Consumers are set to get a windfall of hundreds of millions of pounds from the Big Six energy companies.
It was revealed several months ago that energy suppliers are holding on to hundreds of millions of pounds worth of customers’ money, and now the UK’s major energy providers have finally agreed to reimburse those that are out of pocket.
Energy suppliers have been sitting on these funds because of the large numbers of consumers who switch energy provider and close accounts without realising that their accounts are actually in credit.
Not only will energy suppliers be reuniting customers with their money, but they will also introduce measures to stop this build-up of funds happening again.
If you’re thinking of switching energy providers, use Which? Switch to compare energy prices and find the best deal for you.
Which energy customers are likely to be owed money?
This issue is particularly common for direct debit customers, who pay a set monthly fee regardless of their fluctuating energy usage throughout the year. If you have switched supplier and paid by direct debit with your old supplier, you could be owed money.
Your supplier should alert you if you are in credit when you switch. However, if you have moved house or changed the name on the bill, it can be difficult for your supplier to chase you after the switch.
It’s not just households that could be affected – it’s believed that many businesses could be owed millions of pounds too.
What can I do to claim my energy bill refund?
Ofgem recommends that consumers who believe they might be owed money should contact their previous supplier. In order to successfully claim your money back it will help if you have your previous address, as well as an old bill or details of your old account number.
Any unclaimed funds or funds that cannot be returned will be used to help particularly vulnerable consumers. The Big Six have been told that they need to be transparent with exactly where this money is going.
For the future, Ofgem recommends that you take a meter reading just before you switch energy supplier. Consumers should also provide their old supplier with a forwarding address if they are moving home.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘It’s unacceptable that energy companies have been sitting on millions of pounds of consumers’ cash, so it’s good to see moves to ensure people get their money back.
‘Ofgem was right to step in to deal with this. To help restore consumer trust in the energy market, suppliers must return this money as soon as possible and be clear about what customers should do when they close their accounts.
‘Any money that can’t be reunited with the customer should be put towards helping vulnerable people struggling with their bills.’