.
“More than a fifth of households say that the amount of credit or debt they’re in has increased in the last year, and we hope that providers will act quickly to make sure that direct debit payments accurately reflect energy use.”
How can I reclaim money from my energy supplier?
If your energy supplier has not automatically refunded your credit, you will need to contact them directly to reclaim your money.
This can be done by contacting their customer service team via phone or online.
The table below shows to reclaim credit from the UK’s 10 biggest energy suppliers.
|Supplier||How to reclaim credit|
|EDF Energy||Current customers can provide meter readings which can be supplied to EDF, either online, through the app or over the phone, in order to access a refund. If you have already left EDF, you can request a refund via the help and support section of the EDF website.|
|Scottish Power||If a customer’s annual review is based on actual meter readings and the balance is greater than one month’s payment or more than £75, the balance will be automatically refunded. If customers wish to request a refund outside of their annual review, they will need to provide a meter reading.|
|Shell Energy (formerly First Utility)||Customers in credit can request a refund, although Shell Energy highlights that credit levels may vary throughout the year. If monthly payment amounts are too high, Shell will recommend reducing the regular payment.|
|SSE||Every six months, SSE reviews customer usage against what they are paying, with a Direct Debit review taking place annually. If the review finds that you are paying too much and are in credit, they will automatically refund you. Outside of this review period, a meter reading will need to be provided and a customer will need to fill out a refund form.|
|British Gas||British Gas will put up to £75 of your credit towards your future bills but you can request a refund online, through its live chat or your account.|
|Octopus Energy||Customers can request a refund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|NPower||Annual reviews take place for NPower customers. If you have built up credit of £25 or more on either your gas or electricity, they will refund it automatically - as long as the statement was based on an actual meter reading. Customers can call at any time to discuss a credit refund but a meter reading will need to be provided.|
|E.ON||Customers can request a refund but a meter reading will need to be provided and future Direct Debit payments may need to change.|
|Bulb Energy||If a customer’s account is in credit by more than their monthly payment amount, they can email email@example.com to ask for a refund. A meter reading will need to be provided and these can be submitted before you get in touch.|
How to save on energy during lockdown
UK households are predicted to spend an extra £16 a month more for energy – roughly £195 extra per year, during the coronavirus lockdown, according to Uswitch.
There are several ways to save on energy throughout the year.
This includes unplugging devices that are not being used, which could save up to £85 a year.
Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C could help you save as much as £75 per year, according to Uswitch.
For more information and advice check out our guide on five ways to cut your energy bills when working from home.
Getting your credit back
The challenge at the moment is getting hold of your energy company. We are in credit with EDF but they are currently only accepting emergency calls (which a request for credit is not).