Feed-in tariffs explained Feed-in tariff payment problems

The feed-in tariff (FIT) gives guaranteed payments to those who generate their own electricity. You should be paid quarterly for the electricity you produce, according to Ofgem, unless your feed-in tariff contract or terms and conditions state otherwise. However, solar panel owners have got in touch with us to say they've had problems receiving payments.

Find out more about what is the feed-in tariff?

Feed-in tariff payment times compared

While some suppliers can take up to 90 days to pay your feed-in tariff payments, others say they will pay much faster. It’s worth comparing payment times and terms and conditions before you choose a FIT supplier.

After receiving complaints about slow payments, we surveyed 1,700 Which? members who have solar panels to find out more.

More than one third (36%) told us that they have had a problem getting their feed-in tariff paid. Of these, 82% told us that their payment was delayed. One in five said the delay was over three months longer than expected.

Below, we reveal the energy companies that are most likely to be slow payers, and the maximum payment times the companies state in their contracts:
FIT payment times and customer satisfaction
CompanyCustomers who had problems getting their FIT paid (%) [1]Maximum payment time [2]
Eon72None specified
SSE46None specified
EDF Energy3690 days from end of meter read month
British Gas2930 working days from receipt of meter read
Npower2060 days
Scottish Power1961 days
[1] The percentage of customers, per supplier, who told us they had experienced problems getting their FIT paid in a survey of 1,700 Which? members with solar panels in November 2012
[2] Specified in contract, FIT Terms or Terms and Conditions

Feed-in tariff payments - what to watch out for

If you are signing up to receive feed-in tariff payments, read contracts carefully so you know when to expect payment. Check with your licensee (the energy provider who pays your FIT) whether you will be sent reminders of when to submit your meter reading.

You must submit meter readings to your feed-in tariff's licensee before it will make payment - and some companies have specific periods in which you must submit them. If you miss the deadline, you may have to wait until the next meter reading period before you will get paid.

Solar panel on roof

Check your feed-in tariff contract carefully before you sign

How to complain

If you have a complaint about your feed-in tariff licensee, for example, about payment or delays in accreditation or installation, contact it directly. All companies should have a complaints process on their website which you can refer to. Find out more in our guide to complaining about feed-in tariff payments.

If you have not reached an agreement with your feed-in tariff licensee eight weeks after you made the complaint, or you are not happy with the company’s final response, you can refer it to the Energy Ombudsman.

Can I switch the energy supplier that pays my feed-in tariff?

Yes, you can change the electricity supplier which pays your feed-in tariff. You do not have to use the same energy company for both your feed-in tariff and domestic electricity supplier. 

But if you do want to switch, check that any new energy company you are considering will agree to pay your feed-in tariff. Your current electricity supplier must pay your feed-in tariff (if it is a registered feed-in tariff licensee) - if you switch, your new supplier can choose to pay you, but it is not obliged to if you're already being paid by your current supplier. Take a look at our full guide to switching the energy supplier that pays your feed-in tariff.

The big six energy companies – British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – all pay feed-in tariffs. Some smaller suppliers, including Ecotricity, First Utility, Good Energy, Green Energy, Co-operative Energy, iSupply Energy, Spark Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse are also registered as licensed feed-in tariff suppliers.

Find out which are the best and worst energy companies according to their customers in our review of energy suppliers.

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