How to pay your energy bill Your energy direct debit rights
You can get a refund if you have a credit balance with your energy supplier. Each supplier is different. Some refund you automatically if you have a credit, while with others you'll have to ask. Most companies ask for a meter reading before they give you a refund.
Make sure your energy company doesn't owe you money. Read on to find out about your rights and how you can claim back any money you're owed.
How to get a refund from your supplier
If you are using less energy and have a significant credit balance, most companies will reduce your direct debit amount when reviewing your account. Find out how to get a cheaper direct debit here.
Under Condition 27 of the Gas and Electricity Supply Licence Conditions, gas and electricity firms are required to refund your credit balance automatically or on request. Some have policies for giving automatic refunds (see table, below, to find out whether your energy company is one of them).
British Gas, EDF Energy and other firms’ refund policies
The table below shows you the direct debit and refund policies from most of the energy providers.
|Number of reviews/assessments of direct debit accounts per year||Automatic credit refund amount at review date|
|Big six energy suppliers|
|British Gas||2||£5 (with an accurate meter reading)|
|NPower||2||£5 (with an accurate meter reading)|
|Other energy suppliers|
|The Co-operative Energy||1||No automatic refund|
|Ecotricity||1||No automatic refund|
|Good Energy||1||No automatic refund|
|Ovo Energy||2||£25 (with an accurate meter reading)|
Refunding your credit
A handful of firms will automatically refund any credit balance after a yearly review of your account. These include British Gas and SSE. Some smaller companies have automatic refund policies as well. Ovo Energy, for instance, will refund you if you are £25 in credit. Most companies need an accurate meter reading before they will give you the refund.
To get a refund from companies without an automatic refund policy, you have to request a refund yourself. You have the right to a full refund on a credit balance at any time if you ask for it and provide a meter reading.
The firm can try to convince you to leave the credit on your bill. This may be wise if, for example, it’s summer and you should be building up credit for winter. Whatever happens, get a full explanation as to why it advises against a refund.
If you disagree with your supplier’s policy on refunds but it won’t do anything about it, vote with your feet and switch energy supplier.
Direct debit guarantee
Under the Direct Debit Guarantee, the energy supplier must tell you of any changes to your direct debit at least 10 working days before it’s debited. It might do this by writing to you or including a notification on your bill. If it doesn’t, this is an error - and you could complain, asking for compensation.
If your energy supplier overcharges you, use our letter template to complain.